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Mob aims for Target this Sunday

Cash mob recognized inclusive hiring

By: Amy Crofts

  |  Posted: Saturday, Jun 21, 2014 06:00 am

DISABILITY DOLLARS – Participants in Sunday's cash mob will receive
DISABILITY DOLLARS – Participants in Sunday's cash mob will receive "disability dollars" to spend at the St. Albert Target.
Supplied photo

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Mob details

When: Sunday, June 22, 2:00 to 4 p.m.

Where: Target, St. Albert, 375 St. Albert Trail

Details: Cash mobbers must spend $20 at Target’s St. Albert store during the mob.

Organizers of the latest cash mob event to hit St. Albert hope throngs of shoppers will support inclusive hiring by spending at least $20 at Target this Sunday.

Inspired by flash mobs, cash mobbers assemble and shop at a local business to support the local economy.

Sunday’s event is aimed at showing support for employers that hire employees with intellectual disabilities such as Down syndrome or autism. Organizers chose the St. Albert Target store because several people with disabilities work there, said Cindy deBruijn, executive director of the Gateway Association, which organized the event.

The association is a non-profit that provides resources for people with intellectual disabilities and their families. This is the second inclusive cash mob the agency has organized.

People don’t think that those with disabilities are strong consumers, but they are, deBruijn said.

“It’s estimated that there is about $26 billion spent in Alberta each year by households that have someone with an intellectual disability living there.

“One of the incentives we’re trying to express to employers is that this represents a target market that you can attract to support your business.”

The idea for the inclusive cash mob came from the consumer movement to buy local. It is now part of the “We Belong” movement – the pursuit and support in communities for meaningful, paid work opportunities for people with intellectual disabilities.

It’s not simply about creating a social conscience, explains deBruijn, but also smart business. The goal of the campaign is to reward forward-thinking businesses and to inspire others to consider hiring inclusively.

Gateway’s first inclusive cash mob in February attracted an estimated 100 people to Planet Organic’s south location in Edmonton. Cash mobbers alone spent $5,000 at the store within a two-hour time frame.

The first cash mob of its kind was an overall success and has been gaining momentum since, said deBruijn.

People with disabilities found it very empowering and the store was approached by two other businesses that inquired about its inclusive hiring practices.

On Sunday, participating cash mobbers will meet at Target at 2 p.m. and receive “disability dollars” upon their arrival. Disability dollars are a token that represents money spent in the marketplace by individuals and families whose lives are touched by an intellectual disability.

“If I’m going to spend $5,000 on fence supplies this weekend, which store do I go to?” deBruijn asked.

“Hardware store A that has good strong inclusive hiring practices, hardware store B doesn’t. I want to spend my dollars on organizations that recognize the value of hiring people with disabilities.”


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