Friday, February 28, 2014

Chamber Welcomes New Members During February Reception

On Feb. 18, 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:

Blue Heron Watersports, LLC, is located on the Destin Harbor just five minutes from Crab Island. We provide top of the line pontoon boats, kayaks, and stand up paddle boards for those who want to spend time dolphin watching, snorkeling, swimming, and enjoying our emerald green water and white beaches.  Call (850) 737-0607 or visit

Compass Association Management specializes in HOA management of condominiums and neighborhoods. We take great pride in the associations we work with and provide only exceptional service. Contact Debbie Hughes CAM, AMS, Senior Association Manager, at (850)-269-1005 x121 or visit 4507 Furling Lane #113, in Destin, to learn how we can serve you!

For information on Destiny Strategic Advisors, LLC, call (850) 424-6776 or visit

For information on Emerald Coast Business Brokers, LLC, call (850) 424-7541 or visit

Fenn Properties, LLC, is a family owned business with real estate properties in Destin and Costa Rica.  One of the properties in Costa Rica is a 6-bedroom house, located on the Pacific coast, and is available for rent on a weekly or monthly basis. Check out this property at  For more information, call (850) 687-9078.

For information on Fresh Start for Children & Families, call (850) 243-5648 or visit

Health Helpers asks where will your and your family’s health and financial security be in five years?  You may know where, but how do you get there?  We will introduce you to an amazing method through a naturopathy body cleanse unit and an international coffee company, Organo Gold, a Napolean Hill listed company.  For details, call (859) 265-7251.

Skip Overdier is the Vice Commander for the American Legion and the Lounge Manager.  It is a non-profit veteran’s organization, providing counseling, educational, and social activities for members.  It also contributes to several charitable organizations, such as the Wounded Warrior Project, Homes for Heroes and VA hospitals.  Call Overdier at (850) 503-1958.

The Painting Vine wine and painting studio offers clients the joy of painting, while they sip on the beverage of their choice. A fully licensed bottle club, The Painting Vine can host bachelorette parties, casual events, and birthday parties.  Find the Event Calendar and details at  or call (850) 517-9332.  It is located at 234 Harbor Blvd. 

Need Identity? Let The Trophy Center, Inc., recognition specialists design your nametag, personalize your phone cover, and customize annual/ quarterly/monthly employee recognition programs for you.  We offer glass and acrylic awards, sculptures, plaques, desk name plates and signage, clocks, bronze castings and more! Family owned and operated since 1978.  Visit

World Impact Real Estate is a full service real estate brokerage, based in Destin. With more than 40 agents in Navarre, Fort Walton Beach, Crestview, Niceville, South Walton, Panama City Beach, Tallahassee, and Tampa.  We cover the panhandle of Florida.  Visit or call (850) 225-7000.

Find all of these Chamber members and more in the Business Directory at  

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Member Spotlight: Elisabeth Ashley, CPA, Carr, Riggs & Ingram, LLC

Have you missed our Member Spotlight from our Network Newsletter?  It’s back!  Check out this spotlight on local senior tax accountant Elisabeth Ashley, CPA, with Carr, Riggs & Ingram, LLC.

Carr, Riggs & Ingram, LLC, is the 28th largest accounting firm in the nation, with 41 locations across nine states throughout the Southeast.  Its CPAs and business advisors offer a broad array of auditing, accounting, tax, forensic accounting, and other business consulting services.

“As business advisors, we can make a huge difference to our clients' bottom line. It's really satisfying to help clients successfully navigate new changes and challenges, both in business and in their personal finances,” explained Ashley, who works in CRI’s Grand Boulevard office.  Other local offices include Mary Esther, Niceville, Crestview, and Panama City.

Ashley earned her Bachelor's degree in Accounting from the University of West Florida in Pensacola.  She has six years of accounting experience, including three years in public accounting and is a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants and the Florida Institute of Certified Public Accountants.

“In addition to helping local businesses achieve financial success, the CRI team strongly believes in giving back to the community. Recent contributions include Day of Caring volunteers, donation and food drives for Shelter House and United Way, endowment funding for the NWFSC Costa Leadership Institute, supporting the Mattie Kelly Arts Center at the Festival of the Arts and Race for the Arts, and merit scholarships for UWF accounting students,” said Ashley.

For more information, please contact Ashley at (850) 837-3141 or

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Member News - Save 20% at Belk, Local Child Donates Birthday Gifts to Others, Destin is Destination on the Rise, & More

Wyndham Vacation Rentals® Offers Properties in “Destination on the Rise”
Wyndham Vacation Rentals® offers vacation rental accommodations in Destin, a “Destination on the Rise,” as recently named by TripAdvisor®. From Gulf-front condominiums and luxury townhomes to private beach cottages, Wyndham Vacation Rentals is a leading provider of authentic beach accommodations along Northwest Florida’s Emerald Coast. The 2013 Travelers' Choice™ Awards for Destinations on the Rise featured more than 50 locations globally, which have seen the greatest increase in positive feedback and interest from travelers year-over-year. Destin, Fla. was ranked third among the top 10 Destinations on the Rise in the U.S. To learn more about what to do and where to stay in the Destin area,

Save 20% on Feb. 25 at Belk
February is American Heart Month, and Belk is partnering with the American Heart Association’s My Heart. My Life.™ initiative to help raise heart disease awareness. Did you know heart disease is the number one killer of women in America? More than all cancers, lung disease and strokes combined. And unfortunately, not enough people know it. So what can you do? For starters, you can live a healthy lifestyle: eat a healthy diet, maintain a healthy weight, keep active and don’t smoke. Want to learn more? Stop by your neighborhood Belk store on Tuesday, Feb. 25, for Healthy Living Day. Click here for a 20% coupon.
Eight-year Old Donates Birthday Presents to CIC Children
Eight-year old Anahi Cortes has learned to be charitable at an early age. During her recent birthday party she decided to donate all her gifts to needy children living at Children in Crisis. She asked her guests to bring books and needed items for the CIC children instead of toys.

“I did this for kids of my age that are less fortunate than me. I just wanted to help the children. Some children don’t have as many things as I do,” said Cortes, as she presented the gifts to CIC president and CEO Ken Hair.

For more information on CIC, visit or call (850) 864-4242.

Volunteer Florida Presents Champion of Service Award to Destin’s Nancy Weidenhamer
At the Feb. 18 Destin City Council meeting, Mayor Sam Seevers and Volunteer Florida CEO Chester Spellman presented the Volunteer Florida Champion of Service Award to Nancy Weidenhamer, who has been improving the Destin Community in many ways since 1990. Weidenhamer began volunteering locally by teaching literacy to adults. Since then, she helped establish the Destin Community Land Trust, chairs the Public Works and Safety Standing Committee, and is vice-chair of the Harbor Community Redevelopment Agency (CRA) Advisory Committee. Her most recent achievement includes leading the charge in the creation and completion of Destin’s first dog park. For more information about the award, visit

Snowbird Crafters Help Children’s Advocacy Center
Each year the Fort Walton Beach Snowbird Crafters, with their hands and hearts, make wonderful stuffed animals and beautiful blankets for the Emerald Coast Children's Advocacy Center. The ladies visit from all over, including Michigan, Canada, Ohio, and Minnesota. For more information about the Children’s Advocacy Center, visit or call (850) 833-9237.

Genealogical Society of Okaloosa County Donates to Museum
On behalf of the Genealogical Society of Okaloosa County (GSOC), Jim Young donates a 47” television to the Heritage Museum of Northwest Florida. The television will be used for presentations during public programs, events, and organization meetings. For more information about museum’s work and upcoming events, visit

Legendary Marine Wins National Neptune Award
Legendary Marine won the 2013 Neptune Award for Best Regional Marketing in North America, during the Miami International Boat Show. Presented by Marine Marketers of America, the Neptune Awards annually recognizes the best marine marketing in North America, judged this year by 17 independent marketing experts. The sixth annual competition garnered its second largest field of entry this year and presented 13 separate awards. In a tightly contested category, Legendary Marine and Kenton Smith Marketing won the Neptune for the Best Regional Marketing award, given for its cohesive entry, Boating Industry - #1 Dealer in North America Marketing Campaign. Check out more from Legendary Marine at

Register Now for the 2014 Sacred Heart Charity Golf Classic 
Register now to play in the 2014 Sacred Heart Charity Golf Classic on Monday, March 31, at Burnt Pine Golf Club at Sandestin Golf and Beach Resort. Proceeds will support the upgrade of a new, state-of-the-art Cardiac Monitoring System for surgery patients in our Perioperative Services Department. This sensitive system monitors patients’ vital signs before, during and after surgery – a critical component of patient care. The Sacred Heart Charity Golf Classic has become the signature fundraising event for Sacred Heart Hospital on the Emerald Coast. Since its inception in 2002, it has raised more than $2.8 million for Sacred Heart. Find details and register at or call (850) 278-3700.

Emergency Shelter to Undergo Expansion, Renovations
Big changes are coming to Shelter House Domestic and Sexual Violence Center in the form of a huge construction project. Thanks to a capital grant for $286,076 from the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF), the confidential emergency shelter will receive an extreme makeover! Shelter House was one of 11 centers within Florida to receive a portion of $10 million. The greatest need that will be addressed is increased bed space to accommodate more domestic violence survivors and longer stays during busier times. By the end of construction, the shelter will grow from 24 to 32 beds, not including the addition of six new cribs. Find details

Southern Community Garage Sale Fundraiser
Following the RE/MAX Southern Destin move to the main Go Southern office at 4608 Opa-Locka Lane in Destin, the Go Southern company is hosting a community garage sale on Saturday, March 1, from 7 a.m. - 1 p.m. Featuring high-end office furniture and d├ęcor, like-new clothing and other odds and ends donated by Southern employees, 100 percent of the proceeds will be donated to the Ronald McDonald House. The event will take place at the old RE/MAX Southern office located at 34894 Emerald Coast Parkway in Destin. 

In 2013, the Go Southern company donated more than $120,000 in stays, thousands of sponsorship dollars and hundreds of volunteer hours to Gulf Coast charities and foundations. 

Instructions to Submit Member News ItemsDo you have special business information you would like to share with all Chamber members and our website visitors? Please send your exciting news, which can be about an upcoming event or other timely information, to Only Chamber members are allowed to post news, each news item has to be less than 100 words, only one item per member is allowed each week, and Chamber staff reserves the right to reject or edit postings that do not meet the requirements. All news items are due by Friday for posting the following Monday. The link to this page will be sent out in our weekly Tuesday Talking Points email, and the news item will remain on the website until the next Monday's posting. We will not keep an archive of these pages, and no photos, logos or general business descriptions will be posted. Also, member news items will only be published once.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

President's Message - New Methods of Communication

In an effort to improve our communications with our members and our community, and to more effectively relay our activities and accomplishments to those groups, the Destin Area Chamber of Commerce is opening new lines of messaging and communicating. 

First, we will no longer print a NETWORK newsletter.  We will replace it with a weekly blog that will contain the information you need to be as up to date as possible on your Chamber.  We will continue to produce Tuesday Talking Points, our e-newsletter, that will continue to provide any and all information about our events, and provide you with new, exciting ways to advertise your business.  We’ll continue our weekly Thursday event update email as well.

One of the new communication tools we will be offering is in partnership with The Destin Log.  Each month, the Log will print in the newspaper a two-page Destin Area Chamber of Commerce update.  This will put the chamber front and center with all subscribers.  Part of that partnership is an opportunity for you to advertise in this section.

The Destin Log will handle all advertising sales for this new opportunity.  If a representative from the Log calls you, please give them a few minutes and hear what they have to say.

With our new mission statement, “Advocating for business, strengthening our community”, these new opportunities fit perfectly.  After all, it’s providing new and exciting opportunities to you that help us meet our mission of building this world-class community one business at a time.

With wishes for continued success,
Shane A. Moody, CCE, FCCP

President and CEO

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Member News - Awards, Grand Re-Opening, Cornhole & Golf Tournaments, & More

Warren Averett Assest Management Rises in National Ranks of Fee-Only RIA Firms 
Warren Averett Asset Management, LLC, is ranked as one of the Top 100 largest Registered Investment Advisory (RIA) Firms in the country, according to Financial Planning ( magazine. The Firm receives several accolades in the financial planning industry trade publication's 2014 "Top 100 Firms" report. On the list, Warren Averett Asset Management is recognized as the 82nd firm among the Top 100 Firms in the nation. The firm is also recognized as one of the fastest growing RIA’s in the nation. For more information,

ResortQuest Real Estate Recognizes Top Associates
ResortQuest Real Estate recently announced the November and December 2013 top producers out of more than 100 REALTORS© for its offices from Perdido Key to Panama City Beach. For the month of November, Joe Porter of the Destin office received highest honors for top closed sales and Rick and Dale Martinez of the Miramar Beach office received highest honors for top closed listings. For the month of December, Lauren Cottrell of the Destin office received highest honors for top closed sales and Rick and Dale Martinez of the Miramar Beach office received highest honors for top closed listings. For more on ResortQuest Real Estate,

Sandestin Family Retail Shops Announce the Grand Re-Opening of the Ultimate Children’s Shopping Destination 
The Sandestin Family Retail Shops is combining two of its most popular stores to provide guests and locals with the ultimate children’s shopping destination. Coconut Kids, a children’s boutique featuring brand names for the little ones, will be joining Toys & Treasures in an expansion project to become the shopping experience unlike any other, catering to children of all ages. A soft opening took place on Feb. 14. A Grand Reopening - 7 Days of Fun - is slated for March 9 – 15. More details about the grand reopening events can be found or by finding Shop Sandestin on Facebook. 

New Volunteer Orientation/Disaster Services Overview (DSO)
New volunteers can learn about Your Red Cross, explore a variety of volunteer opportunities, meet other volunteers and get credit for their first class (DSO is a prerequisite for all other Disaster Courses).
When: Thursday, February 13, 6 - 8:30 p.m.
Where: ARC Crestview Office, 4100 S. Ferdon St. Crestview, FL
To sign up:

CIC Golfers to Take the $I Million Shot Challenge
The 8th Annual Children in Crisis Charity Golf Classic is set for March 14 and could make one lucky golfer a millionaire! Each golfer will be automatically entered into the drawing for a chance for one golfer to take the “$1 Million Shot” Challenge. Additional hole-in-one prizes will be offered, including a new car. Golfers will enjoy lunch prior to play, refreshments and food stops on the course, and heavy hors d’oeuvres at the awards party immediately following play. Individual trophies will be presented to the top three foursomes. Also, each golfer will get a free logo golf shirt, silent auction, and much more! Visit

Destin Woman’s Club Presents Plaque
Recently, the Destin Woman’s Club presented a plaque to the Destin Wal-Mart store for its 2014 Bronze Sponsorship. For more information on the Destin Woman’s Club,

Realtors Recommend Destin City Council Candidates
The Emerald Coast Association of Realtors (ECAR) recommends the election of Jim Foreman, Prebble Ramswell, and Tom Weidenhamer to the Destin City Council. A special screening panel of the Association, in conjunction with Citizens for Good Leadership of Destin, participated in interviews with candidates for the Destin City Council and concluded, following extensive questioning, that Foreman, Ramswell, and Weidenhamer were best qualified for the positions. For more information about ECAR, visit

2nd Corn Hole Tournament
The Heritage Museum of Northwest Florida presents the 2nd Corn Hole Tournament on Saturday, Feb. 22. Enjoy family fun, kids’ activities, raffles, 50-50, and a food truck! The tournament will take place at Twin Oaks Horseshoe Pits at the corner of Highway 85 and College Boulevard. Registration and warm ups are at 11 a.m., and the tournament begins at noon. Masters and beginners divisions available. Call (850) 678-2615 or email for information.

16th Annual Hooters of Destin Charity Golf Tournament
The 16th Annual Hooters of Destin Charity Golf Tournament benefits Destin Little League, the Destin Fisherman’s Fund, and Hooter Community Endowment Fund. It takes place Friday, March 14, at Regatta Bay Golf & Country Club. Registration is at 10 a.m., and tee off is at noon. Price is $600 for a team of four and $650 for a team of four and hole sponsorship. Sign up at Hooters or call (850) 654-1007.

Rescheduled Due to Popular Demand: DiSC for Personal Growth and Improved Communication
The Costa Leadership Institute at Northwest Florida State College rescheduled its DiSC training for Wednesday, Feb. 19. The first step to true understanding of other people is to first understand oneself. The Classic DiSC is an easy to interpret tool, which can enable a person to understand their basic personality and tendencies. With that valuable knowledge, a participant will have a foundation for interpreting how others perceive and react to the world. The program is 3 ½ hours and includes a DiSC Profile and an accompanying personalized 30 page detailed report. Fee is $105, and the class takes place at NWF State College in the Student Services Center. Call (850) 729-6880 to register.

Okaloosa Arts Alliance School Poster Contest
The Okaloosa Arts Alliance (OAA) would like to invite all Okaloosa County School students to participate in the 6th Annual OAA Okaloosa County School Poster Contest. The OAA wants to know what you consider “Summer Fun.” It can be anything you can create on paper with markers, pencils, paint, pastels, charcoal, or crayons. There will be a 1st, 2nd, and 3rd place winner for three elementary school students (K-4), for three middle school students (5-7), and for three high school students (8-12) in Okaloosa County. The poster contest deadline is April 15, 2014. Please contact Amy Baty at (850) 499-8335 or if you have any questions.

EMT Barbara Chestnut Receives HERO Award 
Okaloosa County Board of Commissioners awarded Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) Barbara Chestnut with the HERO Award for a truly humanitarian act performed while on duty on Nov. 23, 2013. She transported a sick child from North Okaloosa Medical Center to Sacred Heart Children’s Hospital. The child was accompanied by her great grandmother and legal guardian. Chestnut took note that the grandmother was in a tired and weakened state, and upon inquiry learned she had no money and had not eaten all day. Barbara took her to a nearby Wendy’s and bought her dinner. “This is a true act of kindness,” said County Administrator Ernie Padgett.

Women and Money Conference Focuses on Economic Empowerment
Is 2014 the year you finally get your financial house in order? Then the 4th Annual WAM! Conference is for you. This free Women and Money Conference will take place on Feb. 22, at the Costa Leadership Institute located on the Niceville campus of Northwest Florida State College. The WAM! Conference offers a full day of breakout workshops on organizing your finances, making your money work for you, credit repair, insurance, the Affordable Care Act and more. Registration is free, but seating is limited. Pre-registration is required. Visit or call (850) 243-1201 to reserve a seat. Breakfast, lunch and childcare will be provided for conference attendees.

World Impact Real Estate Agent of the Month - Scott Dauphin
Whether you are looking to buy or sell, real Eestate agent Scott Dauphin’s familiarity with the real estate market in the panhandle is priceless. His experience gives his clients confidence that their real estate decisions will be coming from his knowledge and expertise of this local market that is ever changing. Scott grew up in Georgia and moved to the Emerald Coast in 1985. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Marketing from Troy University in 1995 then became a Realtor in 1997. Scott’s 16 years of real estate experience has been primarily in residential real estate in the Destin, FWB, Niceville, Crestview, Navarre, and Santa Rosa Beach areas. Call him at (850) 376-7268 or email

Healthy Kids Day
On Saturday, April 26, from 10 a.m. – 2 p.m., the YMCA of Florida's Emerald Coast is celebrating YMCA's Healthy Kids Day with a community event at the Destin YMCA. Healthy Kids Day is the Y's national initiative to improve the health and well-being of families, featuring fun play and educational activities to help kids be healthy and reach their full potential. The YMCA is looking for vendors and is open to all who want to be involved. It especially wants hands-on activities for families or booths about healthy lifestyles and activities. Sponsors and goody bag donations are also needed. Interested parties should call (850) 650-9622 or email

Instructions to Submit Member News ItemsDo you have special business information you would like to share with all Chamber members and our website visitors? Please send your exciting news, which can be about an upcoming event or other timely information, to Only Chamber members are allowed to post news, each news item has to be less than 100 words, only one item per member is allowed each week, and Chamber staff reserves the right to reject or edit postings that do not meet the requirements. All news items are due by Friday for posting the following Monday. The link to this page will be sent out in our weekly Tuesday Talking Points email, and the news item will remain on the website until the next Monday's posting. We will not keep an archive of these pages, and no photos, logos or general business descriptions will be posted. Also, member news items will only be published once.

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Member News: ResortQuest Names Top Producers, Hilton Offers "Sun-sational" Stay, & More

ResortQuest Real Estate® Congratulates Top Producers
ResortQuest Real Estate announced the December top producers for its offices from Perdido Key to Panama City Beach, FL. Lauren Cottrell of the Destin office received highest honors for top closed sales and Rick and Dale Martinez of the Miramar Beach office received highest honors for top closed listings out of more than 100 ResortQuest REALTORS® in Northwest Florida. For the latest information on real estate in the resort and residential markets throughout Northwest Florida, be sure to visit us on the web at and search current real estate listings, or follow us on Facebook at

Hilton Sandestin Making “Sun-sational” March Offer
Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort & Spa has created a new Sun-sational Spring package that includes a special rate and complimentary extras, as well as a variety of springtime activities for the whole family. Available March 1-31, the Sun-sational Springpackage starts at just $339* per night for a three-night minimum stay. For reservations, call toll-free 800-559-1805 and use booking codes mentioned above. For additional resort information,

Adagio by Southern
Southern Vacation Rentals has partnered with Adagio Resort in Blue Mountain Beach to become the on-site rental management company and to assume the management of more than 50 Adagio condos. The Adagio property is an exclusive community resting directly on the white sandy beach with two pools, fitness room, and seven condo buildings, three of which face the Gulf of Mexico. Also overlooking the Gulf is one of their pools, a stunning 1,700 square-foot infinity edge pool. The other four buildings surround a magnificent center pool stretching more than 8,000 square feet with three tiers, fountains and cascading waterfalls. For details,

Beaches, Resorts & Parks Magazine Gains 45 Additional Chains of Newsstand Distribution
Destin, Florida based Beaches, Resorts & Parks magazine has recently been granted paid newsstand distribution into an additional 45 major retail chains. These chains are in addition to the magazine already being for sale nationally at every location of the country's two largest book chains: Barnes & Noble, and Books A Million, as well as smaller booksellers, and affiliates of these chains. These chains include: Academy, BiLo, Bruno's, Circle K, Food Lion, Harris Teeter, Harvey's, Ingles, Kerr Drug, Kroger, Lowes, Piggly Wiggly, Publix, Family Market, Sweetbay, Ukrops, and White's. Find out more about the magazine here.

Niceville HS Leadership Donates Blankets to CIC Kids
The Niceville High School Leadership donated more blankets for the kids of Children in Crisis, just in time for the COLD weather! Thanks to their generous donations, the kids and teens at the Children’s Neighborhood will have a warm blanket to enjoy the rest of the winter and beyond. To learn more about Children in Crisis call 850-864-4242 or visit

Odin Berg named Covenant Hospice Interim CEO
With the recent retirement of former CEO Dale Knee, Odin Berg has been appointed as Interim CEO by the Board of Directors of Covenant Hospice. Berg will concurrently maintain his position as senior vice president/chief financial officer for the not-for-profit organization. Covenant Hospice is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to providing comprehensive, compassionate services to patients and loved ones during times of life-limiting illnesses. For more information about Covenant Hospice or to make a hospice inquiry, contact the local branch office at (850) 729-1800 or visit

Emerald Coast Science Center's Girls Night Out
Enjoy the Emerald Coast Science Center’s Girls Night Out on Feb. 22, from 6 – 10 p.m., at the Ramada on Okaloosa Island! Free food, wine, hair styling, manicures, massages, and more... Come join us as we kick-off our year-long 25th anniversary. Founded by the Junior League of the Emerald Coast, it is only fitting that we begin with a celebration for the ladies! Tickets are $50 through February 14 and $75 at the door. Tickets available at the Science Center or order online at All proceeds go to the Emerald Coast Science Center Building Fund.

ERA American Realty Up for National Award
American Realty has been named a 2013 Circle of Light for Community Leadership Award finalist for consistent commitment to both community service and business. The Circle of Light for Community Leadership Award recognizes companies who do extraordinary things for communities and people in need. ERA American Realty (with 6 offices locally), was chosen as one of three finalists for the Community of Leadership Award from more than 2,300 ERA Real Estate offices. The winner with be announced in March. For more information about ERA American Realty,

“Name That Garden” Contest 
The Valparaiso Garden Club is conducting a “Name That Garden” contest for its upcoming new garden exhibit in the backyard of the Heritage Museum of Northwest Florida. The garden will provide additional opportunities for education and enhance the Museum’s mission to promote the rich heritage of our region by featuring native Florida plants and herbs that have been important in the history of our state. Email your idea with your name, address, and phone number to before April 1, 2014. The winner will receive a $100 gift card, compliments of Walmart-Niceville, and be recognized at Saturday in the Park Heritage Festival on April 26. For details, call (850) 678-2615.

Spring Fest Call to Artists
On the Coast Magazine and Okaloosa Arts Alliance have joined together to host Spring Fest at HarborWalk Village. Spring Fest will be held on Sat, May 17, from 11 a.m. – 6 p.m., at HarborWalk Village benefiting the Okaloosa Arts Alliance (OAA). Spring Fest is a free, family friendly lively event unmatched on the Emerald Coast. Live entertainment, arts and craft vendors, free family activities, live animals, face painting, hands on art activities, a silent auction, and a display of posters from the talented students in our area. For more information on becoming a sponsor, vendor, or the OAA Okaloosa Schools Poster Contest, please contact Amy

Lieutenant April McQueen Earns National Certification
Lt. April McQueen received the national designation of Certified Jail Manager through the Jail Manager Certification Commission (JMCC), by authority of the American Jail Association (AJA). McQueen is one of 503 jail professionals nationwide to have achieved this designation. McQueen has served in the Okaloosa County Department of Corrections since 2005, with the past two and a half years leading the Support Services Division. Lt. McQueen is also a FDLE certified firearms instructor and assists the department in the annual training of certified officers.

SunQuest Cruises SOLARIS Recognized for Destin Florida Weddings for the 5th Consecutive Year by the Knot
SunQuest Cruises SOLARIS announced they have been selected as a 2014 winner in the Knot Best of Weddings. Winners represent the top one percent of reviews from recently married couples. This is the fifth consecutive year SunQuest Cruises SOLARIS has been recognized by the Knot for their Destin Florida weddings. For more information on Destin wedding packages and to download a wedding e-brochure, visit or call the SOLARIS wedding planners at (850) 650-2519. 

Charlie Shackelford Named 2014 Taylor Haugen Trophy Winner
Senior Charlie Shackelford of Fort Walton Beach High School has been named the 2014 winner of the prestigious Taylor Haugen Trophy, an award presented each year by the Taylor Haugen Foundation in conjunction with the All Sports Association. The award wapres ented to Charlie on Feb. 7, at the Buck Smith Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA) Prayer Breakfast based on his unwavering commitment to his Christian faith, athletics, community service, academics, and leadership. For more information about the award, please visit

Multi-Lingual Agent Joins World Impact Real Estate
World Impact Real Estate announced its first Crestview agent, Haroula Turner. She is fluent in Greek and Spanish. Turner has helped many military families relocate to the Emerald Coast. Being the wife of a service member herself, she understands first-hand the frustrations of moving and finding a place to call home. Her expertise includes new construction homes, VA short sales, and foreclosures. Turner has worked with many first time buyers, sellers, and investors. Contact her at (850) 612-5167 or email

Instructions to Submit Member News ItemsDo you have special business information you would like to share with all Chamber members and our website visitors? Please send your exciting news, which can be about an upcoming event or other timely information, to Only Chamber members are allowed to post news, each news item has to be less than 100 words, only one item per member is allowed each week, and Chamber staff reserves the right to reject or edit postings that do not meet the requirements. All news items are due by Friday for posting the following Monday. The link to this page will be sent out in our weekly Tuesday Talking Points email, and the news item will remain on the website until the next Monday's posting. We will not keep an archive of these pages, and no photos, logos or general business descriptions will be posted. Also, member news items will only be published once.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Member News: Newman-Dailey Announces Top Producers, WVR Associate Recognized for Courageous Effort, & More

Newman-Dailey Names Top Producers for 2013
Newman-Dailey Resort Properties Real Estate Division announced its 2013 top producers. Mark DeSalvo earned “2013 Top Sales Agent” and Colin Kirkwood was named the “2013 Top Listing Agent.” The company also recognized its top producers for fourth quarter, honoring Mark DeSalvo for listings and Jerry Bielawski for sales. Serving the Emerald Coast for nearly 30 years, Newman-Dailey consistently ranks among the top 10 percent of all agents on the Emerald Coast, according to the annual ECAR Closed Sales Summary Report. For more sales information, call 1-800-225-7652, (850) 837-1071 or visit online at

Wyndham Vacation Rentals® Associate Receives Top Honors for Courageous Effort
Wyndham Vacation Rentals®, the world’s largest professionally managed vacation rental business and part of the Wyndham Worldwide family of brands (NYSE: WYN), announced that associate Dustin “Dusti” Alford was selected to receive the fourth quarter award for “Count on Me!” service by Wyndham Exchange & Rentals, as part of its “Count on Me!” recognition program. Alford was recognized for her assistance after a pedestrian accident occurred in South Walton County. Upon witnessing the accident, Alford cared for the teenage boy who was struck by a car until paramedics arrived and alerted his parents after searching the nearby beach to find his family. For more information about Wyndham’s Count on Me! program, 

Hilton Sandestin Honored with ConventionSouth’s Prestigious Readers’ Choice Award
Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort & Spa is the proud recipient of the 2013 ConventionSouth Readers’ Choice Award for the sixth time. Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort & Spa is among 160 convention and visitor bureaus (CVBs), meeting facilities and hotels located across the South to receive this year’s Readers’ Choice Award. Throughout the year, meeting professionals nominated the meeting sites they believe provide exemplary service for group events. The nominated properties were then compiled into an online ballot where meeting professionals were asked to vote for the best of the best. For more information or to make a reservation, or call (850) 267-9500.

Local Agent Named to RE/MAX Hall of Fame
Hyosun Choe-Kelly, a RE/MAX Southern agent since 1999, was named to the national RE/MAX Hall of Fame, which recognizes agents who have earned more than $1 million in commissions during their careers with the company. Less than 2% of all RE/MAX agents earn this prestigious award each year. For more about Choe-Kelly, visit

BelkGives on the Go Mobile Mammography Center to Visit Destin
The BelkGives on the Go Mobile Mammography Center, a 39-foot-long, state-of-the-art screening center on wheels, will stop at Belk stores in Destin, during the week of February 3, 2014 to offer free, convenient mammogram screenings. Women age 40 and over with no breast concerns, who have not had a mammogram in the last 12 months and have a primary care physician are eligible by calling 855-655-BMMC (2662) to schedule an appointment. The dates and times are Feb. 7, from 9:30 a.m. – 7 p.m., and Feb. 8, from 9 a.m. – 5:30 p.m. For more information, call (855) 655-BMMC (2662) or go to

CIC Teen Completes High School Diploma
Children in Crisis announced that Daniel Hanson received his high school diploma. Daniel is a foster teen residing in the CIC Transitional Living home, located at the CIC Neighborhood. This is the fifth high school diploma earned by CIC foster teens in the past eight months. The CIC Transitional Living “Opportunity home” was opened in 2010 to provide a home to foster teens still in high school who are aging out of the foster care program. Without a high school diploma and a support system, a high percentage of foster teens become homeless within the first year. For more information about CIC, visit its website at

City of Destin Announces 2013 Employee and Leader of the Year Awards
The City of Destin recently awarded Corey Anderson the 2013 Employee of the Year Award and Webb Warren the 2013 Leader of the Year Award. These two awards are the city’s top staff honors. Anderson’s role in the city is Geographic Information Systems Manager and Warren is the Information Systems and Technology Director. For details and more news from the City of Destin, visit

Synovus Receives 20 Customer Service Awards in Middle & Small Business Banking
Coastal Bank and Trust, a division of Synovus Bank, announced that Synovus has received 16 national awards from Greenwich Associates for excellence in Middle Market and Small Business banking. Among 750 banks evaluated nationwide, only 34 received national excellence awards for Middle Market banking, and only 43 for Small Business banking. Synovus was number one with 13 total awards in the Small Business category and tied for third in total number of awards across all segments and categories. For more information, visit

Preowned LED Sign for Sale 
Complete Signs is offering you the opportunity to save more than $9,000 on a pre-owned LED Sign for your business. The sale price is $9,875, or estimated monthly price of $235/month. The regular price si $18,975.
• 2'9" x 9'2" Red with Shading/Graphic Capability
• Includes software, wireless, training, and graphics for the sign!
• Includes portable stand with wheels for immediate use (but we can also remove the sign from the stand & quote installing on your existing sign or as part of a new installation)**
• Lease/payment plans are available*
• Includes 1-year warranty

For more information, please click here

Cumulus Announces NASH FM 105.5 in Fort Walton Beach-Destin
Cumulus announces the launch of NASH FM 105.5, marking Cumulus’s entrance for NASH into Fort Walton Beach-Destin market. NASH FM 105.5, formerly known as 105.5 THE WOLF, joins the growing list of NASH-branded Country stations. Cumulus will eventually have more than 60 owned-and-operated Country stations operating under the NASH brand. Cumulus launched the NASH entertainment brand based on the Country music lifestyle in January 2013 with the flagship NASH FM 94.7 in New York City. In addition to country radio stations, the NASH brand will include a NASH magazine, concerts/events, online content, and television programming. For more information, visit

Museum Announces Gumbo Contest and Silent Auction Winners
The Destin History and Fishing Museum held its annual Gumbo Contest and Silent Auction on Jan. 25. This event marked the most gumbo contestants, the most attendance with an estimated near 700, and the most donated items for the auction. There were 18 restaurants and 22 individuals registered in the event. Winners were Individual Category First Place Tom Ogle; Individual Second Place Charlie Noonan; Individual Honorable Mention Anna Boudreau; Restaurant First Place Boathouse; Restaurant Second Place Crab Island Cantina; Restaurant Honorable Mention Harry T’s Lighthouse; People’s Choice Restaurant Award Crab Island Cantina; and People’s Choice Individual Award Alvin F. Claybrone. For details, call (850) 837-6611 or

December Real Estate Sales Dip Slightly
Single family home sales along the Emerald Coast fell 5.9 percent and median prices fell less than one percent in December when compared to December 2012, according to sales statistics released by the Emerald Coast Association of Realtors (ECAR). The median days on market for single family homes fell 18.5 percent to 66 days, and inventory decreased to just over seven months. Okaloosa County bucked the trend in December with a bare increase in single family sales by less than one percent and a similar increase in median prices. In Walton County, sales decreased by 12.3 percent, and the median sales price dropped 12.2 percent. For details,

High School Wins 10th FHSAA State Cheerleading Championship
On Friday, Jan. 31, Fort Walton Beach High School brought home its 10th state title at the Florida High School Athletic Association (FHSAA) Cheerleading State Championship. After a near perfect performance in Prelims, where they scored a 92.65 out of 100, FWBHS made it to finals and walked away with the title in the Extra Large Varsity division. The Vikings will load the bus again in February to return to Orlando to attempt to 3Peat at the National Championship. They will compete in the Extra Large Varsity division at both the National and World Championship this weekend.

Heritage Museum: Call to Vendors
The Heritage Museum of Northwest Florida is seeking Craft Vendors, Food Vendors, Re-enactors, and traditional craft demonstrators for its 38th Annual Saturday in the Park Heritage Festival on April 26, from 8 a.m. - 4 p.m. This family-fun event has long supported the Museum's efforts to promote the rich history of Northwest Florida. The festival begins with the Heritage 5K Run/Walk, and the Kids Fun Run and is followed by a day of historic celebration with re-enactments, craft demonstrations, live entertainment, a Kid Zone with bounce house, children's crafts, and much more. Vendor registration forms are available at the Museum. Call (850) 678-2615, if you have any questions. 

Local Mary Kay Sales Director Earns Chevy Equinox
Mary Kay Independent Senior Sales Director Julie Erikson of Destin earned the use of a new Chevy Equinox crossover, as a result of her outstanding achievements in her Mary Kay business. Erikson took delivery of the new Chevy Equinox crossover, her 6th Mary Kay career car, at Award Chevrolet in Crestview. Mary Kay independent sales force members earn the use of a career car by meeting and exceeding goals set within their Mary Kay businesses. Erikson began her Mary Kay business as an Independent Beauty Consultant in April 2002 and as a direct result of her accomplishments, became an Independent Sales Director in January 2005. For details,

Wine Reception Recap
Thank you to everyone who participated in the Wine & Hors d’oeuvres reception at the Magnolia Grill of Fort Walton Beach on Jan. 19. The Okaloosa Arts Alliance raised $1,088. Thank you again to Tom & Peggy Rice, owners of The Magnolia Grill in Fort Walton Beach, who generously hosted Sunday’s reception. Thank you to Cox Communications and NewsTalk1260 for their generous promotions of the Wine Reception. Also thank you to the Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation, Heritage Museum of Northwest Florida, Sinfonia Gulf Coast, FWB HS Theater Department, Mattie Kelly Performing Arts Center of NWFL State College, Destin Commons Belk, and more. For more information, visit

Changes Coming to Shelter House
Big changes are coming to Shelter House in the form of a huge construction project. Thanks to a capital grant for $286,076 from the Florida Coalition Against Domestic Violence (FCADV) and the Florida Department of Children and Families (DCF), the confidential emergency shelter will receive an extreme makeover! By the end of construction, the shelter will grow from 24 to 32 beds, not including the addition of six new cribs. Our shelter has been operating at or near capacity, and this renovation will enable us to increase the comfort, convenience and security of the shelter for all residents. For more information, visit

Twin Cities Hospital Chief Nursing Officer Receives Patriot Award
Twin Cities Hospital Chief Nursing officer Shaun Lampron, RN, BSN, was presented the Patriot Award by Captain Angela Sanders of 45th Aeromedical Evacuation Squadron, Macdill AFB, Tampa, Florida, and Mr. Terry Dawkins, Employer Support of Guard and Reserve (ESGR) Volunteer. The ESGR Patriot Award is nominated by military reservists who recognize employers with outstanding support of military duties. In her leadership role at Twin Cities Hospital, Lampron, whose husband is a retired government service employee and daughter serves in the Air Force Reserves, has shown support above and beyond that required by law. For more information, please visit or call (850) 678-4131.

World Impact Real Estate Announces Sister Company
Rodney Elkins, owner/broker of World Impact Real Estate, announced the opening of sister company, The Real Estate Referral Company. Realtor fees can easily exceed a thousand dollars per year. Local Realtor Association, Florida Association of Realtors (FAR), and the National Association of Realtors (NAR) require a substantial investment each year from each agent. In addition, there are monthly expenses for lock boxes, marketing, desk fees, etc. By agents hanging their license with The Real Estate Referral Company, they can keep their valuable Florida Real Estate License active. By working as a referral only agent, they are still legally allowed to be paid real estate commissions. For details, call Elkins at (850) 225-7000. 

Instructions to Submit Member News ItemsDo you have special business information you would like to share with all Chamber members and our website visitors? Please send your exciting news, which can be about an upcoming event or other timely information, to Only Chamber members are allowed to post news, each news item has to be less than 100 words, only one item per member is allowed each week, and Chamber staff reserves the right to reject or edit postings that do not meet the requirements. All news items are due by Friday for posting the following Monday. The link to this page will be sent out in our weekly Tuesday Talking Points email, and the news item will remain on the website until the next Monday's posting. We will not keep an archive of these pages, and no photos, logos or general business descriptions will be posted. Also, member news items will only be published once.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Chamber's January TV Show Spotlights Area Businesses & is a Free Membership Benefit

During our January 2014 Destin Business Forum TV Show, host Amy Perry, of Pleat, Perry & Ritchie, P.A., interviewed four members, including Hammerhead's Bar & Grill, Poppy's Seafood Factory, SimpleHIRE, and SimpleHR.  You may view these segments, along with past segments, on the Chamber's YouTube channel

Features on our monthly TV show are a FREE benefit of Chamber membership.  In addition to being posted on our YouTube channel, the show airs in Okaloosa County on Cox Channel 6 four times per week for one month and is also available OnDemand.  

For the cost of only your membership, you receive up to a 9-minute professionally taped television interview, air time on local cable television, and promotion on the Chamber's social media sites.  The best part is space is still available for 2014 shows!  

Contact Suzy Nicholson Hunt at (850) 837-2711 x2 or to reserve your spot.