Biz Buzz: Creators of new app inviting you to meet new people and create your own adventures
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Do you want to know what’s happening in the eastern Idaho business scene? We’ve got you covered. Here is a rundown of this week’s business news across the valley.
New app designed to help you connect with others and do something fun
IDAHO FALLS – A new app designed to help you make new friends while you’re traveling is now available.
The Get Along App officially launched March 5 and was co-created by Mandi Hamilton and R.D. Sortor of Idaho Falls.
“We have 183 people on the app so far. We’ve gotten a ton of feedback saying this is a super cool thing that we’re doing, and people are excited for it to grow,” Hamilton tells EastIdahoNews.com.
The app was originally scheduled to launch in January, but Sortor says some snags in development delayed it a bit.
“We delayed the launch in part because we wanted to ensure … that we had the best product that we possibly could with the least amount of errors. We wanted to make sure the app functioned properly,” says Sortor.
The app allows you to enter your own search parameters and meet up with like-minded people. For example, if you want to connect with a married couple in their 30s living in Idaho Falls who want to go hiking, four-wheeling or dirt biking, Sortor says the app will identify people in that criteria, and you can connect with them for whatever activity you’re planning to do.
The app also works outside of eastern Idaho.
If you’re traveling and want a travel buddy, the app allows you to find people in the area where you’ll be going.
“It can honestly be used for something as simple as finding somebody to walk around the greenbelt with or finding a group of people to start your workout program at a local gym. (It can also be used for) anything as extravagant as organizing a destination vacation to some exotic location,” Sortor says. “We launched it globally, so it’s available locally and as you travel around the world.”
Before creating the app, Sortor served in the military for eight years. He later met Hamilton. They both love traveling and it was that common interest that inspired a partnership for this project.
A recent trip to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, is one trip in particular that first sparked the idea for Sortor.
“The deep-sea fishing there is phenomenal. It’s expensive as well,” Sortor told us in December. “The last time I was there, I sat on the beach looking at all the people there saying, ‘Gosh, I can’t be the only person here that wants to go fishing.’”
He also recalls a trip he took to Bogota, Colombia, in 2019. He didn’t know any Spanish and spent hours in his hotel practicing basic words and phrases just to get by.
Having the app would’ve allowed him to find people near him that spoke English and shared similar interests, he says.
Hamilton says she’s always wanted to travel the world, and she’s hoping this venture will give her the opportunity to do that.
The duo is hoping to see the app take off and is planning to host several events in eastern Idaho later this year to spread awareness of it. The events are still in the planning stages.
“Within the next month, we’re hoping to put something together. It’s not going to be overly extravagant, just something … to get people out and excited for the nice weather,” Sortor says.
Get Along is available in four different languages.
It is also subscription-based and comes with a monthly or annual fee. First-time users get a 30-day free trial. After that, it’s $3.99 a month or $19.99 for an annual subscription.
“We decided to charge a subscription fee because we don’t want to inundate people with ads. We’re also not interested in (collecting) and selling personal data to larger companies. It’s an app we created to put out there for people to use when they want it,” says Sortor. “We want them to get on, find people to do stuff with and go do it.”
Bingham Healthcare hosting an open house for new urgent care in Shelley
SHELLEY – Bingham Healthcare is pleased to announce that it has opened a much-needed urgent care facility in Shelley. Just off of Yellowstone Highway, 1st Choice Urgent Care is a walk-in clinic for immediate care that does not require a trip to the emergency room. A ribbon-cutting is happening Thursday, April 8, from noon to 1 p.m. at 275 West Locust. Light refreshments will be served, and there will be a chance to win prizes, such as first-aid kits.
Local Sears store permanently closing this week
REXBURG – A decades-old business is closing its doors for the last time this week.
Sears Hometown Store at 664 North 2nd East in Rexburg is closing Saturday. No one affiliated with the store could be reached for comment, but the Rexburg Standard Journal reports the store’s contract was ending, and the owner opted to sell rather than continue with the contract.
Sears Hometown Store is a locally-owned franchise operated by Sears Hometown and Outlet Stores, Inc. and is separate from Sears Holdings Corporation, which filed for bankruptcy in Dec. of 2017. Sears Hometown and Outlet Stores, Inc. separated from Sears Holdings in 2012.
Ken Hutchins of Missouri bought the Rexburg store from Nyle and Sherri Fullmer in 2018. Ron Hunter and his wife, Becky, were running the store full-time. The Fullmers opened Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory in October 2018 after closing the sale with Hutchins.