How Pokémon Go is Helping Small Businesses
Hello! My name is Christopher Kent. While I haven’t received a degree or a special job title, I can proudly say that I am affiliated with the world-dominating Team Mystic. It was a difficult task to achieve that required countless hours of searching and catching them all.
Pokémon Go, as I am sure you’ve heard, has affected the globe faster than Zika. It has taken over news headlines, helped to solve crimes, and even created a few new couples! The name of the game is easy to remember because Pokémon has been a part of our lives for decades. While it may boost morale and give some the right to brag, Pokémon Go has also resulted in noteworthy contributions to the economy.
The small business sector of the United States has been declining these past few years, struggling to compete with online shops and the looming large corporations swallowing them up whole. One by one, stores are sucked up into a vacuum, destroying the hometown feel of a city. Fortunately, our protagonist has arrived just in time: Mr. Niantic has entered, bringing people of all shapes and sizes to the family-run ice cream shop right down the street. The library that was once a dark place filled with cobwebs and people learning how to use Microsoft Word is now a bright place, full of creative minds interacting with one another to fulfill shared objectives. The game is truly changing the game.
22 Million. No, I’m not talking about the current population of Madagascar. I’m talking about how many Pokémon Go app downloads have been processed. Every day, that number increases and this power that game creator Niantic possesses can make or break an economy. For people who aren’t familiar with the game, players have to visit Pokéstops in order to get items that strengthen their Pokémon. Pokétops are scattered all across the land, whether it’s inside a library, bordering a school, or at a nearby park.
Businesses can also apply to have a Pokéstop added to their location. In order for a player to receive the bonuses from a Pokéstop, they have to physically be within the location’s proximity. This has provided a unique incentive for new potential customers to visit businesses. IGN, a video game media company, recently interviewed Erica Smith, public relations for Bok Tower Gardens in Lake Wales, FL. Bok Tower Gardens is a bird sanctuary located 55 Miles from Orlando. In previous years, this nationally recognized historical landmark had struggled with visitor participation and the park even felt empty on most days. After the rise of Pokémon Go, Smith stated that the park has received thousands of visitors flocking to the area in hopes of catching some Pokémon. In the past month, the park has had even more visitors coming from different regions and many have purchased season passes.
For my Sharespark internship, I went to visit an electronic repair shop called uBreakiFix in Santa Ana, CA. While I was there, I conversed with some of the employees about the Pokémon Go craze. Tommy, one of the employees, said that over the past couple of weeks, people have come to their store with phones that were cracked from playing the game non-stop. He said that their business was receiving an abnormal amount of customers, which is great for them.
Overall, this shows how powerful Pokémon Go has become. Some continue to be cynical of the game’s impact, with many referring to the game as “dumb.” However, this “dumb” game has broken records, infected all aspects of the media, and spawned nostalgia for many players. As you read this, I’m probably wandering all around Southern California, catching more Pokemon and visiting new places!
This article was written by Christopher Kent. For more information about Pokémon Go, ask any random person walking down the street with their finger swiping up on their phone.