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SOUTH OGDEN — For most business owners, the thought of a sudden influx of new visitors on the surface may sound like a good thing. Robert Higgs, however, said it's not working out that way for him.
"My employees are staying after late, cleaning up tables for nonpaying customers," Higgs explained. "They're not making tips and they're frustrated."
The owner of Burch Creek Mercantile, an ice cream parlor, restaurant and gift shop, says "Pokemon Go" players started showing up about two weeks ago to participate in raids, a recent addition to the game. The raids allow players to fight powerful enemies in groups or alone, promising at times rare Pokemon and rewards if they win. Higgs said one large group took over an area that had been reserved for a party.
"Out of sixty people, two people purchased something," Higgs said. "It upset people that reserved the party. They complained that there was nowhere to park and nowhere to sit."
Employee Dennis Record said he's had to clean up for groups of non-paying people.
"We had a group of people walking around, you know, bumping into things," he explained. "It was just a bunch of people. And they just stay here and then they leave."
"We're getting people bringing in pizza from next door, McDonald's, ice cream from our competitors," Higgs said, "and just sit in our dining room and eat, play their game and leave."
Higgs said he has contacted Niantic, the company that makes "Pokemon Go," asking to have his business removed as a raid location. He says he later received a response, stating that the company would need more time to confirm that he is, in fact, the business owner.
"It's a lose-lose for us," Higgs said. "I don't feel like we're gaining anything."