Pokemon GO fans are flocking to Altona beach, with businesses reporting up to 300 extra customers a day.
Altona Pines fish and chip shop owner Alex Barakat said his store, near Altona Pier and Logan Reserve, was a major beneficiary with about 150 players converging at Altona Pier on Saturday night. He said players had gone into the shop saying they had found rare Pokemon like Pikachu, Squirtle and Poliwhirl and there were “lures” right outside his shop.
Pokemon players’ challenge is to catch small, fictional creatures that can be seen in real-life settings through a smartphone or tablet. A lure can be used to bring Pokemon to the players’ location.
Mr Barakat said he had not paid for his business to become such an attraction and was blessing his luck. “I’ve had a few customers coming in telling me, ‘We’ve searched almost half of Melbourne and couldn’t find a specific Pokemon’, and they found it in Altona in front of the pier,” he said. “My fish shop is normally a lunch-type business, but ever since Pokemon GO started, as soon as it hits 6pm or 6.30pm, they all start rocking in, big groups of them. And they’re all on their phones trying to catch Pokemon while ordering fish and chips.”
But not everyone has been so happy, with some people taking to social media to complain about groups of 60-or-so walking blindly across the road at the corner of the Esplanade and Pier Street. One person posted that there appeared to be drug-dealing in the Cherry Lake carpark after seeing numerous vehicles going back and forth and around in circles for an hour.
Meanwhile, Pokemon GO hunters have been swarming Footscray Park, particularly those in search of Dratani and Magikarp. Other Pokemon have been found outside Footscray Town Hall, and they have even popped up behind the bar at Littlefoot nightspot. A ‘Pokemon GO Footscray’ group on Facebook had close to 100 members on Tuesday.
By Goya Dmytryshchak with Benjamin Millar