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TMCNet:  'It is all right here': Grove Park Pharmacy site of Chamber's third cash mob

[January 28, 2013]

'It is all right here': Grove Park Pharmacy site of Chamber's third cash mob

Jan 27, 2013 (The Times and Democrat - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) -- Vance resident Somer Sanford spent time Wednesday morning shopping at Orangeburg's Grove Park Pharmacy & Home Medical Equipment.

Sanford said she wanted to come out to support the Orangeburg County Chamber of Commerce's third Cash Mob event.

"It is to help our local business," said Sanford, who says she tries to shop in Orangeburg County whenever she is able. "It puts money back into our community ... I am fairly new to the area so I am learning all the local businesses." The cash mob concept aims to get lots of residents to gather at a local Orangeburg business to spend money. The concept is similar to a flash mob, where a group of people assemble suddenly in a public place and perform a dance or some other unique activity for a brief time.

Sanford joined a flow of shoppers who dropped into the pharmacy between 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The pharmacy is at the corner of St. Matthews Road and Chestnut Street.

The Chamber's first cash mob was held at Five Rivers Market on Nov. 7, and the second one took place at Treasured Memories on Dec. 12.

Locations are not typically announced until a few days before the event.

Under the concept, individuals are encouraged to spend between $10 and $20.

As a resident of Charleston for the past 15 years, Sanford said she enjoys spending money with local businesses, noting Orangeburg has come a long way in providing services people need. She says there is potential for even more growth.

"It is getting there," Sanford said, adding she's like to see more downtown dining options. "It is a bigger boost to the local economy." Sanford said she spent about $13 on Wednesday and was happy.

"I got everything I needed," she said.

Rowesville resident Rita Landers said she has shopped at Grove Park Pharmacy for years as it serves as a one-stop shop for her needs.

"They are reasonable," she said. "I drop my prescriptions off and I usually get the napkins and paper towels. I get some cleaning supplies. I can get all of that and I don't have to go into a big grocery store." Landers said she makes it a point to shop locally.

"It is good for the economy and for the town," she said. Gas prices have kept her from traveling outside of the area and encouraged her to consolidate shopping trips, Sanford said.

Dede Cook, Orangeburg County Chamber of Commerce president, said the cash mob concept has a main, over-arching purpose.

"It is to remind people that when you have a need, many products and services are here," Cook said.

In February, the cash mob will most likely pick a florist or jewelry shop to mark Valentine's Day, and in March, they may aim for a St. Patrick's Day theme, Cook said.

"What we are finding from the cash mob is whether there is huge attendance or not, businesses are seeing are new clientele that have never shopped there before," she said. "Now that they visited there, they understand they have become repeat shoppers." "We are certainly trying to close that gap between what people think we have and what we really have," Cook continued. "They don't have to travel to get what they need. It is all right here." Grove Park Pharmacy owner Charles Thompson said having the cash mob at his store is "very flattering." "I think it is a wonderful, wonderful Chamber event," he said. "In order for us to improve our unemployment numbers in our county, we need to get people to spend locally so we will, in turn, create more jobs for our own residents in Orangeburg County.

Thompson said business has been good at the pharmacy over the past few years.

"We are in a unique business ... everybody gets sick," he said. "Our discretionary spending does not affect us too much. People shop with us because they have to." Thompson said Orangeburg businesses can succeed and compete with Charleston and Columbia.

"If you factor in the cost of going to Columbia or Charleston to shop with gas prices and with time, you don't save any money," he said. "I believe, for the most part, prices across the board in Orangeburg are just as competitive.

Contact the writer: gzaleski@timesanddemocrat.com or 803-533-5551.

___ (c)2013 The Times and Democrat (Orangeburg, S.C.) Visit The Times and Democrat (Orangeburg, S.C.) at thetandd.com Distributed by MCT Information Services

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