Monday, September 8, 2014

September 2014 Business Briefs / Member News Part 2

Steely is World Impact Real Estate’s July Top Producer
In July, Tracy Steely was the top selling, pending, and closed transactions producer with World Impact Real Estate. A former teacher, Steely will tell you her secret is “she loves helping people.” For more information or to discuss your real estate needs, call Steely at (850) 803-9822.

Volunteers Needed for Festival of the Arts
Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation is seeking volunteers for the 19th Annual Festival of the Arts to be held on Saturday, Oct. 25, and Sunday, Oct. 26, at the Mattie Kelly Cultural Arts Village in Destin. Various shifts are available, including set up and break down, main entry, artist relief, ArtStop children’s tent, and beverage booths. All volunteers are welcome to arrive prior to their assigned shift or after their morning shift to visit the artists and enjoy the festival. Opportunities are available for students looking to donate their time in exchange for community service hours. For more information or to volunteer, contact Festival of the Arts Volunteer Coordinator Kathy Whidden at (850) 376-7391 or email For festival information, visit or call (850) 650-2226.

“The Roosevelts: An Intimate History” airs on WSRE Sept. 14-20
“The Roosevelts: An Intimate History” from celebrated American documentarian Ken Burns kicks off the Public Broadcasting Service fall season primetime lineup airing locally on WSRE, PBS for the Gulf Coast. The 14-hour documentary will air nightly at 7 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 14, through Saturday, Sept. 20, with an encore airing at 9 p.m. For the first time on television, “The Roosevelts: An Intimate History” weaves the stories of Theodore, Franklin, and Eleanor Roosevelt, three members of one of the most prominent and influential families in American politics. 

Visit for more information and to view WSRE’s TV schedules online.

Burnt Pine Golf Club at Sandestin Reopens After Major Renovation
The prestigious Burnt Pine Golf Club at Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort announced it has reopened following a complete greens renovation to the Rees Jones designed course. The four-month project, completed by Southeastern Turf Grass from Augusta, Ga., replaced all 18 green complexes with ultra-dwarf, TifEagle Bermuda grass, plus expanded and restored each to its original size when the course opened in 1994. The project also included strategic tree removal and the enhancement of 18 bunkers spanning multiple holes. For more information on the Burnt Pine Golf Club at Sandestin and the three other courses, or call (866) 91-BEACH.

Barry Earns Certified Public Accountant Designation 
Keith Barry, accounting analyst, Landrum Human Resource Companies, recently earned his license as a Certified Public Accountant. Barry has been with Landrum since 2010. He is responsible for financial statement analysis, workers’ compensation analysis, and budgeting. He holds a Master of Accountancy Degree from the University of West Florida. For more information about Landrum, visit or subscribe to its blog at

Kiwanis Club of South Walton Donates to Children in Crisis
The Kiwanis Club of South Walton recently presented Children in Crisis, Inc. (CIC), a donation of $1,000 to help feed, clothe, and care for the children living at the CIC Children’s Neighborhood. Seen here, Bill Whitney, president of the South Walton Kiwanis, presents a check for $1,000 to Ken Hair, CIC president and CEO. To learn more about Children in Crisis, call (850) 864-4242 or visit

Friday, September 5, 2014

Celebrate BusinessPalooza! on Sept. 9

On Sept. 9, celebrate BusinessPalooza! with us and the following businesses:

All Clear Restoration & Remediation, LLC
Bubba Gump Shrimp Co.
Commons Drive Medical Weight Loss
Complete Signs
Cox Media
Emerald Coast Children's Advocacy Center
Mark Wichern for US Congress
MarkIt Promotions
New Leaf Marketing
New York Life
SunQuest Cruises
Surge Suppression Incorporated
Telly's Auto Repair & Towing Service
White-Wilson Medical Center

BusinessPalooza! is our September Leaders In Business Lunch & Mini-Business Expo. Register by 3 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 5, for your chance to win FREE advertising on

This event takes place at Destin United Methodist Church from 11 a.m. - 1 p.m. Registration is required.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Miller's Ale House of Destin Hosts August Business After Hours & Football Kickoff

Thank you to Miller's Ale House of Destin for hosting our Aug. 28 Business After Hours! The porch served as the perfect setting to enjoy the kickoff of the 2014 college football season.

Check out the event photos here:

We appreciate those who donated door prizes, including the following:
- Gulf Coast Dermatology
- Miller's Ale House of Destin
- New Leaf Marketing
- Pino Gelato
- World Impact Real Estate

Our next Business After Hours will be a Block Party sponsored by Blue Marlin Realty Group and Bric A' Brac on Sept. 25. Find details here.

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

September 2014 Business Briefs / Member News Part 1

Boshamps Hosts Benefit Concert for Local Waterways
On Sept. 20, Boshamps Seafood & Oyster House will host the inaugural Choctawhatchee WATERSHED Music Festival, a benefit concert to promote the health and sustainability of local waterways via the mission and objectives of the Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance (CBA) of Northwest Florida State College. The 8-hour festival will consist of non-stop music from five different artists, all for the wristband price of $20. There will also be a silent auction to raise additional funding for CBA programs, consisting of a BOTE paddle board, an electric guitar signed by the performing artists, and more. For more information about the Choctawhatchee WATERSHED Music Festival and the Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance, please

Three Destin Councilmembers Appointed to Florida League of Cities cCommittees
Destin Councilmembers Sandy Trammell, Prebble Ramswell, and Jim Wood were recently appointed to serve on Florida League of Cities Legislative Policy Committees for 2014-2015. The committees are tasked to discuss issues facing Florida cities that will come before the legislature in the 2015 Session and decide upon policy direction for the Florida League of Cities’ legislative efforts. Trammell will serve on the Energy, Environment and Natural Resources Legislative Policy Committee, Ramswell will serve on the Growth Management and Economic Affairs Legislative Policy Committee, and Wood will serve on the Finance, Taxation, and Personnel Legislative Policy Committee. To read more,

Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation Seeks Artists for 19th Annual Festival of the Arts
The Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation (MKAF) is now accepting applications for the Adult Collaborative Exhibit component of the 19th annual Festival of the Arts, on Oct. 25-26, at the Mattie Kelly Cultural Arts Village in Destin. Artwork should be of an artistic caliber associated with a juried fine art show. Artists selected to show in the Adult Collaborative Exhibit can display and sell up to three pieces of artwork. Judges will award $10,000 in cash prizes to artists in four categories. The competition is open to the first 20 eligible applicants entry fee is $30 per person. The application deadline is Thursday, Sept. 25. To receive an application, contact Deb Nissley at the Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation at (850) 650-2226.

RE/MAX Southern Realty Congratulates July’s Top Earning Agents
RE/MAX Southern Realty congratulates its top earning agents, teams and individuals, who have been awarded with some of RE/MAX’s highest achievements. Claire Gagne, a member of the RE/MAX Southern team since 2000, has been presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award, which honors highly successful agents who have earned more than $3 million in commissions and have completed seven years of service with the company. Less than five percent of the RE/MAX network has achieved this prestigious award. Fellow RE/MAX Southern agent Mandy Cooper has qualified for the RE/MAX 100% Club, which recognizes agents who have earned $100,000 in commissions in the past year. Cooper, a licensed agent since 2003 and a RE/MAX Southern member since 2008, specializes in foreclosures, new construction, and luxury home sales.

For more information about RE/MAX Southern Realty or to reach these agents, visit REMAXSouthern.comor call (800) 879-0309.
Vue on 30A Announces Marcey will Lead Weddings and Events
Vue on 30a announced that Cherryl Marcey has joined the management team to lead weddings and events for 30A’s acclaimed Gulf front dining restaurant. Marcey is known in the hospitality and restaurant industry for her creative and thoughtful approach to hospitality and events. Prior to joining the Santa Rosa Golf & Beach Club, Marcey held management and executive positions in the restaurant and event industry for Sandestin Golf & Beach Resort; Hearty Restaurant located in Chicago, Illinois; Broadway Cellars located in Chicago, Illinois; and more. For more information about Vue on 30a weddings, visit or call (850) 267-1240. To reach Marcey directly, email her at

Emerald Coast Theatre Company Launches Fall Theater Programs 
After a second successful summer season, Emerald Coast Theatre Company (ECTC) continues its mission of providing art education to the Northwest Florida region with three after school/weekend opportunities this fall. Upcoming productions include “Yes, Virginia The Musical” (Saturday Theater Production) and “Alice in Wonderland” (After School Destin Elementary and Butler Elementary School). For details, including dates and tuition, click here.

During the summer, ECTC held four theater camps. Young thespians from 30A to Niceville had their chance to shine on stage. Three production camps and one musical theater camp encompassed the 29 days of educational theater and more than 70 children were involved. For more information on Emerald Coast Theatre Company, call (850) 687-1637 email or visit Find ECTC on Facebook at ECTheatreCompany.

Local Realtor Named as a Top 10 Finalist for National Community Service Award
Nine years ago, Tricia Carlisle-Northcutt’s life changed when she met a young boy named Tyler at an after-school program at Point Washington United Methodist Church in Santa Rosa Beach. He was in desperate need of dental and orthodontics care, and she and other volunteers joined together to provide it. After helping Tyler, Carlisle-Northcutt and other members of the church prayer group realized there were many other kids just like Tyler who needed medical and dental care. Before long, the group led by Carlisle-Northcutt had founded a faith-based non-profit, Children’s Volunteer Health Network, to help meet the needs of children throughout Okaloosa and Walton counties who needed assistance. Ten years later, the foundation has grown and provides medical, dental, mental, and vision care to children in need. It runs a stand-alone dental clinic and a dental bus to meet the dental needs of children throughout the community. Since its inception, CVHN has treated more than 7,000 children and provided 50,000 free procedures a value or $3.7 million. 

Carlisle-Northcutt, a realtor and member of the Emerald Coast Association of Realtors, was recently chosen as one of 10 national finalists for Realtor Magazine’s Good Neighbor Awards. The Good Neighbor Awards recognize Realtors who help build up and enrich the lives of the people in their communities through volunteerism. The top five will be announced in October and will be invited to the 2014 Realtors Conference & Expo in New Orleans, where they will each be awarded with a $10,000 grant and national exposure for their charity.

Tommy Bahama Supports Children in Crisis for 7th Year
For the seventh year, Tommy Bahama Tropical CafĂ© will help sponsor the Sugar Sands Charity Golf Classic benefiting the kids of Children in Crisis, Inc (CIC). The tournament will be held at Kelly Plantation Golf Course on Columbus Day, Oct. 13. On the evening prior to the tournament, Tommy Bahama will host the golfers and guest to an awesome pre-registration party at the Grand Boulevard Sandestin location. Seen here, Ken Hair, CIC president and CEO, presents Mario Mardones, Tommy Bahama’s general manager, with a memento to thank the restaurant for its support. For more information,

Hilton Sandestin Beach Partners with Warrior Beach Retreat 2014 to Host Wives of Wounded Warriors 
Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort & Spa is partnering with Warrior Beach Retreat for part of the organization’s annual, week-long retreat. On Sept. 19, Hilton Sandestin will host a group of 25 women that consists of wounded warriors, wounded warrior spouses, and caregivers, providing breakfast and lunch on property, as well as spa treatments at Serenity by the sea Spa. For more information, visit For more information about Hilton Sandestin Beach, or call (850) 267-9500.

ResortQuest Real Estate® Welcomes New Sales Associates 
ResortQuest Real Estate® has welcomed eight REALTORS® in recent months to its team of more than 100 sales associates throughout Northwest Florida. Alysa Riddle joined the company’s Perdido Key team; Brenda Coffee joined the Fort Walton Beach team; Laura Rich, Tina Kasten, and Jay Martin joined the Destin team; Janet Hays and Liz Nicolucci joined the Santa Rosa Beach team; and Bridgette Johnson joined the 30A East team. For the latest information on real estate in the resort and residential markets throughout Northwest Florida or to find contact information for these news associates, visit or

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

August 2014 Business Briefs / Member News Part 4

First Florida Bank Promotes Brett Wilson to Executive Vice President 
First Florida Bank promoted Brett Wilson to executive vice president. Wilson has more than 20 years’ experience in the banking industry and has been with First Florida Bank since the Bank’s inception in 2006. As a key figure in the development of the Bank’s lending department, Wilson served as the Bank’s Senior Lending Officer since 2009 with expertise in all loan products. For more information about First Florida Bank, please visit or call (850) 269-1201.

Wyndham Vacation Rentals® Participates as Presenting Sponsor of Destin Beer Festival
Wyndham Vacation Rentals® announced that ResortQuest® by Wyndham Vacation Rentals will serve as the presenting sponsor of the Destin Beer Festival taking place on Sept. 27, at Chan’s Wine World at the Paradise Key shopping center in Destin. The 5th Annual Destin Beer Festival will feature high-end craft and microbrewery beer, as well as craft spirits, paired with culinary stations from local restaurants. As the presenting sponsor of the event, ResortQuest by Wyndham Vacation Rentals is offering discounted beach lodging plus complimentary tickets to the event. One-bedroom rates start at $115 per night and include two general admission tickets. Two-bedroom rates start at $170 per night and include four general admission tickets. For additional information, visit Proceeds from this year's event benefit Destin Charity Wine Auction Foundation (DCWAF), which raises funds for children in need in Northwest Florida. 

Okaloosa County Celebrates its Centennial in 2015 – Want to get involved?
A Centennial Committee has been formed to begin the conversation about how to celebrate Okaloosa County’s 100-year existence in 2015. A few ideas the Centennial Committee is planning include a geocaching tour, a passport game to discover a hundred things to do and see in Okaloosa County, and a map with parks, places and events. Any business interested in volunteering the time to sell ads, produce and print this map, please contact by Sept. 1.

The committee consists of citizens in government, chambers of commerce, historical museums, military members and more, who have formed subcommittees to set goals and promote the history and celebrate what is great about Okaloosa. We welcome community input, ideas and participation. What would you like to do in your business, place of work, or community to highlight or celebrate the Centennial? 

Okaloosa County was the 52nd county created by the Florida Legislature, and became a county on Sept. 7, 1915, following a referendum by voters. The county was formed from portions of Santa Rosa and Walton Counties. 

Buy Tickets Now for Art of Giving
Summer House Lifestyle and Southern Fashion House present a benefit for Food for Thought called the Art of Giving on Sept. 18. Enjoy this auction of artwork. Cost is $50. Event takes place at Churchill Oaks Clubhouse in Santa Rosa Beach. Buy tickets here.

Volunteers Needed for 30A 10K
As one of the benefiting charities of this year's 30A 10K, Shelter House must provide volunteers for the run. That's where you come in! 

The 30A 10K takes place on Thanksgiving Day in Rosemary Beach. What better way and what better day to give back? We will need helpers the morning of the race, Nov. 27, as well as a few volunteers to help with packet pick up the day before the run. If you want to sign up or get more information about volunteering, please contact volunteer coordinator Carrie Tabor at (850) 243-1201 or To register for the run, visit

Locally Owned Southern Management Group Reaches 1,000 Properties
Southern Residential Leasing and Pointe South Residential Leasing, divisions of the locally owned and operated company Southern Management Group, now manage more than 1,000 properties on their Gulf Coast long term rental programs. As part of this expansion, Southern welcomes Joe Casal as the residential leasing general manager. Casal, a Florida native with more than 25 years’ experience, will oversee all aspects of the long term rental programs. For more information about Southern, visit

Annual Tin Cup Classic Benefits Destin Fishing & History Museum
Sponsored by AJ’s Seafood & Oyster Bar, the Annual Tin Cup Classic Golf Tournament will be held Sept. 22, at Emerald Bay Golf Course. Four man teams are $400 and hole sponsorship is $200. All entries include green fees, cart, beverages, and food. Registration is 11 a.m., with a noon shotgun start. The tournament is a four person team scramble, and team slots are limited. The awards party begins at 6 p.m. Please contact AJs at (850) 837-6457 to reserve your spot. For more information, email

Santa Rosa Golf & Beach Club to Participate in 8th Annual Patriot Golf Day
Santa Rosa Golf & Beach Club will participate in the 8th Annual Patriot Golf Day, the nation’s largest grass-roots golf fundraiser benefiting the Folds of Honor Foundation. Beginning Aug. 25 – Sept. 1, Santa Rosa Golf & Beach Club is offering a special $40 rate for military men, women, and their families. During this time, special rates will also be posted to the general public with a portion of the proceeds to benefit the Folds of Honor Foundation. Golfers are also encouraged to add a dollar or more to their green fees to fund the foundation. To book a tee time, visit or call the Santa Rosa Pro Shop at (850) 267-2229. To learn more about Patriot Golf Day, visit

Meet Nithya – World Impact’s Sponsored Nursing Student
As a part of World Impact Real Estate’s giving a portion of each transaction, it has sponsored a nursing student, Nithya. She is 25 years old and comes from a poor village family. Her parents were struggling to pay for her education. Nithya attends The Sharon School of Nursing, which was established in June of 1999 as an offshoot of the Sharon Cancer Center and General Hospital. The objective of this school is to provide quality training to young girls in the field of Nursing and Community Health. This two-year program is designed as an in-service training, giving the girls an opportunity to be fully equipped to meet the challenges in the field. It provides not only technical training, but also equips them to know and grow more in their service to others. When Nithya completes her training, she will have a Diploma in Health Assistant.

Labor Day Sale at Silver Sands Premium Outlets 
On Aug. 29 – Sept. 1, shop the annual Labor Day Sale at Silver Sands Premium Outlets and enjoy extended shopping hours and extra discounts on top of the center's savings of 25%-65% every day. For details, visit

Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort & Spa Adds New Regional Sales Manager
Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort & Spa announced the appointment of Elizabeth Brock as the resort’s newest regional sales manager. Based in Nashville, Tenn., Brock will direct the resort’s sales efforts in the Kentucky and Tennessee markets primarily, as well as Alabama corporate meetings. With nearly a decade of experience in the hospitality industry, Brock came to Hilton Sandestin Beach from Sheraton Nashville Downtown, where she worked as a corporate sales manager, but also previously held positions at the Wynfrey Hotel in Birmingham and the Nashville Marriott at Vanderbilt University. For more information about the Hilton Sandestin, visit the new website or call (850) 267-9500.

Sandestin Named #1 Hotel in Destin by U.S. News & World Report
Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort, voted the #1 Resort on Florida’s Emerald Coast, announced it has been ranked #1 by U.S. News & World Report. U.S. News & World Report ranked Sandestin the #1 Hotel in Destin in its 2014 rankings. 

“We've ranked the top hotels in Destin based on an unbiased analysis of awards, expert recommendations and user ratings,” U.S. News & World Report stated. “Out of 144 hotels, one property — Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort — stands out for exceptional quality.”

For more information on the property, visit or call (866) 91-BEACH.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Chamber's August TV Show Features Destin Commons, Sandestin Retail, and The Taylor Haugen Foundation

During August, the Destin Area Chamber of Commerce's television show featured Destin Commons, Sandestin Retail, and The Taylor Haugen Foundation. To learn more about these organizations, visit our YouTube channel at

The show airs on Cox Channel 6 in Okaloosa County on the following days:
Wednesdays, at 9:30 a.m.
Thursdays, at 7:30 p.m.
Sundays, at 8:30 p.m.

Mondays, at 7:30 p.m.

It is also available on Cox OnDemand.

A feature on our television show is a free benefit of membership in the Destin Area Chamber of Commerce.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Chairman's Message: What is the Secret Word?

Hello Members:

The last days of summer are upon us.  Tourists are going back home, no doubt with a little sand in their shoes and envy in their hearts for those of us that get to live here all year.  I have met so many people vacationing here and most, not all but most, tell me of their plans to get down here full-time.  Sure some are planning to move here after they retire, but the majority plan/need to work, which highlights the need for economic diversity.  Understand that your Chamber always welcomes and wants to hear your ideas regarding this matter.  Understand too that we are doing what we can with what we have right now to help our area become more diversified.

How?  Currently the emphasis is on getting EDATE passed.  EDATE, the Economic Development Ad Valorem Tax Exemption, is important because it will allow Okaloosa County Commissioners and the Destin City Council to grant exemptions for new AND expanding business that relocate to or expand in our area IF certain requirements are met.  Helping to entice businesses to come here or expand here, employing locals, to me is a giant step in the right direction.  So please, vote in favor of EDATE when you vote this August.  I have it on very good authority that you can only vote once - but once should be enough if EVERYONE does it! 

What else?  Paddleat the Porch was a success.  We had just over 100 participants paddling in the one, three, and six mile races.  I would love to tell you I won, or even participated, in one of those races, but I did not.

Instead I roamed around talking with our sponsors (thank you, Thank You, THANK YOU), observers, and the participants.  The Back Porch, our location sponsor, was the perfect location for the event this year (as it was for the previous two years).  Your Board was represented there, as were the Chamber's Ambassadors.   While it is obvious and goes without saying, I am going to say it again and again, we absolutely could not have put on this event without the help of the VOLUNTEERS. The Chamber staff, Suzy, Elizabeth, Dena, and our new membership consultant Jacqui were their usual organized, enthusiastic, efficient, happy selves.  Shane had fun, and yes, he was there from beginning to end - in the sun mostly, so if you see him, you may want to douse him with some cold water because he may still be a little warm.  Oh no, have I started something?

If you missed Paddle at the Porch, please join us for Bourbon on the Bay on Nov. 13.  On second thought, even if you came to Paddle at the Porch, come join us again - there really is no limit to the number of events you can attend, really. Some new drinks will be offered.  It should be a fun event once again . . . but we need YOU to make it a success.  YOU make this Chamber the success that it is, we want to hear from YOU and see YOU at our events. 

Next time I will tell you about the TCPI, Tri-County Partnership Initiative, and the good things coming out of it.   Since it is still in its infancy, I will wait just a bit longer so I can give it the props it no doubt will deserve.  Also, coming up (does this sound like a commercial or what?), traffic news - what will the Council decide to do about that traffic issue near Marler street?  I have learned that so much goes into the decision to put in a fully signalized traffic light versus a signalized cross-walk.  No matter the decision, know that your Chamber supports getting pedestrians across Highway 98 safely.  We will leave it to the experts to make the decision as to how that can be done.

As always, thank you for reading, thank you for being a member and the secret word is "EDATE." If you see me or any other Board member, staff, or yes, even Shane, say it and we will know you read this BLOG!!

Best to YOU and YOURS,

Amy Perry
2014 Destin Area Chamber Chairman
Pleat, Perry & Ritchie, P.A.