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New West Daily Roundup for May 5, 2016

Today in New West news: the best mountain towns in the U.S., Visit Big Sky unveils new smartphone app, Utah’s BragShare, Boulder-based Gaiam Inc. sells majority share of Natural Habitat Inc., and greenhouses at the new Simplot complex.

Digital media company The Thrillist recently released their list of The Best Mountain Towns in America, which is sure to have some Rocky Mountain enthusiasts disappointed. Indeed, while several New West cities made the list, the Thrillist specified their list only permitted one town per state (with all apologies to Colorado). Further, the list puts the Rockies on equal footings with the Blue Ridge Mountains, the Adirondacks, the Ozarks, and other U.S. ranges. The full list is below:

• Taos, New Mexico
• Homer, Arkansas
• Lake Placid, New York
• Telluride, Colorado
• Bend, Oregon
• Truckee, California
• Coeur d’Alene, Idaho
• Eureka Springs, Arkansas
• Asheville, North Carolina

The list took into account only proximity to mountains but also each town’s character and culture, ranging from Telluride’s extensive roster of top-tier music festivals to Bend’s premier beer scene to Coeur d’Alene’s sporting scene.

Speaking of mountains, over in Montana, Visit Big Sky unveiled a new smartphone app earlier this week, which will cater to visitors looking to get the most out of their visit. According to the Bozeman Daily Chronicle, the app (entitled “Big Sky, Montana On The Go”) will relay information about food and drink specials (including happy hour), retail sales, live music and other special events in the area. It will also provide guidance to visitors looking to navigate the region. From the Chronicle:

“The app is designed to help visitors move between places, find businesses and allow businesses to communicate with visitors,” said Visit Big Sky Executive Director Kitty Clemens. “It really is a customer service thing.”


“If you were to come into our visitor center, you would watch people come in and say, ‘So where is Big Sky?’ or ‘Is this all there is?’” said Clemens. “That’s kind of why we developed the app.”

The app took about a year to create and is free for both iOS and Android devices. Around 400 people have downloaded the app since its initial testing release three weeks ago.

“The app is a way for us to stay connected with people in town and a way for people to find all the things they want to find,” said Clemens. “I’m really excited.”

Down in Utah, a new social media company wants to disrupt the industry with their new platform. According to Utah Business, the platform (entitled BragShare) seeks to remedy perceived problems in the building of a social media identity; indeed, the service is aimed at allowing users to better catalogue their life experiences by creating “a published, searchable record of all the meaningful events” in a user’s life. From Utah Business:

Created by co-founders Chad Gundry and Daniel Coburn, BragShare emerges today as a means of providing social media users with a greater degree of power and control over their reputation and legacy.

“Everyone has a great story to tell, yet social media is siloed and can’t publish that story in an easy, searchable way,” said Chad Gundry, CEO of BragShare. “A person is a culmination of their work, family, interests, associations, etc. BragShare combines the best of social media for both business and personal interests so others can see the entire view of a person.”

With BragShare, users determine the significant events that have the most meaning in their lives and show the world who they really are. Posts can still be about anything—observations, political rants, selfies, etc. Users also create a timeline of the most important posts: their birth, high school graduation, summiting a tall mountain, a trip to Hawaii or anything users consider most important about what they want to tell the world. Those posts can be shared to social media platforms such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Twitter and Google+.

Users can export to PDF or print the collection of their most important posts—called a Bragline—in an organized fashion, allowing them to have an additional record of those significant moments in their lives. BragShare helps people journal their life in a fun, nontraditional way through social media.

BragShare (which is based in Sandy, UT, in the Salt Lake City metro area) hopes to not only fill in gaps in user experience with existing social media platforms, they also hope to cater to businesses looking to expand from the perceived limits of Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and so forth.

Of course, he biggest test of BragShare will be whether people grapple onto it the way Gundry and Coburn say they will.

Over in Colorado, according to the Denver Business Journal, Boulder-based Gaiam Inc. has sold its 51 percent interest in Boulder-based Natural Habitat Inc. to New York-based Lindblad Expeditions Holdings Inc. for $12.85 million. Gaiam said in a release they will use the proceeds “for general corporate purposes, including the further development of Gaiam’s subscription-based, Gaia streaming media business,” adding they look forward to collaborating with Lindblad.

Finally, over in Idaho, we previously reported the J.R. Simplot Co. was planning a new facility for downtown Boise and according to the Idaho Statesman, the Simplot building will provide a unique addition to Boise’s skyline: greenhouses. Indeed, the company is building three greenhouses (each 30 by 60 feet) on the rooftop (just above the cafeteria), according to Simplot spokesman Ken Dey. Dey told the Statesman the company has no immediate plans for the houses, although they may decide to test sustainable crops and other company products.

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