With ‘Pokemon Go’, businesses see boost

As the app grows in popularity, many Pokestop businesses are offering promotions to players.

Left to right, Sam Hirsch, Cian Newport and Tyler Blase stop for a moment while playing Pokémon Go in front of Sencha Tea Bar at the Stadium Village Mall on Washington Ave. on July 18. Sencha Tea Bar is one of several restaurants that are offering promotions to help attract users of Pokémon Go.

Zach Bielinski

Left to right, Sam Hirsch, Cian Newport and Tyler Blase stop for a moment while playing Pokémon Go in front of Sencha Tea Bar at the Stadium Village Mall on Washington Ave. on July 18. Sencha Tea Bar is one of several restaurants that are offering promotions to help attract users of Pokémon Go.

Eliana Schreiber

As the popularity of “Pokemon Go” increases, University of Minnesota-area businesses are cashing in on the extra foot traffic.

Many local Minneapolis businesses have considered, or implemented, special promotions to attract more mobile-gamers.

Last week, Sencha Tea Bar in Stadium Village released three special shakes in correspondence with the three color teams of the game — red, yellow and blue — said store manager Josh Suwaratana.

Suwaratana said the store does special shakes for other occasions, so the Pokemon shakes weren’t anything out of the ordinary.

The employees at Sencha wanted to see the breakdown of the teams in the area, he said.

“People are very loyal to their colors, so of course they’re going to pick their own color for that particular shake,” Suwaratana said.

Sencha is also located next to a Pokestop — a real-life location where players can obtain items in the game. Suwaratana said the proximity to the Pokestop has helped business attract players.

“I’ve definitely seen an increase of the ‘Pokemon Go’ players in our store,” he said.

Stub & Herb’s owner Josh Zavadil said he’s seen a slight increase in business, particularly on the patio.

Zavadil said the bar is coming out with a Pokestop special on Thursday in conjunction with their regular Thursday night specials.

“We’re just trying to figure out a way to kind of capture it … because there [are] so many people walking around. But the question is how you get them to walk in,” he said.

Annie’s Parlour, which houses a Pokestop, is counting the number of players coming into the restaurant, said manager Jamie LeClaire.

Bradley Taylor, owner of Sssdude-Nutz in Dinkytown, said he posted a sign outside his shop that reads “Rare Pokemon inside,” as a joke for players.

LeClaire said Annie’s isn’t offering any specials right now, but may offer something in the future.

The game brings in 20 to 40 people to lunch who wouldn’t normally come in, she said.

“I think it’s making things better,” LeClaire said.

The app gives users information about Annie’s — a historic landmark that’s over 55 years old.

T-Mobile introduced a promotion in which any data used by the “Pokemon Go” app will not be charged for the next year, said University alumnus and former Pokemon Club officer Sam Amodeo.

The app uses about 100 megabytes of data per hour, he said.

Amodeo, who belongs to Team Mystic, — one of the three teams in the game — said some are concerned about the game’s safety.

He said police are concerned about users congregating outside police stations, which are often designated Pokestops or gyms.

But since most shops in the area are smaller, Amodeo said he can usually catch a Pokemon outside the store.

“I think it would make more of a difference on larger properties,” he said.