SOUTH OGDEN – It may be an extremely popular smartphone game, but Pokémon GO is proving to be an extreme nuisance for one business owner.
When Burch Creek Mercantile owner Robert Higgs first learned his ice cream and candy store would be a stop for Pokémon GO, he thought it would be great for business. He says, “It would bring customers in and bring new people to the shop. It hasn’t worked out that way.”
It all changed when the game introduced something called “raid battles.” This is when 20 players at a time can group together to take down stronger characters in the game. Higgs says there are times when 50 to 60 players come to his shop at unexpected times, make a mess and leave without buying anything. Higgs says, “A great example was Tuesday night when we had a birthday party scheduled, and [game players] moved the ‘reserved’ tickets onto one table and took over the reserved party’s space to play Pokémon.”
What’s worse, according to Higgs, is that the players are actually bringing in food purchased from outside restaurants and leaving the trash behind after they’re done playing. “It has been two consecutive weeks of no business. My employees are staying after late to clean up tables from non-paying customers. They’re not making tips and they’re frustrated,” Higgs says.
He’s contacted the makers of the game and has asked to have the “gym” to be removed from the game. However, he feels he’s getting the run-around. The game developers are requiring him to prove he’s the owner of the business. “[Niantic] needs to get it approved. My opinion of it is that it was never approved by me to be here in the first place,” he adds.
In the meantime, he’s placed signs on his doors that inform players he’s trying to remove the Pokémon GO stop removed from his business, but, they’re still welcome to play inside as long as they buy something.
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