Dormont Cash Mob to spotlight sustainable shops

| Wednesday, May 14, 2014, 9:00 p.m.

Sustainable Pittsburgh is inviting shoppers to bring their wallets to a Cash Mob on Saturday in Dormont's business district.

The four-hour event will spotlight efforts by nine small businesses to use sustainable, or environmentally sound practices.

Chris Rickert, owner of Rickert & Beagle Bookstore, said she hopes the Cash Mob will encourage people to stop in her store.

“We hope to see not only people from our area, but other areas as well come and see what we sell and how we practice greener business methods,” she said.

Sustainability is “basically using ‘green' practices,” said Ginette Walker Vinski, communications manager for Sustainable Pittsburgh.

“Some examples could be having a programmable thermostat, energy efficient windows or using recycled paper products,” she said.

Businesses interested in the Cash Mob effort completed forms on a Sustainable Small Business Designation website, and earned points based on energy, water and waste practices.

Certifications are available at striver, bronze, silver or gold levels.

“By participating, these businesses earn public recognition and attract new customers,” Walker Vinski said. “We had another ‘Cash Mob' in Carnegie, and the businesses there doubled their sales that day.”

Cassie Gillen, owner and sole employee of Cassandra's Flowers and More, said the Cash Mob should bring more attention to Dormont and its shops.

“No one usually walks up to our end to shop,” she said. “I personally want to see more income brought into the community. By shopping at smaller, mom-and-pop shops versus the bigger box stores, 65 percent of the money spent goes back into the community.”

Mary Feehan, manager of DeWalt's Health Food Center, said everyone who takes part in the Cash Mob will be given a sticker at each store they visit that can be entered into a prize drawing for a $100 shopping spree in Dormont.

“I think this will bring people into the store that have never been here before,” she said. “I want them to see the volume of products I carry.”

Feehan says her business recycles waste.

“None of Dormont's businesses are required to recycle,” she said. “So we take our recycling home and recycle privately. We also use natural cleaning products and recycled paper products.”

Chasity Capasso is a freelance writer.

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