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Small businesses quick to cash in on Pokemon Go fad

A Pokémon called Venonat was 'found' outside of Ripper's Pub in Bethlehem by one of the players of the hot new game, Pokémon Go.

The way Alex Kalogeropoulos describes it, you couldn’t throw a Pokéball on Hamilton Street in Allentown without hitting someone playing the hot, new mobile phone app game, Pokémon Go.

The way Alex Kalogeropoulos describes it, you couldn’t throw a Pokéball on Hamilton Street in Allentown without hitting someone playing the hot, new mobile phone app game, Pokémon Go.

Kalogeropoulos, the principal of Social Station, said even as a social media marketer he’s been amazed at what he’s seen.

By July 13, the game, which had only launched six days earlier, had already become a sensation not only in Allentown’s city center, but in downtowns, college campuses, city parks and other spots around the Greater Lehigh Valley and the globe.

Smart businesses that can benefit from higher foot traffic, such as retail stores, or that can lure new customers with Pokémon centric promotions and events, such as bars and restaurants, already have started capitalizing on the game’s popularity to build their business.

For those not in on the craze, Pokémon Go is a game developed by Nintendo, which owns the Pokémon franchise, using Google Maps. It is revolutionary in its use of technology and social media, but relatively easy to understand.

The game is played in the real world. Users download an app on their Android or iPhone mobile device.

Pokémon Go uses the phone’s camera, GPS and Google Maps to let users “find” and “capture” animated Pokémon characters from the popular Pokémon cartoon and video game franchise as if they were actually in front of them. But in reality, they are just animations that appear on the screens of the users.

When in capture mode, the game shows a real photo of where you are with the animation superimposed on the image.

Kalogeropoulos said the innovative game has captured the hearts and imaginations of people globally in an unprecedented way.

“It goes across age, gender and races,” he said.

Stacy Wescoe
Writer and online editor Stacy Wescoe has her finger on the pulse of the business community in the Greater Lehigh Valley and keeps you up-to-date with technology and trends, plus what coworkers and competitors are talking about around the water cooler — and on social media. She can be reached at stacyw@lvb.com or 610-807-9619, ext. 4104. Follow her on Twitter and on Facebook.

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