The Pine Cone's fifth story of the week

P.G. hopes scavenger hunt will lure shoppers


Published: April 18, 2008

TO HELP revive a struggling downtown Pacific Grove, some business owners have come up with a unique idea they’re hoping will draw customers.

Friday night, more than 50 businesses on and around Lighthouse Avenue will take part in the city’s, and perhaps the county’s, first-ever public scavenger hunt, billed as a “Scavenger Hunt with a Twist.”

“It’s a great way for people to get to know downtown P.G. while having a ball and maybe winning a fabulous prize to boot,” said Sally Aberg, one of the event’s coordinators.

The way the game works, Aberg said, is participants will receive a game card with 53 clues and riddles about each participating store, restaurant and gallery. The game will take place April 18 from 5 to 9 p.m.

“The goal is to identify the business, go to that business, and write down the secret code that is posted somewhere on the premises,” she said. “Many businesses will also be offering special gifts that night, such as free samples and discounts.”

Contestants who identify at least 20 businesses and collect the secret codes are eligible to enter a drawing to win one of a host of prizes.

The prizes, which will be awarded to 50 or more winners, range from vouchers for ice cream cones and $100 gift certificates, to several women’s clothing stores and a basket of tools from a P.G. hardware store, Aberg said.

Business owners “will all be challenged to come up with a creative way to promote their business during those couple of minutes they have people [game participants] in the store,” Aberg said.

The scavenger hunt is the first event of a new series called “Pacific Groove Night — Get into the Grove,” which Aberg says, if successful, will offer a different theme each time in an effort to attract shoppers and restaurant-goers.

Although Aberg said they don’t expect to see high sales during the inaugural event, they hope it will be enough to draw visitors back to Pacific Grove.

“We are really trying to get families to come downtown,” she said.

In organizing the event, which Aberg called a grassroots effort, nearly all of the downtown businesses decided to participate in the game. The Pacific Grove Chamber of Commerce and the P.G. Business Improvement District support the event, she said.

Emily Owens and Mary Troup, the owners of the eclectic Forest Avenue store, Tessuti Zoo, came up with the idea of the scavenger hunt, Aberg said.

“They said, ‘Why don’t we have more events that include all of the downtown businesses?’” Aberg said.

The scavenger hunt begins at 5 p.m., and game cards can be picked up at 570 Lighthouse Ave., a longtime Hallmark store that recently went out of business. The drawing for prizes will be held at 8:45 p.m., and players need not be present to win. For more information, call Tessuti Zoo at (831) 648-1725.