Third Thursday sees ‘dynamic’ change with Pokemon theme

MILFORD — Luring creatures to the downtown area is nothing new for serious Pokemon Go! players who frequent the Riverwalk.

Lang Redden and others involved in the Downtown Entrepreneurs Committee through Downtown Milford, Inc. wanted to tap into the “craze” to help lure people to the area during business hours.

Third Thursday was developed by Downtown Milford, Inc. in hopes of creating additional foot traffic for downtown businesses, a hope that was finally realized last week.

“Dolce told me they did 250 percent better than previous Third Thursdays,” said Ms. Redden who helped organize the event and owns Archology Architecture and Design Services with husband Mark.

What made the difference?

“I noticed the Pokemon Go craze and I started to map out the stops. I knew we needed to try something different,” she said.

Milford resident Donna Bowers said she’s been wanting to come out to the downtown area to browse the shops, but she had not done so until the Third Thursday in August.

With grandchildren visiting her from Richmond, Va., in tow, “Pokemon was the real draw,” she said.

To help newcomers to the area know which businesses were open during the later hours, Peggy Reilly of Sugar Bee brought balloons for those businesses to display.

Ms. Redden said that she, Ms. Reilly, the Music School of Delaware, Marsha Reed of Gallery 37 and Walt and Sharon Hepford joined together to purchase the balloons and “lures,” items purchased in the Pokemon Go! app that can be linked to Pokestops to attract more creatures.

The downtown area has more than 20 Pokestops in the game between Church Street and Bicentennial Park alone. The entrepreneur group helped purchase lures for just a handful of those stops that are located along N. Walnut St. near the downtown businesses for the 5-8 p.m. hours during Third Thursday.

According to Ms. Redden, most of the participating businesses saw an increase in traffic due to the new activity.

“Peggy said she saw more sales during the 6-7 hour than 1-5, her normal business hours. And both Mispillion Art League and Dolce’s said it really changed the dynamic of the people who came in,” Ms. Redden explained. “Maggie, at the antique store, normally sees 20 people. She saw 50.”

Carl’s Gourmet Hots was available for players and shoppers throughout the evening. “I had 39 transactions. I’ll definitely be back for Third Thursday,” Carl Haber said.

Ms. Redden said she is looking forward to the possibilities of future Third Thursdays.

Jennifer Antonik can be reached at mc@newszap.com

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