How Pokemon Go Helped Save a Small Business

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An ice cream shop owner who suffers from a neurological disorder is back in business -- thanks to crowds drawn by Pokemon Go.

Pokemon Go launched a little over a month ago, but the wildly popular mobile game is already a bit of a mixed blessing.

On the one hand, for example, it’s costing some players a lot of money despite being a free download.

On the other hand, the augmented-reality game has helped some players become more active, as it encourages them to get out into the real world to find and capture fictional creatures called Pokemon with their smartphones.

Recently, Pokemon Go even helped save a struggling small business.

In late June, Mad Hatter’s Ice Cream in the small city of Anacortes, Washington, announced in a brief Facebook message that it was permanently closed “due to illness.”

Owner Gary Dear, 61, suffers from a neurological disorder stemming from his time in the U.S. Navy, NBC affiliate KING5 reports this week.

“I needed to decompress my brain, get my pain under control,” he told the local TV station. “[I] was fine with keeping the store closed. I really didn’t care at the time if I opened it back up.”

Supportive friends and customers quickly changed Dear’s mind, however. By early July, he had decided to re-open, explaining on Facebook:

Due to the support and prayers of many the Mad Hatters will remain a part of this wonderful community. Thanks to all for the overwhelming kindness and willingness to help do what is takes to make what seemed daunting and hopeless, manageable. Thank You!

Little did Dear know that was just the beginning of the community’s support.

He reopened on July 11 — five days after Pokemon Go launched — only to find people swarming the pavement outside Mad Hatter’s each day.

It turned out the ice cream shop is right across the street from a PokeStop, a location where Pokemon Go players can collect special items such as the Poke Balls they need to capture Pokemon.

On some nights, Mad Hatter’s sales double or triple, Dear tells KING5:

“[In] my wildest dreams, I could never expect it to end like this.”

What’s your take on this news? Have you heard any positive Pokemon Go stories? Let us know about them below or on Facebook.

Stacy Johnson

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