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'Cash mob' offers cash boom to Victoria coffee shop


July 6, 2012 at 2:06 a.m.
Updated July 9, 2012 at 2:09 a.m.

Sharon Steen places an order with Stacey Hurst, who owns Simply Delicious in downtown Victoria. The coffee shop  was home to the city's first "cash mob" Friday, an event developed by the Victoria Main Street Program to boost cash flow to locally-owned businesses.

It was a mob mentality that greeted the staff at Simply Delicious on Friday. Luckily, however, it was all in the name of business.

The downtown coffee shop was the first Victoria business struck by a "cash mob," an event organized by the Victoria Main Street Program to infuse locally-owned companies with added cash flow.

Visitors between 4 and 6 p.m. who ventured in and bought up appetizers or drinks, also walked away with a rainbow-colored sticker announcing, "I mobbed."

Sara Rodriguez, assistant manager with the Victoria Main Street Program, got the cash mob ball rolling. She said she'd heard of such events in other places and thought Simply Delicious' new hours and updated menu presented the perfect opportunity to try it out.

On Fridays, the coffee shop is open its regular early hours, but with an additional shift from 4 to 9 p.m. Wine, beer and appetizers, in addition to its coffee drinks, are all available throughout the evening.

Stacey Hurst, who owns the business with her husband, Joe Hurst, said she was glad to be part of an event Rodriguez said will continue down the road with other companies.

"We're one of the first places to do something like this. Actually, we're one of the first places in Victoria to do a lot of things," she said, noting the eatery's all-natural foods. "We're kind of different."

Gary Dunnam and Sharon Steen arrived at the event just after 4 p.m. for appetizers and some Cabernet. The husband-wife duo have vested interests in Victoria's downtown - he's executive director of Victoria Preservation, Inc., while she's president of the Nave Museum - and said they wanted to do what they could.

"This is what we've got to do to support downtown," Steen said in between bites of bacon-wrapped jalapeños. "If people got into the habit of coming downtown, it could make a big difference."

Felecia Vela agreed.

As first vice president of the American Advertising Federation-Victoria, she said she worked closely with the Main Street program, and wanted to see new life and new businesses find their place downtown.

"I want it to be busy," she said. "Therefore, I must show up to things like this."

Rodriguez said she was pleased with Friday's turnout, and with the teamwork it took to pull it all together. The advertising federation helped get the word out, she said, while Compadres Ink donated the stickers.

"This was a group effort," Rodriguez said. "I could not have done this with out the help. But we'll definitely do this again."



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