'Pokemon Go' craze impacts business - WMBFNews.com, Myrtle Beach/Florence SC, Weather

'Pokemon Go' craze impacts business

Ripley's Aquarium in Myrtle Beach is holding a contest where visitors can win up to $5,000 by catching the rarest Pokemon. This is just one of several ways businesses are cashing in on Pokemon Mania. (Source: WMBF News) Ripley's Aquarium in Myrtle Beach is holding a contest where visitors can win up to $5,000 by catching the rarest Pokemon. This is just one of several ways businesses are cashing in on Pokemon Mania. (Source: WMBF News)

MYRTLE BEACH, SC (WMBF) - Ripley's Aquarium in Myrtle Beach is holding a contest where visitors can win up to $5,000 by catching the rarest Pokemon. This is just one of several ways businesses are cashing in on Pokemon mania.

Ripley's Marketing Director Bethany Marshall said she saw several employees playing the game after it came out, but didn't pay it any mind.

"That's all they could talk about for the next three or four days, and I was like 'OK whatever,' and I didn't pay any attention to it. And then by that Monday, all of the sudden it seemed like every person in the aquarium was playing it, and I'm like 'I've got to figure out what this game is,'" said Bethany Marshall.

"Now it's getting people up off of the couch. It's making the kids go around, because they want to get the rarest, they want to find the coolest Pokemon that's out there. And you have to walk, you have to visit, you have to go in order to do all of this," Marshall said.

The success of "Pokemon Go" has come seemingly overnight. According to the Wall Street Journal, the company Nintendo, which owns the rights to Pokemon, saw it's market value rise above nine billion dollars.

"It's also recruiting people who have never played. We've never played in our whole life, and now we're like hardcore into 'Pokemon Go,' and I feel like because of that we'll start playing the older games," said "Pokemon Go" player Jess Winebrenner.

The Market Common area has also become a hot spot for "Pokemon Go," with Gyms and Pokestops scattered throughout the map. Britni Gaddy is a realtor in Market Common and part-time bartender who has seen first-hand how the game is impacting business. She says she was skeptical at first, until she saw players become consumers.

"Pay attention where you're walking. But then they started coming into my restaurant, and I'm like what are you doing here? They come in late night. Our late night crowd here used to be service industry, they get off work around 11. But now, the random Pokemon people start coming in and bringing business," said Britni Gaddy.

If you're out in public, "Pokemon Go" players are not hard to spot, and Gaddy says this could just be the start of things to come.

"I see it growing, growing, growing. More people are coming. More people are playing. There's a wide age range, so you've got kids, people my age, you've got parents doing it as well. And I've also heard talk about doing different kinds of games," Gaddy said.

Copyright 2016 WMBF News. All rights reserved.

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