Kirkland Chamber holds cash mob for business owner in need | Slideshow

After learning the owner of a Kirkland business was recently displaced because of a house fire, the Greater Kirkland Chamber of Commerce decided something had to be done.

“We’re living in a hotel right now and I think they wanted to do something nice for us,” said Common Folk Co. owner Kathryn Straub, who has lived in Kirkland since 2006.

Straub’s Bridle Trails home suffered $140,000 in damages from an electrical fire on Jan. 29, despite the hour firefighters spent working to save her house.

Feeling the need to help, Chamber Executive Director Bruce Wynn and Samantha St. John, the business and communication manager, organized a cash mob for Straub’s business on Feb. 20.

A "cash mob" is when a group of people come together to purchase goods from a local business.

“We thought it’d be the perfect opportunity to rally support around one of our local business owners in their time of need,” said St. John, adding that the event drew a good amount of support. “The hope is to bring them business for the rest of the week and, in the coming months, to bring sustainable customers.”

Chamber members were encouraged to spend at least $20 from 1-2 p.m. during the cash mob.

“The owner reported that her sales outcome in one day was triple her best day of sales," Wynn said. "I’m glad that our Chamber members were able to come through for her."

In the past, the Chamber has organized cash mobs for other Kirkland businesses, such as Simplicity ABC and Sur La Table.

“I’m so thankful,” Straub said, beaming. “This is so sweet, the sweetest thing. It was supposed to be secret but I’m glad I found out because I got to do my hair!”

Common Folk Co. moved to Kirkland in July 2013 from its previous Crossroads location.

Sue Contreras, or “Miss Kirkland,” in Straub’s words, encouraged her to move the business to Kirkland after her Crossroads lease was up, Straub said.

“We decided to make the move, which was wonderful,” she said. “It’s wonderful here. We love doing business in the community we live in. We’d never been able to do that before.”

Straub started Common Folk Co. in Centralia, Wash. in 2001 but moved to the Eastside when she fell in love and got married.

“I just want to be the store that everyone goes to buy their gifts and cards,” she said. “I want to be a part of the community for a long time, for years to come.”

Common Folk Co. is a retail store that offers jewelry, seasonal items, home decor and vintage style gifts.

It is located at 325 Parkplace Center in Kirkland, near Purple Cafe and Wine Bar.

For more information, visit


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