MUSKEGON – Supporting Muskegon’s new downtown retailers is a lot less political than pitching for wind turbines on Lake Michigan.
That’s why the West Michigan Jobs Group is holding “cash mobs” every other month. The social media group of community activists came together Friday evening at the new Century Club Center to spend some money.
Instead of getting into emotional debates with offshore wind opponents, the Jobs Group spent a quiet evening shopping for candy, outdoor hats, furniture and fine women’s clothing, among other items.
“This is something not as political for us to get involved with,” group Vice President Amanda Shunta said of the cash mob, which is a gathering of folks organized through places like Facebook to financially support certain businesses. The group’s first cash mob was in December at Continuity, nearby on Third Street.
The Century Club Center is a retail incubator that has become part of the Russell Block Market, a strolling retail outlet of small shops hoped to be opened by mid year.
The West Michigan Jobs Group was formed three years ago to counter the anti-offshore-wind forces in Oceana County, which opposed a suggestion by Scandia Offshore Wind to put up two large industrial wind farms on Lake Michigan. The Jobs Group saw the wind development as a positive economic force for the region’s future.
But Friday evening’s affair had nothing to do with bat kills and light flicker, two of the issues anti-wind forces often raise.
“This group just wants to support Muskegon and support jobs here and bring new jobs here,” said Shunta, who is part of Night Owl Media – a social media marketing company for small businesses. Shunta said losing a job in a telephone book company downsizing in Muskegon led her to become a jobs activist.
The Jobs Group selected its second downtown retail outlet for the cash mob because it is such a cool environment and not everyone is aware that the Century Club Center is open, the organizer said. The group will do another cash mob in April and might target the Lakeside business district, Shunta added.
“I love shopping at local stores,” said cash mob participant Donielle Routt of Muskegon while strolling through the historic business club building. “This is a good way to check out the offerings. I love the open layout here. The stories and the building are very nice.”
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