On March 18th, the last Saturday of the most punishing winter in the Gorge in more than 40 years, Gorge Owned (GO), a sustainable economic development organization in the Columbia River Gorge, is hosting a series of large scale cash mobs in an effort to lift the economic gloom that the record-breaking winter cast on locally-owned businesses.

For all of the inconveniences that this winter’s storied Snowmaggedon and Icepocalypse hoisted on the Portland area, particularly the Gorge, it was especially severe for locally-owned businesses, many of whom experienced days or weeks with little to no sales, with roadways debilitated by ice and customer parking occupied for extended periods of time by snow banks. Owners report layoffs and high anxiety about the future of their shops’ survival.

GO Executive Director Courtney Christenson says, “These cash mobs are an education campaign about the importance and value of shopping locally, but we’re also ready to celebrate the end of this winter. It’s been hard on everybody. We all need a day to emerge from hibernation and hit the streets as a community to support these businesses.” Gorge Owned is billing the event as a fun opportunity to reconnect with the commercial sector which contributes so much to the character and vibrancy of Gorge communities, and to give back to those locally-owned businesses that are often supporting schools, clubs, and other community initiatives year-round.

Rather than “mobbing” a single establishment, Gorge Owned is encouraging a day for locals and tourists alike to descend on Gorge downtowns and commercial corridors to shop at dozens of participating shops and restaurants, most of whom are offering special sales or promotions for the occasion, and numerous raffle or door prizes for shoppers.

From noon to 5:00pm on the 18th, Gorge Owned will have home bases in three locations: Sedition Brewing on Laughlin St in downtown The Dalles, AniChe Cellars on Oak St in downtown Hood River, and Red Bluff Tap House in downtown Stevenson. Cash mob shoppers can find Gorge Owned at these locations to receive a free organic cotton tote bag featuring artwork from local artist Anna Laxague (while supplies last), and a program directing them to participating businesses. Shoppers can return to any of the three locations before 5:00pm to enter the raffle with more than a dozen prize packages. The extensive raffle includes gift certificates and gift baskets from many of the Gorge’s most beloved establishments, local artwork, museum memberships, performing arts season passes, ski lift tickets, and more. For every locally-owned business that customers patronize (no minimum purchase), they’ll receive one entry in the raffle.

Gorge Owned is a 501(c)(3) member-supported organization with a mission to help people invest in a strong local economy, healthy environment, and vibrant community in the Columbia River Gorge. With more than 200 individual and business members, GO! delivers year-round programing that informs and inspires people to invest in making the Gorge an even better place to live. Programs include Gorge Green Drinks, the Sense of Place Lecture Series, GO! Local, GO! Solar, and more. Learn More: GorgeOwned.org

For more information about the GO! Winter Recovery Cash Mobs, please visit www.facebook.com/GorgeOwned or contact Gorge Owned’s Executive Director Courtney Christenson at (310) 403 – 8460 or director@gorgeowned.org.