Thursday, October 13, 2016

October 2016 Business Briefs / Member News Part 1

Destin Commons Wins Landscaping Award
Destin Commons - Trees DestinDestin Commons was the proud recipient of the inaugural “Best Landscaping Award” given by Trees Destin and the Destin Chamber of Commerce. BrightView is responsible for the landscaping at Destin Commons. They uphold stringent guidelines as directed by the Center’s green initiatives by constantly upgrading and changing plant materials, trimming, and keeping in the go-green movement by using recycled water for irrigation. Dr. Allen French (left), founder of Trees Destin, presents Best Landscaping award to Bob Perry, GM of Destin Commons.

Henderson Beach Resort Announces Opening Date
The Henderson Beach ResortHenderson Beach Resort is slated to open its doors in Destin on Nov. 17, 2016. Located along one of America’s top beaches in Destin and also adjacent to the 208-acre Henderson Beach State Park, Henderson Beach Resort is one of the first luxury resorts to open along Florida’s Gulf Coast in a generation. The family-friendly resort features a grand anchor hotel appropriately called The Henderson, which features 170 spacious guestrooms and suites, a nature-inspired spa, Gulf-to-table cuisine, lounging bar with a panoramic Gulf views, two refreshing swimming pools, daily recreation activities, children’s programs and 30,000 square feet of flexible indoor/outdoor event space and private beach access.

Children in Crisis Opens New Foster Home
Children In CrisisChildren in Crisis (CIC) cut the ribbon on its 5th new foster home to honor the life of Ty Autry Pennington. It is located at the CIC Children’s Neighborhood in Fort Walton Beach.  More than 200 community leaders and supporters were in attendance to witness yet another significant milestone in CIC’s development. The new facility provides a home to 12 foster children and keeps sibling families of brothers and sisters together. Construction of the home was made possible through a donation from Bill and Bobbi Pennington and Brian and Kim Pennington. Seen here are the CIC Board of Directors, including John Wesley, Loyal Weaver, Dr. Lee Hale, Don Litke, Marni Roake, CIC President and CEO Ken Hair, Kitty Johnson, Mary Jane Ross, Sheila Campbell, JoAnne Connell, Founder Sharilyn Darnell, Hu Ross, and Eileen Arpke.

Emerald Coast Realtors Host Veterans Fishing Trip
Emerald Coast Association of RealtorsCombat wounded veterans from as far as Tennessee and Mississippi spent Sept. 17  fishing and feasting as part of the Emerald Coast Association of Realtors® Fourth Annual Soldiers on the Water event. The event gave more than 115 military men and women, injured in the line of duty, a day of deep-sea fishing on the Gulf.  The soldiers weathered early morning showers and pesky dolphins to catch their fish, but they all returned in good spirits. The veterans ended their day with a fish fry and the announcement of the day’s fishing tournament prize winners at Brotula’s Seafood House and Steamer.  

2016 Festival Welcomes 31 New Artists
Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation (MKAF) celebrates the cultural arts by enhancing the offerings of its annual Festival of the Arts set for Oct. 29–30, at the scenic MKAF Cultural Arts Village in Destin. One of the Southeast's premier art festivals, the two-day signature event features exhibits of more than 100 artists from 10 states (and one from Europe) showcasing a diverse palette of artistic styles in 15 different art mediums. This year, the festival welcomes guest artist A.J. Brown, a second generation Florida Highwayman from Fort Pierce, Fla. 

Area Non-Profit Supports Local Veterans and Their Families
The Panhandle Warrior Partnership’s (PWP) mission is to empower veterans of Northwest Florida through a holistic program of community collaboration designed to connect veterans and their families to the local community through benefits, services, education, jobs, and housing. In the last year PWP reached more than 5,000 veterans and their families in Northwest Florida, established a network of more than 160 organizations dedicated to supporting our local veterans and their families, aided in housing 86 homeless veterans, assisted in securing employment for 533 unemployed veterans, enrolled 3152 Veterans in E-Benefits and educated them on the services available, registered 945 veterans for education that are on track to graduate, and assisted more than 1,300 veterans in securing VA healthcare.

ECCAC Wins for Community Service at Southeast Building Conference 35th Annual Aurora Awards 
Emerald Coast Children's Advocacy CenterTerry Jones, owner of Compass Builders, and Allen Ray McGinnis, architect, recently accepted a distinctive Judges Special Award of Excellence at the 35th Annual Aurora Awards at the Southeast Building Conference (SEBC) in Kissimmee, Fla. The Grand Aurora award was for their community service work for the recently completed 15,000-square-foot Pierce Family Children’s Advocacy Center in DeFuniak Springs. Jones and McGinnis, along with Jones’ wife, Cathy, owner of Interiors by Cathy Jones, donated all their time and expertise to design, build, and do the interior design of the facility. The Pierce Family Center is a part of the Emerald Coast Children’s Advocacy Center (ECCAC). Seen here, Les Porterfield, Cathy Jones, Julie Hurst, and Terry Jones accept the award.

City of Destin Receives Financial Reporting Award 21 Years in a Row
The City of Destin has been awarded the Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting by the Government Finance Officers Association of the United States and Canada (GFOA) for its comprehensive annual financial report (CAFR) for the fiscal year ending Sept. 30, 2015. This is the 21st year in a row the city has received the Certificate of Achievement. It is the highest form of recognition in the area of government accounting and financial reporting, and its attainment represents a significant accomplishment by a government and its management.

Mopar Car Show helps Children in Crisis
Children In CrisisHundreds of community car enthusiasts attended the recent “Mopar Car Show” held at Santa Rosa Mall in Mary Esther.  The event was a unique opportunity to relax and have a little fun, while raising funds to help feed and clothe the children living at the Children In Crisis (CIC) Neighborhood. Seen here, Ken Hair, CIC president and CEO, receives a check for $1,316 from Brian Jones, Mopar Car Show coordinator. 

CartoBlue Announces Technology Partnership and Integration with CubiCasa for Floor Plan Creation
Experts in interactive marketing solutions, including floor plans, maps, virtual tours, and renderings, CartoBlue has announced a strategic partnership with Finnish company CubiCasa to provide clients with an easy way to create interactive floor plans. CubiCasa is a technology and design company that provides the real estate market with clean, marketable 2D floor plans. The company takes sketches of floor plans and creates aesthetically appealing designs in a digital format the next business day. CartoBlue boasts state-of-the-art technology that optimizes the floor plans created by CubiCasa by making them interactive with the addition of icons. When hovered over, these icons display a picture or video and description of that specific room. In addition to the interactive icons, CartoBlue's floor plans feature room labels and furnishings that give guests and buyers a true feeling of how the property is laid out.

John Moran is Keller Williams’ Mover, Shaker & Dealmaker 
Keller Williams Realty Emerald CoastEach month, Keller Williams Realty Emerald Coast (KWEC) selects a Mover, Shaker & Dealmaker based on one of their agent’s successes. September revealed John Moran, who heads up his At The Beach Team. Moran speaks to an all agent KWEC monthly meeting where attendees are given the opportunity to ask questions and engage in the learning experience. That segment is filmed and recorded to a podcast that is shared on KWEC’s blog and social media outlets. Last year, Real Trends national publication recognized Moran and his group as one of the Top 1000 teams in America. Last month alone, he and his team achieved more than $4 million sales with 10.3  closed transactions. Year to date, they have closed sixty-six deals and have seventy-three deals pending. 

Today’s Boutique Celebrates 35th Anniversary with Month Long Celebration in October  
Today’s Boutique recently announced its 35th anniversary in the community. The boutique will mark this milestone with a month-long series of celebratory events, promotions and fundraising efforts in October. Owners Jim and Kim Dettle opened Today’s Boutique in 1981, and it was an early pioneer for Destin’s unique fashion scene. It quickly evolved into an upscale, premier boutique for women, with an eclectic mix of fashions, ranging from Joseph Ribkoff, Free People, Comfy USA, Virgins Saints & Angels, Hobo, and Mary Frances to name a few. Today’s Boutique also showcases many jewelry designers both local and nationally branded, with exciting trunk shows, as well as Sip and Shop events. Follow for details on the celebration.
Okaloosa Arts Alliance Announces Board of Directors for 2016-17
The Okaloosa Arts Alliance (OAA) announces the Board of Directors for 2016-2017. The Executive Board of Directors are Bill Head, president and chair of the volunteer committee; Ken Hair of Children in Crisis, vice president; Susan Kneller, treasurer and chair of the OAA grants committee; and Becky Belcher of the Arts & Design Society. Board members are Keri Woods with Pyramid Inc., Nellie Bogar with the Youth Village, Demetrius Fuller with Sinfonia Gulf Coast, Ursel Behnken with the German Club, Jeanette Shires with the Mattie Kelly Arts Center of NWF State College and NWFL Symphony Guild, Chris Manson with the Beachcomber, Jean Starkey with Stage Crafters, Gayle Vann (chair of the events committee), author James K Baughman, Sr., and Bill Johnston with the Emerald Coast Pipes & Drums. 

Keefe, Anchors & Gordon Attorney Sworn Into Bar
Keefe, Anchors & GordonIn a recent ceremony, in the Honorable T. Patt Maney’s courtroom, Keefe,
Anchors & Gordon
 attorney Kia Johnson was sworn in as the newest member of the Florida Bar.
Johnson was joined by her father, aunt, and grandmother, along with other attorneys from the firm. Born and raised in Pensacola, Johnson has strong ties to Northwest Florida. After graduating magna cum laude from the University of West Florida, Johnson attended the University of Florida’s Levin College of Law, where she earned her juris doctor in May 2016. Johnson passed the bar exam earlier in September.

Local Named Chair of Statewide Association
The Okaloosa County Tourist Development Council is thrilled to announce that Jim Trifilio, coastal management coordinator, was recently named chair of the Florida Shore & Beach Preservation Association (FSBPA). Trifilio has worked with the Emerald Coast Convention & Visitors Bureau (ECCVB) for over a decade and been a longtime member of FSBPA’s Officers and Directors, most recently serving as vice-chair. He remains unwavering in his commitment to the restoration, sustainability, and natural beauty of the Heart of Florida’s Emerald Coast. This newly appointed seat positions Trifilio to further enrich the community and beaches of Okaloosa County, as well as all of Florida. 

Local Named Member of Marketing Committee
The Okaloosa County Tourist Development Council is thrilled to announce that Erika Zambello, marine economic and tourist development resource coordinator, was recently named a member of the Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance’s new marketing committee. She remains passionate about preserving and enhancing the natural beauty of the Heart of Florida’s Emerald Coast, as well as marketing ecotourism opportunities to a national and global audience. 

Hidden Dunes Among “Top 50 Tennis Resorts” Again
Hidden Dunes Beach & Tennis Resort was named a “Silver Medal Resort,” by Tennis Resorts Online, ranking the premier resort among the “Top 50 Tennis Resorts” for the fifth consecutive year. Located in Miramar Beach, one mile east of Silver Sands Premium Outlets, Hidden Dunes Beach & Tennis Resort features six championship clay courts. Nestled among the oaks, the world-class Tennis Center consistently receives high marks for overall tennis experience, tennis staff, and tennis instruction. Additionally, the staff’s like-level game matching is extremely popular with resort players. 

Calling Area Businesses and Non-profits for Halloween Trunk or Treat at LuLu’s
LuLu’s is seeking area non-profits, charities, and local businesses who would like to participate in Trunk or Treat at LuLu’s 2nd BooLu's Halloween festivities on Oct. 29.  As a part of the kids’ trick-or-treating activities, participants can set up a display in the trunk of their car to spread the word about their organization and hand out candy to the trick or treating kids on the grounds of the restaurant from 3 – 7 p.m. Participants provide their own candy and all Trunk or Treat participants will receive a $25 LuLu’s gift card per trunk, with the winner of the best decorated trunk receiving a $150 LuLu’s gift card. To register to be a Trunk or Treat participating organization, call 850-710-LULU (5858), or email Mike Butler at    

Nine-year Old Donates Bikes to Children In Crisis
Children In CrisisNine-year old Marlee Green has learned to be charitable at an early age.  During her recent birthday party, she decided to have a fundraiser to purchase bikes for the children living at theChildren In Crisis (CIC) Neighborhood.  She asked her guests to bring a donation or gift card so she could purchase bikes instead of toys for her birthday.  She also started a gift card campaign in her neighborhood to help.  She raised more than $300. Seen here, Ken Hair, CIC president and CEO, receives the donation from Green.

Emerald Coast Theatre Company Brings Broadway to Grand Boulevard
Emerald Coast Theatre Company launches its 2016/17 season with an intriguing look into the multi-universe theory.  Author Nick Payne’s romantic journey, Constellations, is a two-character drama recently performed on Broadway by Jake Gyllenhaal and Ruth Wilson. Constellations will keep your wheels turning as the boundaries of our world are questioned.  Can one word alter the course of your life? Through a dizzying fugue of vignettes, audiences watch as Marianne and Roland’s relationship unfolds across time and space, with each variation sending their relationship on an entirely new trajectory. For more information and ticket sales for this show and the entire season, visit or call (850) 684-0323.

Emerald Coast Title Services Receives Best Practices Certification
Emerald Coast Title Services (ECTS) has been certified as compliant with American Land Title Association’s (ALTA) Title Insurance and Settlement Company Best Practices by an independent third-party firm.

“We clearly understand the importance of becoming compliant with ALTA Best Practices and, as a title company, our agency takes compliance seriously. We could have elected to have a review only or an agreed upon procedure engagement but those are lower levels of assurance. Since our commitment is to go above and beyond, we elected to take the higher step of putting ourselves through a full examination,” said Dion Moniz, ECTS president.

Monday, October 3, 2016

From Wigs & Fiber Optic Networks to 3D Maps & Ice Cream, Destin Chamber Welcomes Newest Members

On Aug. 30, new members were introduced to the Chamber, its Board Members, and staff at a new member reception.  We wanted to give a shout out to those who attended and shared with us a little about their businesses.  Check out those new members below:

For more than 130 years, Beggs & Lane - Destin has represented a broad and diverse client base, including major corporations, businesses, professionals, non-profit organizations, and individuals. Our attorneys serve clients in many areas of law, including estate planning, real estate and construction, financial services, and all aspects of litigation. Our diverse practice offers the flexibility and resources to address most any legal issue that a client may face. Our attorneys recognize that no two clients are the same, and are committed to understanding and responding to the individual objectives of each client. Please call (850) 650-4747 or visit

Ben & Jerry’s offers ice cream, sundaes, shakes, smoothies, and ice cream. Visit the new store in The Market Shops, located at 9375 Emerald Coast Pkwy., in Miramar Beach. Hours of operation are Monday through Saturday, from 11 a.m. – 10 p.m., and Sunday, from 11 a.m. – 9 p.m. For details, call (850) 460-8884 or visit

CartoBlue is a high-end architectural rendering and illustration service company. For interactive maps, 2D and 3D floor plans, drone videography, resort and community maps, pre-build renderings, 3D walk-throughs, and more, visit or call (800) 838-4675.

Destin Beach Photography Company offers beach, wedding, and event photos, as well as engagement, senior, maternity, and school athletic portraits. It also offers complete videography services and has a team of expert designers, graphic artists, and certified photographers. Visit its new studio at 4012 W. Commons Dr. Ste. 226C, in Destin’s Henderson Beach Office Park. For details, call (850) 424-3277 or visit

First Watch, The Daytime Cafe specializes in award-winning, made-to-order breakfast, brunch, and lunch. A recipient of more than 200 “Best Breakfast” and “Best Brunch” accolades, First Watch offers traditional favorites, such as omelets, pancakes, sandwiches, and salads, and unique specialty items, like Quinoa Power Bowls, Avocado Toast, and the Chickichanga. First Watch was named a 2015 Top Consumer Pick by Nation’s Restaurant News and a 2014 Top Franchise Value by FSR Magazine. Our Destin First Watch location is locally owned.  For more information, visit or visit (850) 640-9800. It is located in the Paradise Key Shopping Center at 4427 Commons Dr. E.

With locations inside the The Palms of Destin Resort & Conference Center and the Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort, Med-Spa of Destin & Sandestin offers a wide range of therapies and treatments focused on your health and skin care, including massage, facials, waxing, Botox, Juvaderm, and much more. For details, call (850) 267-6727 for the Sandestin location or (850) 351-0600 for the Palms location or visit

Reed Music, LLC, is a full service entertainment company, performing and promoting small groups to those as large as the Temptations, corporate and private parties, alike. For details, call (850) 399-1934.

Southern Light designs, constructs, and operates more than 6,000 route miles of fiber optic networks in the Southeast, delivering large bandwidth solutions to telecommunications carriers, governmental agencies, and enterprise customers. We provide high resiliency Internet and Ethernet connections to the most demanding customers using our dense last-mile fiber optic networks. For details, please call (334) 618-0081 or visit

From machines, tools, and supplies to fabric and vinyl, The Sewing Corner offers all your design and product needs for sewing, quilting, embroidery, serging, and more. Training is available. Visit The Sewing Corner at 73 Business Centre Dr., in Miramar Beach. For details, please call (850) 424-7779 or visit

Wigs by Cheyenne is a full custom wig and hairpiece distributor and salon. For details, call (850) 650-3342 or visit

You may learn about these businesses and all of our Chamber members in our online Business Directory. For details about Chamber membership, please call (850) 837-6241.