Skip to main content

Local businesses capture customers with Pokémon GO

Aug 12, 2016 11:22AM ● Published by Neighbors Magazines

Gallery: Pokémon GO celebration at Graham's 318 Coffeehouse and Poké Ball sugar cookies by Early Light Café [4 Images] Click any image to expand.

Pokémon GO encourages players – acknowledged as trainers – to step outside and explore nearby areas, while catching exotic monsters and snatching virtual loot. Pokémon GO’s built-in map, composed by Niantic’s Real World Gaming Platform, corresponds to the real world’s roads, paths, buildings, water-systems and major landmarks; wherever the player moves, so does the trainer. Trainers can obtain items to aid in healing and catching more Pokémon at specific markers called PokéStops. These glowing blue posts attract trainers to visit local art and historic locations and monuments, spread throughout their community, or congested to one patch of town.

The incentive to collect Pokémon has encouraged waves of the game’s younger audience to meander the Riverwalk and Depot Museum in Batavia, Third Street in Geneva and Mount Saint Mary Park in St. Charles. The top downloaded game has revolutionized how the new media interacts with communities, while giving local businesses a chance to capitalize on the fandom and generate more foot-traffic.

On July 15, Graham’s 318 Coffeehouse on Third Street hosted a Pokémon GO spectacle that included Pikachu-infused gelato, promotions and most importantly – pocket monsters.

Kristen Sommerfeld, manager of the coffee and gelato shop, imagined the event as part of her desire to entwine the surrounding community with its supporting businesses. From 10am–5pm, Sommerfeld redirected the wandering crowds of Pokémon hunters and drew players to the shop’s grounds. The store offered a 10 percent discount off of a customer’s entire purchase if they exhibited the Pokémon GO app on their device to the cashier. In addition, a free scoop of gelato was given to randomized customers that came in during a specified time-frame.

“The lines were out the door for probably about five hours straight,” Sommerfeld said. “Which is really crazy for a Friday.”

Sommerfeld attached lure modules, Pokémon-enchanting items, to a neighboring PokéStop at the Paper Merchant every 30 minutes for seven hours. Trainers in the game will see confetti bounce and stream off the marker, indicating that this may be a good place for trainers to recess and reconvene as rare virtual-creatures finally roam to them.

“We had a couple people, I guess, that caught a Pikachu that was around here – which is a rare one,” Sommerfeld said. “This one kid ran in and goes ‘I got a Pikachu,’ and so people then got their stuff and came out and started looking around for it.”

A signature sorbet of theirs, limoncello, which was proudly named “Pikacello” was scooped out during the event. Poké Balls hung from the trees and elevated over the crowds, as animated chalk art of Charizards and Pikachus, hand-drawn by Sommerfeld, decorated the path under their feet.

“People were just literally hanging out, but then they were coming in and ordering more,” Sommerfeld said. “There were kids bringing their parents in, too, which was really cool to see that the parents were trying to understand how to play.”

Pokémon GO customers were tallied, and more than 150 trainers came in with the app and received the discounted purchase. Trainers were tagging the coffeehouse on their Instagram and Facebook posts, which included a snapshot of a Seel swimming inside a gelato case.

The same day, Acosta’s Consignment Batavia location, near the Riverwalk, was hosting similar celebrations as the furniture and home accessories store gave Pokémon GO enthusiasts a 10 percent discount on any item. The store carried out more than 35 transactions, doubled from the store’s usual amount. Lures were active for eight hours at the store’s two adjacent PokéStops between Wilson and First Street.

Chris and her husband, Cesilio, own and operate Acosta’s Batavia and St. Charles locations, and are both seasoned trainers who retain a great reputation in the mobile game. The Acosta’s have grown accustomed to a daily ritual of Pokémon hunting around Mt. St. Mary Park and downtown St. Charles with their four daughters.

“We’re not a coffee shop, we’re not a restaurant, we’re not an ice cream parlor, so it’s not going to draw teenagers and young kids to that degree,” Chris Acosta said. “But what it did draw – was a lot of husbands. And a lot of younger people in their 20’s were coming in during that time.”

On State Street, when Pokémon GO trainers initially began their faithful journey, the Early Light Café’s owner, Dawn Phillips, baked red and white Poké Ball sugar cookies for the traveling players. The café is commonly known for its Panini’s and novelty treats that are served at the intersection of State Street and Route 25, attached to Mill Race Cyclery.

“What inspired me to make the cookies really is just that I love cut out cookies and my kids have always loved Pokémon cookies,” Phillips said.  “So, I had one of my employees who loves decorating cakes try to make some cookies to tie in with all the rage.”

Phillips, who is cooking for her fourth summer at the location, has not seen a dramatic increase in foot-traffic when she has lures running. But she described Pokémon trainers making a home around her shop.

“We have several PokéStops right by the café,” Phillips said. “Most of the people are kids, and they come and get drinks or ice cream and then are back playing the game.”

The Geneva Park District has followed the craze and found the tracking-game to be an occasion where they could uniquely engage all ages of their community to experience the city’s nature reserves.

Peck Farm Park, which mimics the game’s woodland and grassy plain atmosphere, will host a Pokémon GO hunt on Friday, Aug. 12, and for two hours, Kim Bohannon, a naturalist at the park, will be dropping lures at Peck Farm’s three PokéStop locations – the Butterfly House, Hawks Hollow Nature Playground and the Stephen D. Persinger Recreation Center.

“Since the first week it came out, we decided that it would be fun to do something,” Bohannon said. “Pre-teen kids aren’t necessarily the ones who come and attend events here. It’s nice to have something that will attract them and let people see how beautiful it is out here. Hopefully we’ll be able to attract some rare Pokémon.”

Businesses and cities anticipate Pokémon GO can maintain its staggering masses to keep opportunities energetic for businesses and city-members – places that want to build relationships with the community and prospective purchasers.

Chris Acosta described the craze as a perfect situation for neighborhood businesses to team up and have lures running to last the day, or the weekend.

“I would actually like to talk to some other neighboring restaurants and other people that have PokéStops and I’d like to do something together as a group here in Batavia,” Acosta said. “Where we can all promote it as a town and all have lures going.”

News Graham's 318 Coffeehouse Pokémon GO Acosta's Consignment Peck Farm Park Early Light Café
  • Tri-Cities Exchange Club Breakfast

    09/26/2017
    07:00AM — 08:00AM

    Every Tuesday morning, 7-8am, men and women meet for breakfast at Colonial Cafe on Randall Road, ...


  • Coat Drive

    09/26/2017
    08:00AM — 05:00PM

    Please help those in need in our community with donations of new or clean, gently-used winter ite...


  • Sculpture on the Prairie

    09/26/2017
    10:00AM — 05:00PM

    Fine Line Creative Arts Center is proud to annouce it's first Sculpture on the Prarie exhibit. E...


  • Wednesday Walking Club

    09/27/2017
    08:00AM — 09:00AM

    Wednesdays, April 5–October 25, 8–9 AM Free drop-in program for all ages Get fit the old-fashio...


  • Wednesday Walking Club

    09/27/2017
    08:00AM — 09:00AM

    Wednesdays, April 5–October 25, 8–9 AM Free drop-in program for all ages Get fit the old-fashio...


  • Coat Drive

    09/27/2017
    08:00AM — 05:00PM

    Please help those in need in our community with donations of new or clean, gently-used winter ite...


  • Sculpture on the Prairie

    09/27/2017
    10:00AM — 05:00PM

    Fine Line Creative Arts Center is proud to annouce it's first Sculpture on the Prarie exhibit. E...


  • Fabyan Villa Museum & Japanese Garden open

    09/27/2017
    01:00PM — 04:30PM

    The Fabyan Villa Museum and Japanese Garden will return to a public hours schedule starting on Su...


  • Million Dollar Quartet

    09/27/2017
    01:30PM

    Paramount Theatre's rollicking 2017-18 Broadway Series opener is Million Dollar Quartet, the wild...


  • Coat Drive

    09/28/2017
    08:00AM — 05:00PM

    Please help those in need in our community with donations of new or clean, gently-used winter ite...


  • Nature Tykes (for 3 year olds)

    09/28/2017
    09:30AM — 10:30AM

    In this program, for 3-year olds and their parents, grandparents or guardians, we’ll explore the ...


  • Sculpture on the Prairie

    09/28/2017
    10:00AM — 05:00PM

    Fine Line Creative Arts Center is proud to annouce it's first Sculpture on the Prarie exhibit. E...


  • Fabyan Villa Museum & Japanese Garden open

    09/28/2017
    01:00PM — 04:30PM

    The Fabyan Villa Museum and Japanese Garden will return to a public hours schedule starting on Su...


  • Little Naturalists

    09/28/2017
    01:00PM — 02:00PM

    In this hour-long program for 4-5-year olds, children will discover the wonders of nature through...


  • Million Dollar Quartet

    09/28/2017
    01:30PM

    Paramount Theatre's rollicking 2017-18 Broadway Series opener is Million Dollar Quartet, the wild...


  • Please join the Batavia Chamber of Commerce, Batavia Mayor Jeffery Schielke, and Batavia represen...


  • Comedy at Zanies

    09/28/2017
    08:00PM

    See nationally known comics along with some of the country’s hottest new talents for a night full...


  • Coat Drive

    09/29/2017
    08:00AM — 05:00PM

    Please help those in need in our community with donations of new or clean, gently-used winter ite...


  • Moms Connect

    09/29/2017
    09:00AM — 10:15AM

    St. John Lutheran Church at 7214 South Cass Avenue in Darien, IL will sponsor a new Bible-based s...


  • Sculpture on the Prairie

    09/29/2017
    10:00AM — 05:00PM

    Fine Line Creative Arts Center is proud to annouce it's first Sculpture on the Prarie exhibit. E...


  • Story Time at Creek Bend Nature Center

    09/29/2017
    10:30AM — 11:00AM

    Treat your child to Story Times at Creek Bend Nature Center. This popular program series is for c...


  • Million Dollar Quartet

    09/29/2017
    01:30PM

    Paramount Theatre's rollicking 2017-18 Broadway Series opener is Million Dollar Quartet, the wild...


  • Comedy at Zanies

    09/29/2017
    08:00PM

    See nationally known comics along with some of the country’s hottest new talents for a night full...


  • Live Entertainment: DJ

    09/29/2017
    09:00PM — 11:55PM

    Join us on historic Bourbon Street in Jambalaya at Pheasant Run Resort every Friday for live ente...


  • LEHSO Resale

    09/30/2017
    07:00AM — 02:00PM

    LEHSO Clothing Resale The Lisle Elementary Home & School Organization clothing resale is a bia...


  • The Holmstad’s 40th Annual Bazaar

    09/30/2017
    09:00AM — 03:00PM

    The community is invited to wrap up their holiday shopping early by stopping in at The Holmstad’s...


  • Sculpture on the Prairie

    09/30/2017
    10:00AM — 05:00PM

    Fine Line Creative Arts Center is proud to annouce it's first Sculpture on the Prarie exhibit. E...


  • Green Fair

    09/30/2017
    10:00AM — 04:00PM

    Eco Vendors, Farmer's Market, Recycling Extravaganza, Green Speakers, Food Trucks, Children's Mak...


  • National Public Lands Day

    09/30/2017
    10:00AM — 01:00PM

    Volunteers are needed to help us plant trees, collect seeds and clear brush at our National Publi...


  • Million Dollar Quartet

    09/30/2017
    01:30PM

    Paramount Theatre's rollicking 2017-18 Broadway Series opener is Million Dollar Quartet, the wild...


  • Comedy at Zanies

    09/30/2017
    07:30PM

    See nationally known comics along with some of the country’s hottest new talents for a night full...


  • St. Charles Singers: Mozart Journey XII

    09/30/2017
    07:30PM — 09:00PM

    The St. Charles Singers will launch its 34th concert season this fall with a new installment of t...


  • Live Music

    09/30/2017
    09:00PM — 11:55PM

    Join us on historic Bourbon Street in Jambalaya at Pheasant Run Resort for live bands every Satur...


  • Comedy at Zanies

    09/30/2017
    09:45PM

    See nationally known comics along with some of the country’s hottest new talents for a night full...


Neighbors Magazines
Neighbors Magazines, 28 South Water Street, Batavia, IL 60510, 630-995-3482, www.welcometoneighbors.com
Contact us