Members of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. Photo: Qcitymetro

There’s a mob coming to four of Charlotte’s Black-owned businesses, a cash mob. Three local chapters of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. are leading a “Black Food Tour” cash mob to encourage the community to patronize four designated restaurants from June 15 through June 23. Participating restaurants include Famous Toastery (Uptown location), Seafood Connection, Cuzzo’s Cuisine and Nana’s Soul Food Kitchen.

While the popular belief that a dollar circulates in the Black community for only six hours can’t be substantiated, we do know that reinvesting dollars into Black-owned businesses is critical in keeping their doors open. Cash mobs have become a trend in joining people together to support local businesses.

Latecia Manuel came up with the idea for her chapter’s participation in the initiative. It addresses one of the sorority’s international service targets focusing on promoting Black-owned businesses.

“I really wanted to do some type of cash mob and with me being an AKA, I thought, ‘How do I get the greeks involved?’” said Manuel, a member of the Rho Psi Omega chapter.

Rho Psi Omega partnered with two other Charlotte AKA chapters — Alpha Lambda Omega and Omega Iota Omega — to pilot the project last month in support of Elevation Beauty and Nail Spa in University City.

Mariel Chevalier, owner of Elevation Beauty and Nail Spa, said she saw a 10-15% increase in traffic during the Mother’s Day Weekend cash mob. Customers differentiated themselves with a separate sign-in sheet and by wearing the sorority’s signature pink and green.

“I thought it was such a good idea to do it that way. It wasn’t like, come here and you’ll get this discount. It was a genuine effort from them just wanting to support,” said Chevalier, who opened the beauty and nail spa in October. “I felt like once they came in, and they had the service, they would want to come back on their own.”

Chevalier said she’s noticed returning customers who participated in the AKA cash mob.

Following the “Black Food Tour,” Manuel said they’ll continue the initiative with an art theme in September.

Stacey Sandeford-Lyons, president of the Rho Psi Omega chapter noted that the cash mob demonstrates the power of the Black dollar. According to a Nielsen report, the purchasing power of African American consumers is expected to rise to $1.54 trillion in 2022 – and will continue to outpace the spending of the total national population.

“We are excited about the potential impact of this effort on the success of these businesses, and the opportunity to reinforce to everyone that Black dollars matter,” Sandeford-Lyons said.

Event details

Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. “Black Food Tour” cash mob

Date: Saturday, June 15, through Sunday, June 23

  • Famous Toastery, 330 S. Tryon St.
  • Seafood Connection, 630 University Center Blvd.
  • Cuzzo’s Cuisine, 3418 Tuckaseegee Rd.
  • Nana’s Soul Food Kitchen, 2908 Oak Lake Blvd., #106

Additional info: Inform the restaurant that you’re participating in the cash mob

Katrina covers Charlotte's Black business scene for QCity Metro. She's a Miami transplant, pescatarian and lover of the arts. She earned a public relations degree from the University of Florida. Got a...