Its founder, Michael Seifert, 26, told FOX Business on Wednesday the idea came out of the realization that millions of Americans want to spend money on businesses that align with their values but don’t know where those places are.
"We have all felt this desire to spend money in alignment with our values. But a real difficulty (is) finding out the local businesses that do love freedom, love our country and are run and operated by people that want to see a freedom-filled future in our country," Seifert said. "And so, the app was born out of a desire to create that solution."
Based in Carlsbad, Calif., PublicSq. launched Oct. 1. Since then, more than 25,000 people have downloaded the app, and over 1,000 businesses have signed up to be included in its directory.
In addition to the directory, the app features a job board where people who have been fired for their medical status can find an employer who is – as Seifert puts it – "freedom-loving."
Although PublicSq. is only available for now in California, Seifert says he and his team are working on making it available nationwide – perhaps as soon as the end of this month.
"We’ve got waiting lists in other states of up to hundreds of different businesses that are waiting to join. So, we’ve basically compiled lists in every different state, Seifert said. "For example, we’ve got over 300 businesses on the waitlist just in Illinois."
Business owners who have used the app told FOX Business PublicSq. made them realize they were not alone in their fight against vaccine mandates.
"A lot of times if you do this, you feel like you’re by yourself. You feel like you’re the only one," David Chiddick, owner of Koffie Co in Escondido, California, told FOX Business. "What PublicSq. has done is connected more consumers with us who love what we do and love what we stand for. But it’s also surrounded us with a community of businesses that are the same."
David Williams, founder of LocalHub, a coworking space in Escondido, said there are many like-minded business owners who feel the media is not adequately showing their point of view.
"Having a group of people saying, ‘Hey, you’re not crazy for feeling this way,’ this is actually what we see as the right way to move forward," Williams said. "And so having people who are actually on our side, wanting to work with us, it’s been a game-changer."
Orion Ruckle, president of Ruckle Construction, Inc., told FOX Business that although he does not hire exclusively through the app’s jobs feature, it has been a great resource for networking with people who are on the same page about vaccine mandates.
"I don’t discriminate against anybody," Ruckle said, "but it’s a great resource for somebody who is like-minded."