ALAMEDA -- Alamedans know how to support their community, especially when they get a nudge or two from their fellow Islanders.
Alameda Peeps, an online group that shares messages via Facebook, got many of its 2,500 members to shop at Dan's Produce and JP Seafood on Central Avenue at Oak Street on Sunday afternoon. The group staged a similar "cash mob" event a few weeks ago, when it sent out messages for members to visit Webster Street in support of Aria Market and other West End merchants.
"This was our second cash mob. We are gathering momentum for our support of local businesses through Alameda Peeps, and it's fun," said John-Michael Kyono, an Alameda resident and volunteer administrator for the online community group.
Business owners said they appreciate such efforts.
"I'm happy with today's cash mob," said Dan Avakain of Dan's Produce. "It's absolutely great. The group can do this all they want."
Lynn Styne joined Alameda Peeps two months ago and said she enjoys joining the group's cash mobs. "It's a great idea," she said.
Styne used to run a small business in town and worked with Avakain as well as with Joey Pucci of JP Seafood.
"I convinced Dan to come into work this (past) Sunday, which is usually his only day off, under the guise that I needed his services for a catering job," she said. "I think he will forgive my fib when he realizes the motivation."
Community members said they are glad to lend their time and support to the cash mob. "Alameda Peeps is an invaluable resource," said Anne MacDonald, a new member of the online community. "So I said, 'Yes, why not get out to Dan's Produce on Sunday.'"
Other Alameda Peeps members, who might have a scheduling conflict and can't participate in the cash mob, go out to the local businesses being highlighted through Facebook on other days and at other times, according to Kyono.
"There are so few open-air markets left anymore," said William Wong, who runs Localize It, a rewards card for customers of Alameda small businesses such as Dan's Produce. "Dan works directly with those growing the produce."
Many of the vegetables sold at Dan's Produce come from Copala Organics in Hollister.
"I work with indigenous farmers who are from villages in Oaxaca, Mexico," said Adam Sanders, an Alameda resident who helps them market their products.
"Most of what we supply to Dan's Produce is harvested to order. We're happy to bring fresh produce to the community," added Sanders, noting that the growers organization delivers heirloom squash, shelling beans, herbs and chilies twice a week to the Central Avenue market.
Getting that kind of information is one reason to join Alameda Peeps and its cash mobs.
To become a member of Alameda Peeps, log into Facebook and request to join the group.