The Importance of Community

Jeff LanctotBaseHubs Logo

Jeff Lanctot

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I grew up the son of a small town newspaper publisher. If you’ve lived in a smaller town, you know that news tends to travel fast. In those days, the newspaper, in particular, was the hub of what was happening, and where news was spreading. Much of it was about local events, or town politics, but a good bit was about the local business community. I knew every store that was opening or closing, and where the deals were to be had. I also had a good sense of what customers thought about each business, because that’s the kind of thing we talked about.

Of course, time moved on, and so did technology. Newspapers don’t carry the weight they once did. Apps and websites have replaced many of our old resources. We gained a whole host of new ways to hear what people have to say...and boy, do we ever have a lot to say. Unfortunately, a lot of the opinions shared online are authored behind the cloak of anonymity. You don’t know who these would-be critics even are, let alone whether you have anything in common with them.

Lost in this technological “progress” is community. We’ve moved our shopping online, we have our meals delivered, and we get “customer service” by sending an email into the void. An unfortunate result of these new behaviors is that too many of us take for granted the lifeblood of any strong city or town - local businesses. When we are supporting the shops in our area, we’ve lost that old small town art of turning to the people around us for recommendations. The people with whom we have something in common, and whose opinions carry far more weight than a nameless, faceless reviewer online. Sure, we’d all like to get recommendations from people we trust, but that’s not exactly the internet’s specialty. It should be easy to find a new great place for your family to eat, or a reliable mechanic, or a new dentist. That’s not reality. Something as simple as finding a great locally-owned business becomes a cluttered, unreliable, and unsatisfying task.

BaseHubs is setting out to change that, one community at a time. We’ve built a service powered by the community itself - where the reviews and recommendations of local businesses are from real people. It’s a place where good news travels fast, just like it did when I was getting my dining room diploma in the family newspaper business.

At BaseHubs, we think of community as the intersection of two things: "Pack and Place." Your place, of course, is where you live. For an app that acts as a guide to the businesses near you, that's essential. "Pack" is a large group of people that have something in common - like a profession, an alumni network, or a life stage. When we started to build BaseHubs, we knew the pack we wanted to focus on was military families and Veterans. It's a group with unique needs, including the frequent challenge of settling into a new area after a PCS. BaseHubs is built for those families, and for the local businesses that they support.

We first launched our app in the JBLM/greater Tacoma area, and soon after received a call from leaders in Anchorage, asking about bringing BaseHubs to JBER. It's been exciting to gain the immediate support of both the military and business communities. Their belief in what we are building is what drives us. We're at Day 1, but we're committed to making a difference for them today, tomorrow, and in the months and years ahead. One community at a time.