BY DILAN PATEL
Substitute teacher and cartographer Barak Laub has created and released a free app called Carmel Fun that displays restaurants, shops, sites and events around Carmel.
The app shows various businesses in downtown Carmel, how to contact each of them and hours, addresses and various facts about the locations. When you open the app it shows various categories: food and drink, shopping, services, explore, galleries, hotels and weather. Under each section, the app divides the categories up further, showing various shops and information about them.
“I had an idea along these lines for quite a while, and there is a guy I am working with based out of [Los Angeles],” Laub says. “Originally I thought of doing a really basic app, just to have something better than nothing, but working with this guy that I have to know for a few years, we ended up pushing together a really solid idea.”
Laub and his father have been creating a map of Carmel for about 20 years, and he decided to expand it to include downtown shops for the app.
“I wanted to provide a platform that shows the options that are available to people such as shopping to eating out,” Laub says. “As far as I know it is not done anywhere else.”
At the moment Carmel Fun does not include reviews, as Laub believes that they are not an honest way to understand a shop or experience and there are often fake or false reviews that can affect whether or not a person goes to a restaurant. He thinks it is better to give all the information to the user and have them decide on whether or not to go to a certain place.
“The people who have this app will bring a younger, techier crowd. It will show more options, and people who leave Carmel with this app and go back home will be able to see what is going on and bring people back,” Laub explains. “I want to bring people into Carmel. I want to have them staying in Carmel hotels and Carmel restaurants.”
Laub knows the beauty of Carmel personally. Whether it be hanging out at Devendorf Park, walking along the beaches or eating downtown, Carmel has a beauty that is unique.
“I am paying for all of this all out of pocket,” Laub says. “So what I decided to do was to eat all of the costs, at least in the first year, so it has all come out of my personal savings. I have spent more on this app than the car that I am driving right now.”
The CHS grad decided that raising the amount he charges for business to be on the Carmel map would cause some shops to not be on Carmel Fun, and he want as many people on the app as possible.
“I’m from Carmel. I grew up in Carmel Valley. I went to Carmel High. Carmel really matters to me, and I want to get more business here,” Laub emphasizes. “I currently make the Carmel map. I have been doing that for about five to six years, and everywhere on the map is on the app.”
Laub wants to continue to expand on his app in the coming months, planning on adding more places such as Carmel Valley and Big Sur because he believes that they need more exposure. He does not plan to add Monterey or Seaside because he wants to bring people into Carmel specifically.
The Carmel Fun app can be downloaded on the App Store. Visit the website at CarmelFun.com to explore Carmel further.