STANLEY, IDAHO - A small Idaho town has been in a battle with tech giant Google.
The city of Stanley says that, until Saturday, the company's map application was broken - and sending visitors away.
Stanley residents thought it may be this year's high water or spring weather that's put a damper on business.
"It's been kind of a little bit of a ghost town," said Riverwear owner Erin Wilson.
But, after taking call after call, the city found out it was something else.
"They call in and ask what's happening with the road," said K-Lene Kuhn, who works at the visitors center.
That's because when you looked up Stanley on Google Maps, what came up was a nearly four-hour route through Sun Valley that essentially goes around the town.
"Due to that, some people might choose not to come," said Wilson.
There’s only one problem, Google was wrong. Their map showed that Highway 21, the most direct route to Stanley from the Boise area, was closed.
However, KTVB drove the highway on Friday with no slow down or stops.
"The highway is open," Stanley Mayor Herb Mumford said.
In the winter, an avalanche did close down the highway, but it has since reopened.
Over the last few months, Mayor Mumford has been working to get the problem fixed on Google Maps.
"Our tolerance is long gone. Our patience is long gone. We're talking about months that have gone by," Mayor Mumford said Friday.
After months of phone calls and emails to Google, Mumford reached his wit’s end.
"I have offered to speak directly with Larry Page, that offer still stands open, he needs to know how far broken his company is," Mumford said. "It's affecting our business in the community hugely."
Businesses like Riverwear along Highway 21, whose sales have dropped by double-digits.
"Between like 10 to 15 percent decrease from past June's," said Wilson.
KTVB did reach out to Google for a response on this story. They have not yet gotten back to us.
As of Saturday afternoon, Google Maps was again directing drivers to Stanley from Boise via Idaho 21, but from some locations, the suggested route had drivers first heading north on Idaho 55, then heading east toward highway 21 on the Banks-Lowman Road. The time difference between taking 21 directly from Boise versus going through Banks on 55 is a few minutes -- both routes involve a drive of just under three hours.
If you have questions about a route, you can head to our website, click on the traffic tab, and check out the road reports.
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