Virtual ‘Cash Mobs’ helping Las Vegas businesses survive the pandemic

Coronavirus New Mexico

LAS VEGAS, N.M. (KRQE) – A Las Vegas non-profit is helping local businesses survive the COVID-19 pandemic in a unique way. The non-profit, MainStreet de Las Vegas, is hosting online shows called Las Vegas NM Cash Mob to help businesses in town stay afloat.

“Every single business that we’ve hosted on our show, sometimes this can mean the difference between this business keeping its doors open or not,” said Sara Mathews, weekly co-host of Las Vegas NM Cash Mob and Vice President on the Board of Directors of MainStreet.

The show is on Facebook Live and highlights a different business each week. The co-hosts help sell items from the store live during the show to viewers. Online viewers can claim the item they want to purchase by commenting their name, phone number, and item number. Shipping is then handled privately between the business and customer. The show is helping reach customers safely during the public health crisis.

“They were able to shop from the comfort of their own homes,” Mathews said. “A lot of the people who are featured on this show may not have the resources to have an online store. We are very dependent on tourism in this community. And not only that, our average age is, it’s up there, so we have a very vulnerable demographic, and we are so happy we have been able to make such an impact on our community. And we’re hoping that we can help so many of these small businesses continue to survive.”

So far, Cash Mob has raised more than $27,000 for seven local businesses. It’s raised a range from $2300 to $8,000 for a highlighted business in one night. Mathews said the biggest challenge of the show is doing the volunteer work while MainStreet, the non-profit, faces its own financial struggles during the pandemic.

“We had to cancel our gala this year and at that gala we raise most of our operational funds for the year. So, we ourselves or struggling to continue to survive. But despite that, it’s really beautiful to see our community come together to help other small businesses and help other citizens,” Mathews said.

On Tuesday, MainStreet launched this GoFundMe to make up for funds lost due to the canceled gala.

MainStreet got the idea of the virtual show from Raton, who has been doing Cash Mobs for years and began doing it virtually earlier this year. The Las Vegas NM Cash Mob airs every Wednesday at 6 p.m.

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