It always feels great to help the community during tough times, especially in this hell of a year. Many small businesses were affected by the global pandemic caused by COVID-19. Due to this, Niantic has decided to help them revitalize their small shops, and add their locations as sponsored locations in Pokemon GO completely free of charge.
Niantic has started the Sponsored Locations Early Access Beta program in 2019 and has asked its players in the U.S., Canada, Mexico, the U.K., and Japan to nominate their favorite small local businesses. This resulted in more than 38,000 businesses getting nominated. A team over at Niantic has narrowed this huge list down to 1,000, so starting today, they will be adding the locations of the chosen ones in the game.
The requirement for a business to be nominated was for that business to be “small and local,” which means that it should have five or fewer storefront locations, and should keep up to the local health and safety regulations.
There are many stores that will be up as locations in the game, but Niantic, in their post, has decided to highlight these ones:
- F.M. Light & Sons, a family-owned Western wear and apparel store in Steamboat Springs, Colorado that’s been operating since 1905.
- CIBER LEKAR, a game and hobby shop in Guanajuato, Mexico owned by a husband and wife team who are very involved with the local Pokémon GO community.
- Blitzkrieg Chop, an inclusive hair shop in Worthing, West Sussex U.K. that serves the local alt, punk, and nerd communities by hosting Pokémon GO community days, art pop-ups and offers free head-shavings for charity.
- Five Girls Baking, a family-run bakery, and cafe in Liverpool, Nova Scotia, Canada that’s been supporting its community during the pandemic with free bread for those in need.
What is awesome is that Niantic will encourage these businesses to run promotion campaigns, take part in in-game events, and if possible, some new features. This is a great financial aid for them, coming from a huge company.
For more information on the Niantic Local Business Recovery Initiative and Niantic’s Sponsored Locations for Business, click here.