Santa Cruz County

Pokemon Go: good or bad for business?

Game draws players to hotspots like the Santa Cruz wharf

Pokemon Go brings business boom to Santa Cruz Wharf

SANTA CRUZ, Calif. - Pokemon Go has been out for nearly a month and the craze isn't letting up.

One popular spot that's attracting Pokemon Go players is the Santa Cruz wharf. You don't have to walk far to hear people say things like, "Oh my egg just hatched," or "I'm about to evolve. Let's see what we've got."

Players find the game entertaining and those watching the players say it offers its own kind of entertainment.

"The whole world is on their phones, said tourist Eileen Nyholm. "But this was an unusual group. They were really serious about whatever they were doing."

Others are equally serious and they come prepared. One young man brought an extra battery pack so his phone wouldn't die.

The wharf has become a "go to" place for Pokemon playing because of its many "poke-stops," where players can stock up on resources and find rare characters.

"Over here, there's a lot more Magikarp and Psyduck, -- just things that are located around the water," said San Jose resident Nick Sousa.

With so many players outside, some business owners have put up signs to lure them into their stores.

"We actually had an older family come in and one of the grandpas was in the racks over there trying to find a Pikachu," said Ryan Reyes of Nolands on the Wharf.

Teens and adults aren't the only ones who stalk the wharf to catch Pokemon. Little Cadel Barsi was on the hunt with his mom.

"I found alot of Magikarp and then right now I caught a Magnemite and I evolved it," he said.

At Marini's Candies, the staff said people have asked if they can go in the store's back room to catch Pokemon. Players aren't allowed in back, but they are welcome inside the store and there's been a spike in sales since the game originated. Many players stop in for a little caffeine to keep them going.

"We may start making candy to look like Pokemon. That's in the works. We're going to make apples possibly that look like them," said Lisa Vecchione of Marini's Candies.

Many wharf businesses said they'll ride the Pokemon wave as long as they can. And because players have to hunt down 151 Pokemon scattered around the world, that wave may last a long time.

ORIGINAL POST: Pokemon Go, the popular smartphone-based game, is bringing people outdoors in their search for Pokemons.

One local hotspot is the Santa Cruz wharf, but is the increased foot-traffic actually helping, or hurting, local businesses?

KION's Brandon Castillo goes looking for answers tonight at 5 and 6 p.m..


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