HAVERSTRAW, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- A retired NYPD detective is looking for new ways to help her community.
Ellen Donovan wants to help mom-and-pop shops in Rockland County. To do so, she's organized what's called a "cash mob" in the village of Haverstraw.
A cash mob is like a flash mob, but with a philanthropic twist. There are only three rules: Have fun, spend $20 and make three new friends.
WCBS 880's Sean Adams On The Story
"I'm trying to bring people around and tell them, you know, 'You have to support your local stores,'" Donovan told WCBS 880 reporter Sean Adams.
"People feel helpless. They can't do much about the economy, but this is something they can do and it helps their local businesses people stay in business," Donovan told CBS 2's Tony Aiello.
Donovan said she posted the idea on the North Rockland Facebook page.
"We had 220 sign up in an hour and, a week later, we had 700 people sign up. It went on fire in the community," Donovan said.
Currently, there are around 800 signed up to participate.
On Saturday at noon, the cash mob will descend upon one lucky shop in Haverstraw chosen by an online vote. More than 20 businesses have been nominated to reap the benefits. Registered cash mobbers are currently voting online to select one store where the cash mob will form. Bella Rose Cafe is topping the list thus far.
"Obviously, it's really exciting to get an influx of business. One of the reasons we opened up here. We love the community. It really shows customers are trying to help out local businesses," Bella Rose owner John Lima told Aiello.
Second in line is Vilma's Bakery. Not only are business owners excited, so are local residents.
"I think it's great. If it draws attention to the village and all the amazing shops and different people. I think it's great," said Dina Nejman, who works in North Rockland.
"The great thing about the cash mob is it allows you to think locally first. It allows the businesses to market themselves," added resident Diego Aviles.
Donovan said she plans to bring her cash mob to other northern Rockland County towns.
"Next month may be Stony Point. It may be Garnerville," Donovan told Adams.
Do you think the 'cash mob' is a good idea? Sound off in the comments section below.
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