Tuesday, June 21, 2016

June 2016 Business Briefs / Member News Part 3

Costa Family McDonalds Makes Donation to CIC Children
Children In Crisis - Costa McDonaldsThe Costa Family McDonalds presented a $1,500 donation to its “McCafe with a Cause” Charity of the Month, Children in Crisis (CIC).  Every Monday, Costa’s McDonalds donates 50 percent of its coffee proceeds to a Charity of the Month. All of Costa’s 19 stores participate in the program that will continue through 2016. Seen here, Roslyn Snyder, Costa Enterprises’ McDonalds marketing director, presents a check to Ken Hair, CIC president and CEO, along with Diane Huckabone, CIC financial assistant, and Danna Franks, CIC financial director.  

SunQuest Cruises Earns 2016 Tripadvisor Certificate of Excellence
SunQuest Cruises today announced that it has received a Tripadvisor® Certificate of Excellence award. The accolade, which honors hospitality excellence, is given only to establishments that consistently achieve outstanding traveler reviews on TripAdvisor.  
“There is no greater seal of approval than being recognized by one’s customers. Since the TripAdvisor Certificate of Excellence Award is based on customer reviews, this accolade is a remarkable vote of confidence to our business and our continued commitment to excellence,” said James Murray, GM and owner of SunQuest Cruises. 

Early Payment Discount Deadline Approaches
Okaloosa County property owners who have signed up to participate in the Property Tax Installment payment plan through the Tax Collector’s Office have until June 30, to pay their first installment. The Installment Plan divides the annual taxes into four (4) payments – due June, September, December, and March. The Installment Plan provides for 3.3% discount and adds the convenience of spreading out payments instead of one lump sum payment. 

United Way Earns Three-Star Rating From Charity Navigator
The United Way of Okaloosa and Walton Counties received a 3-Star Rating from Charity Navigator, the nation’s largest charity evaluator.  

“The United Way of Okaloosa and Walton Counties is pleased to receive an excellent rating from Charity Navigator," said Rick Owen, president and CEO of the organization. "Fiscal responsibility and transparency is essential to building trust with our donors, agencies, and community and is of primary importance to our organization. The 3-star rating is a reflection of the emphasis that we place on integrity in the performance of the mission at your United Way." 

Emalie Monday Interns for World Impact Real Estate
World Impact Real EstateEmalie Monday is a junior majoring in finance with a concentration of real estate at the University of Arkansas.  She is spending her summer with World Impact Real Estate as a real estate intern, as well as working on getting her real estate license. Monday is 20 years old and was born in Little Rock, Ark.  She moved to Santa Rosa Beach when she was four years old.

A Milestone Year for Keller Williams Emerald Coast Realty
Keller Williams Emerald CoastIn May alone, Keller Williams Emerald Coast (KWEC) closed more units than any other month and agent income exceeded $1.7 million, both stats were the highest in the company’s 16-year history. They also had the highest number of contracts written and listings sold for the month of May, ever. Also in May, the top volumes were achieved by individual agent Brian LoCicero, group Cindy Cole Fine Homes, and team Dawn Burt. Year to date, KWEC holds the top position in both volume and units for all real estate companies in the Emerald Coast Association of Realtors (ECAR) group that covers Okaloosa and Walton counties. It added a new beach office in Navarre, as well as launching a new mobile-optimized website for the KWEC market center and its agents. Seen here, KWEC broker Jeff Adamson (center) presents Brian LoCicero and Cindy Cole awards for their top volumes achieved.

Emerald Coast Children’s Advocacy Center Seeks Volunteers
The Emerald Coast Children’s Advocacy Center (ECCAC) serves young victims of abuse and neglect at two child friendly centers, the Pierce Family Advocacy Center in DeFuniak Springs and the Niceville Children’s Advocacy Center.  A nonprofit organization, ECCAC’s mission is to prevent child abuse and neglect, protect children in Okaloosa and Walton counties, and restore the lives of impacted children. Volunteers are always needed in various capacities at both centers, at community events, and at fundraisers. For more information or to volunteer, contact Chelsea Fox at (850) 830-4162 or chelsea@eccac.org

Hotels Near Destin Rank Among the Best of Their Brand
The Marriott brand is as widespread as it is diverse, featuring franchised properties across the United States, as well as several brands with an international presence. The common thread uniting all Marriott brands is outstanding service and quality. This year, two hotels in Sandestin, Florida, have won Marriott’s highest distinction for brand service. Both the Residence Inn Sandestin® at Grand Boulevard and the Courtyard Sandestin® at Grand Boulevard have won Platinum Circle Awards for their respective brands. Platinum Circle Awards are based on guest satisfaction surveys and are reflective of guest experience and customer service received. As one of Marriott’s highest franchise honors, this award is confirmation of staff, ethics, service and acumen. 

Local Nonprofit Returns from Malawi, Africa
The Sonder ProjectThe Sonder Project recently returned from an educational expedition in “The Warm Heart of Africa,” Malawi. Three members of our local community joined the trek, including Sonder Project board member Travis Meyer, Southeastern Retail Development; Rachel Meyer, a teacher at Freeport High School; and Sarah Hockett, executive director of The Sonder Project. During their visit, the trio managed to visit five remote villages, work on a construction site for a new primary school structure, visit adult literacy classes and learn their importance, meet with the District Education Manager (DEM), and gain knowledge of some of the community initiatives that are helping remote areas break the cycle of poverty, such as goat programs, meal programs for school children, honey bee hives, and more. They also had the opportunity to hear some of the stories of this country and understand the difficulties faced here.

823rd Red Horse Air Force Squadron Help Museum 
Heritage Museum of Northwest FloridaMembers of the 823rd Air Force Squadron at Hurlburt Field volunteered their time and talent to help the Heritage Museum of Northwest Florida with a drainage project in their outdoor “Paradise Gardens” exhibit.   

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

June 2016 Business Briefs / Member News Part 2

Call to Artists for Juried Art Show
The Cultural Arts Alliance (CAA) of Walton County calls all visual artists to apply now through July 8, for the A+ Art Series juried show, "Top of the Class," which will take place Aug. 19 through Nov. 9, at the Bayou Arts Center. "Top of the Class" is an annual exhibition presented by the CAA as a continuing effort of its A+Art Committee's mission to showcase the work of CAA member artists and to enhance the public spaces of Walton County. For more details and to apply, visit www.CulturalArtsAlliance.com/local-arts.

Evander Holyfield Guest Speaker at Steak & Stake Dinner
The Boys & Girls Clubs of the Emerald Coast is hosting its 3rd Annual Steak & Stake Dinner on Sept. 22. Evander Holyfield will be the guest speaker. Tickets are $150 per guest or $250 for a special VIP Reception and Meet & Greet with Mr. Holyfield. For tickets and sponsorship information, contact Rob Engel at (850) 344-7722 or rengel@bgcec.com.

Dr. Julie McNabb to Retire from The Arc of the Emerald Coast
After almost 20 years working devotedly as a chief operations officer and then the last eight as the CEO for The Arc of the Emerald Coast, Julie McNabb is set to retire on Jan. 2, 2017. McNabb joined The Arc of the Emerald Coast after nine years' experience working with people who have developmental and other disabilities. During her time at The Arc of the Emerald Coast, she helped more than 450 people with disabilities and their families live in our community. A product of our local universities, she earned a bachelor's and Masters from Troy State University, and a Doctorate of Education from the University of West Florida.

Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation Announces Artist Change for June 16 Concert
Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation Concerts in the VillageMattie Kelly Arts Foundation (MKAF) announces a change to the Concerts in the Village line up. Instead of The Joe Band on Thursday, June 16, the seventh concert in the nine-show summer music series will showcase Triggerproof. Soon after forming in 2006, Triggerproof was regaled by music lovers as the “best party band of the South.” With a distinct style all its own, this cover band puts pop, rock, and hip-hop through the musical blender to recreate both popular and classic radio friendly hits that offer something for everyone. Doors open at 6 p.m. and the concert is at 7 p.m. For details, visit www.MattieKellyArtsFoundation.org.  

Gulf Coast HVAC, Electrical & Plumbing Company Reveals Refreshed Brand and Logo
Peaden Air ConditioningPeaden recently revealed its new brand look, complete with a refreshed logo and website. The brand development is the result of a months-long strategic organization development process timed to help position Peaden as the leading "comfort solution" contractor across the Gulf Coast region. Along with a new logo, the comprehensive branding campaign features new television and radio spots; print, web and billboard advertising; and marketing collateral including custom photography, brochures, business cards, technician wardrobe and service-van fleet design. To learn more, call (855) 557-7878 or visit www.Peaden.com.
Sam's Club Presents Award to Horizons of Okaloosa County
Arc of the Emerald Coast - Sam's ClubSam's Club in Fort Walton Beach awarded The Arc of the Emerald Coast as its "Business Member of the Year." Sam's Club has and continues to be a huge supporter of this agency through its dedication to service, products, and contributions throughout the year.  As an agency that provides support services to five group homes and three adult training centers in Okaloosa and Santa Rosa counties, the consistent need for food, office supplies, and personal supplies is enormous.  The award was presented at the Annual Team Meeting of the Sam's Club Fort Walton Beach location. Accepting the award on behalf of The Arc of the Emerald Coast is Brian McMahan, director of maintenance. He is seen here with Olen Holston, Sam's Club Fort Walton Beach general manager.

Yagööt health Conscious Yogurt Shop Opens in Destin Commons
YagootFresh since 1977 and based in Cincinnati, Yagööt is about to open its new yogurt shop in Destin Commons next to Chipotle. The public is invited to the official grand opening and ribbon cutting on Thursday, June 30, at 4 p.m. Free samples will be given out from 4 to 5:30 p.m. Yagööt will serve frozen yogurt in a large variety of flavors in bowls, shakes, push pops, parfaits, and to-go pints. Not only are the offerings at Yagööt delicious, they are healthy with active cultures and probiotics. Their toppings are always fresh cut from local suppliers, and the yogurt comes from farmer owned co-ops with hormone free dairies.

The Premier Development Group Raises $5,000 for Special Olympics 
The Premier Property Group is expanding its reach outside of exclusive developments along Florida’s Emerald Coast. The boutique real estate agency recently donated $5,000 to Special Olympics Florida – Walton County, the local chapter of the Special Olympics. During the 4th Annual Field Day for the Special Olympics Florida – Walton County Chapter, The Premier Property Group representatives Janet Murphy, Hannah Martin, Keith Flippo, Barbara Schott, and John Schott presented the $5,000 check to Special Olympics Florida – Walton County Fundraising Chair Mike Schumacher and County Director Damien McNeil.