The World’s Only Curious George Store in Harvard Square, Cambridge, Mass., may also hold the distinction of hosting the world’s first children’s specialty store cash mob last Saturday, or at least the first one in New England. The event was the brainchild of Kellie Celia, marketing communications manager, publishing of Walden Pond Press at Walden Pond Media, in tandem with store manager Broche Fabian.
From Celia’s perspective, the cash mob provided a way for Walden Media to support the new Curious George shop, which opened in April on the site of the original Curious George children’s bookstore, which closed in June 2011. Although the store sells a lot of Curious George clothing and merchandise, including items only available there, it also has an extensive children’s book selection for the very young through YA that includes classics by H.A. and Margret Rey, as well as other favorites.
Even though the Square seemed empty just 10 minutes before the cash mob was set to begin, by the time the Curious George store opened and a costumed Curious George was in place at the front door to greet children as they arrived, business picked up immediately. Beforehand store manager Broche Fabian had worried that because it was move-in weekend for many of the colleges in the Harvard Square area, the cash mob might not be successful. She needn’t have feared. The store’s narrow aisles were packed with book and toy shoppers, and lots of people entered the store’s cash-mob raffle. “After the initial 10 to 11 a.m. rush, the traffic continued at a steady, busy pace for the rest of the morning,” said Fabian. “We did about twice as well on Saturday morning as we normally do. And it is undeniably thanks to all the promotion about the cash mob.” She’s already plotting ways to grow the event next year.
Although this is the first cash mob Walden Media has sponsored in Boston, Celia says, she is looking to do more. Walden Media helped the store with advance flyers and advance social media attention. The connection between local publisher and bookstore made it a natural for Walden Media to use Curious George to test the concept.
The cash mob was also supported by the Harvard Square Business Association and the local Charles Hotel. The Henrietta’s Table restaurant at the hotel created a special monkey-themed dessert for the occasion, Chocolate Bread Pudding with Caramelized Bananas and Vanilla Bean Ice Cream.
“We’re just thrilled to host an event like this,” said Curious George store owner Adam Hirsch. “We’re humbled by the way the community’s supported the store. We have to hold up our end and stay here for 20 years or more.”