Roanoke businesses trying to cash in on Pokemon craze

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ROANOKE, Va. (WDBJ7) Most everywhere you go there's someone with their face in their phone playing the game.

Now businesses in Southwest Virginia are trying to cash in on the latest craze.

There's no shortage of Pokemon at Roanoke’s City Market Building because it has actually paid real money to attract virtual Pokemon to the market. It's called Super Pokemon Lunch.

The market hopes the people, who in the game are called trainers, come here to the market to catch the Pokemon.

"I played Pokemon back in 1996 when it came out, I'm the perfect age for this, and now that a lot of people are included in this more gamer friendly hobby it means a lot to me personally," Pokemon Go player Richard Schefer said.

The trainers can see the Pokemon have appeared here on the maps on their phone. Businesses in the market then want to catch some of that cash. Restaurants are running lunch specials.

"It was really good for business, it's a nice draw to draw people in, if we can get them on the lunch counter a lot of times we can get them in the dining room,""Wall Street Tavern Executive Chef Cara Lowe said.

Fork in the Market is doing a Pokeball pizza special and Wall Street Tavern is doing a Pikachu burger. You can even sign up to win a week’s worth of free lunch.

"A great opportunity for us to jump out on something that is super trendy and happening right now, and give an opportunity for people who are playing the game to enjoy their time downtown in the air conditioning and have an opportunity to meet other people who are playing the game,” said Elliot Broyles, the executive director of the City Market Building.

Pokemon is really popular with millennials because it was the hot game when they were kids. But we've seen adults running around town doing this, too.

People have even created maps online to show where all the different Pokemon spots are in the Roanoke Valley.