While the fire that struck the West Side Market Jan. 30 has long been snuffed out, Cash Mob founder Andrew Samtoy is inviting Clevelanders to help him spark an economic boom at the beloved landmark this Saturday.
When Samtoy heard an overnight fire left a trail of smoke damage throughout the market, contributing to thousands of dollars in lost food, he sprung into action. Samtoy and his crew decided to host a cash mob to get the vendors back on their feet after losing out on profits (including major revenues from Super Bowl weekend) while they were closed for a $276,000 cleanup from Jan. 30 to Feb. 17.
Samtoy, who co-engineered the cash mob idea that started an international trend, (read our 2013 Most Interesting People profile on him) welcomes people to come out during all hours the market is open, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., but he recommends coming before 10 a.m. or after 2 p.m.to avoid crowds. He simply asks attendees to spend $20, meet three new people and have fun. Although he is only asking people to spend $20, Samtoy expects many people will drop more cash than that.
“People know this is going towards the vendors and helping them get back on their feet,” he says. “The one concern that we have is that some of these vendors are actually going to run out.”
Although there is still a lot of work to be done before the market completely recovers from the setback, Samtoy believes this cash mob is a starting point. You can find out more information about the cash mob on a Facebook page Samtoy started for the event.
Samtoy's cash mob is one of many efforts to revive the market. Others have jumped on the relief bandwagon, including chef Michael Symon, who announced a national campaign on his television show, The Chew, and is hosting a benefit for the market Feb. 27. To find out more about his efforts and to donate, visit his website marketvendorrelief.org.
We wrote about the market's 100th anniversary in our November 2012 issue. You can read the stories here. (To link to this article on social media, use: http://bit.ly/WyieGD)