There are many “Torringtons”.
There’s the Torrington I see on Sunday mornings when the kids and I travel down quiet streets, sheltered beneath a canopy of color as we make our way to religious instruction. The world seems to be at peace as friendly faces of the young and old congregate together at churches or diners or sometimes both as the day provides.
There’s the Torrington on very special weekend nights when, if we are lucky, an explosion of creativity visits us at every corner. A play at the Warner entices us, the art at the art galleries and stores delight us, productions by Desultory Theatre challenges us, music at Coe Park enchants us and we realize we are actually standing at the center of an artistic community that is truly inspiring and wonderful.
There’s other Torrintons too, some have greater challenges than others.
But the Torrington I wish to describe is the one that supplanted the “town square”, the “commons”, the “green”. It is a “virtual online community” where citizens can share their thoughts and opinions, their hopes and dreams and bond together in the common goal of making positive change for our shared city even if we may have differing opinions on how to get there. And sometimes magic can happen, for just as a pebble thrown into the ocean can create the ripples that wave against the shore sometimes we can harness simple, honest and good ideas and channel them into amazing action.
I joined a particular facebook group that was started by Skip Hoxie called “T-Town Torrington Chatter” and it has begun to grow in membership and in content. And one day one member named Steven Sokolow had an idea of how to make Torrington get just a little better. He offered the idea of doing a “cash mob” to support a mom and pop business and then after there was a general consensus that it should happen, he nominated me to get it rolling on behalf of the group.
Our community shared suggestions on how a cash mob could work and how we could make it happen. I asked for nominees (which was one suggestion from a member-to submit nominees) and I received a list. Then I put the list out for a vote on a survey website. Over 100 people participated at first. It caught the attention of an intrepid local reporter for the Republican American and he interviewed me as a representative of the group. When an article appeared in print, the number of votes doubled. By the end of the polling, 235 people participated by voting and we had a winner. I had used “surveymonkey.com” and I made sure not to look at any of the results before that Saturday and the winner was as a surprise to me as it was to the group as it was to the winner itself-Alfredo’s Deli. Alfredo’s Deli is on 168 Water Street in the heart of Torrington near Snapper Magees. Alfredo was thrilled with finding out the results and we had permission from the recipient that we could announce!
I received an email again from another reporter of the same paper and he interviewed me and published a follow up article celebrating the local business. Subsequent to that I’ve received contact from the other local newspaper and that article may appear this week as well.
And on Friday I look forward to speaking with the local radio morning show to discuss the idea right before the start of the Cash mob which will begin that Saturday.
And what will it all mean?
This is what I hope it means…I hope it means that the city of Torrington comes together for one singular purpose during that week, to signal that we as a community support LOCALLY OWNED BUSINESES. We can vote with our dollars how we wish to purchase our goods and services. We do not have to promise a sea change overnight. All we have to do is make a choice one day during this week. And it will symbolize that something has begun from people within the community who want to make that community a little bit better and we will do our part.
And the irony of it all is that we are calling the event a cash mob, when this is anything but a mob. We define a mob as an unruly, out of control group and yet the formation of this event stems from something very, very different. For although our group at this stage is virtual and we have not met each other, or most of us haven’t anyway, there is order and respect and a shared commitment to doing something positive with a purpose. Call it a mob? I call it a mission!
The mission is simple: People simply agree they will show up at a specified location and date and instead of doing a dance or song (like a flash mob) they simply choose to support a local mom/pop business by showing up and then buying something. There is NO REQUIRED MINIMUM, just show up and purchase something to support the business.
We are holding ours 10/26/2013 beginning at 12:30pm. So if YOU can show up at that time, please do so, the larger the better on that date and time because that’s when the media will be there to show the success. But moreover the idea will continue to be a success for those who cant make it exactly at that date/time. Anyone who participates between 10/26 and 11/2 will get a receipt showing they participated.
So if you live in Torrington or the surrounding area, I ask you to participate. Please participate by going to Alfredo’s Diner on 10/26/2013 at 12:30pm and be a part of an amazing experience for the community.