New search engine launches for Iowa City area

The search engine lists community events, local businesses and insider info

The Local Hub co-creators Sam Johnson and Clark McGuire cut a ceremonial ribbon surrounded by supporters on June 20, 2024, at Fore Fun Events in Tiffin, Iowa. CREDIT PARKER JONES

After moving to Iowa City four years ago, Sam Johnson wanted a way to discover Johnson County in a way that reflected local experience.  

Yesterday marked the official launch of “The Local Hub,” a new search engine created by Ms. Johnson and longtime Iowa City resident Clark McGuire. Hosted in collaboration with Greater Iowa City Inc., the duo held a ribbon-cutting ceremony on June 20 at Fore Fun Events in Tiffin, Iowa. 

The search engine aims to be the go-to source for local business recommendations, community events, and insider tips for the core Iowa City area. 

The idea came to Ms. Johnson when she moved to Iowa City from South Dakota in 2020. Mr. McGuire is a local business owner, and has lived in Iowa City since childhood. The two decided to team up to create The Local Hub. 

“Their mission is to offer a curated guide to Johnson County, serving both lifelong residents and newcomers. They strive to support local businesses by providing them with the exposure they need to thrive fostering a strong, interconnected community where everyone benefits and grows together,” Greater Iowa City Ambassador Mark Colin said at the ceremony. “… You obtained investment not only in your organization, but in our community. We appreciate your support of Greater IC and we wish you much success.” 

Ms. Johnson said when she first moved and wanted to visit local restaurants or other businesses, her Google results frequently showed locations in Cedar Rapids or the Quad Cities, as opposed to just Johnson County. 

Similarly, Mr. McGuire expressed that although some other resources exist to find event listings for Iowa City, there is no single comprehensive website that lists all of the area’s goings-on in one place. Additionally, he said The Local Hub also aims to incorporate rapidly developing nearby areas like North Liberty and Tiffin. 

“We want to do business with people who want to do business with us,” Ms. Johnson said at the event. “Anytime you need to know something about our diverse community, I highly encourage you to come to The Local Hub. When you see someone in the areas that is new, please send them to The Local Hub. It’s not only great for you, but it’s great for everybody that’s in it as well.”