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 FirstFLBank.com 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 wyndhamvacationrentals.com/vacation-rentals/florida/northwest-florida/event/destin-beer-festival-3. 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 knewby@co.okaloosa.fl.us 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 info@shelterhousenwfl.org. To register for the run, visit 30a10k.com.

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 GoSouthern.com.

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 info@ajs-destin.com.

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 SantaRosaClub.com or call the Santa Rosa Pro Shop at (850) 267-2229. To learn more about Patriot Golf Day, visit FoldsOfHonor.org/patriot-golf-day.

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 PremiumOutlets.com/SilverSands.

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 HiltonSandestinBeach.com 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 Sandestin.com 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 YouTube.com/DestinChamber.

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.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

August 2014 Business Briefs / Member News Part 3

Wichern Announces Candidacy for U.S. Congress, Florida, District 1
Walton County resident and businessman Mark Wichern recently announced his candidacy for U.S. Congress, Florida, District 1. Wichern enters the congressional race as a candidate with no party affiliation and will therefore run as an Independent. He is the owner of All Clear Restoration, a successful water damage and mold remediation company, as well as a business coach through his other venture, Restoration Coach. A patriot, with a lifetime of leadership, service, and achievement, Wichern feels it is time to unite and restore America. He is a serious candidate who is committed to returning America to the vision of our nation’s Founders. Wichern lives in Walton County with his wife Laura and daughter Madison. He is also the proud father of a son, Dan, and stepson, Trevor, both adults. For more information about Wichern, visit WichernForCongress.com or call (850) 916-0797. You can also find him on Facebook at Facebook.com/WichernForCongress.

Bay Breeze Patio Announces Cook Team Registration for Eggs on the Beach
Bay Breeze Patio is calling all master grillers and EggHeads to pull out their favorite recipes and register for Eggs on the Beach, an official Big Green Egg Fest coming to Seascape Resort in Miramar Beach, on Sept. 27. An EggFest is a gathering of people who are passionate about cooking and smoking foods on the Big Green Egg, an all-in-one smoker and grill. Registration is now open for cook teams. Each team of four is given a large or extra-large Big Green Egg to use for the day. Teams purchase their own ingredients, and Bay Breeze Patio provides the demo egg, lump charcoal, fire starter, table, tent, paper plates, plastic utensils, napkins, and toothpicks. Tasters then vote for their favorites and the winning team will receive a brand new large Big Green Egg. The runner up will win a stay at Seascape Resort. Proceeds from Eggs on the Beach benefit the Fisher House of the Emerald Coast. To register a cook team, sign up as sponsor or purchase a ticket to be a taster, visit EggsontheBeach.com or call (850) 269-4666.

Economic Injury Disaster Loans Available Through SBA 
Low interest disaster loans are available in Okaloosa County and surrounding counties for damages and economic injury from recent storm impacts between April 4 and May 2, 2014. The Small Business Administration (SBA) disaster declaration by the Secretary of Agriculture has created loan assistance opportunities for small businesses, small agricultural cooperatives, small businesses engaged in aquaculture, and most private non-profit organizations of all sizes located in Florida. The new application filing deadline is April 6, 2015. Terms include loans up to 30 years and a maximum interest rate of four percent. There are some requirements and restrictions. Loan applications can be downloaded at SBA.gov/Disaster or accessed on a secure website at DisasterLoan.SBA.gov/ela. For loan information, call the SBA Customer Service line at (800) 659-2955 or email disastercustomerservice@sba.gov

Fall Field Trips to the Gulfarium
Start the school year off right with a fall field trip to Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park for your classroom or home school group. Enjoy warm temperatures and beat the spring crowds with a hands-on, unique educational experience right in your own backyard! With discounted student rates available Monday through Friday, classes have the option to reserve a Self-Guided Field Trip to enjoy shows, exhibits, and aquariums on their own, or to add on an Instructor-Led Adventure Program, a 30-40 minute educational component specific to each age group. For more information or to reserve your field trip, call Gulfarium's Education Coordinator Stacy DiDonato at (850) 243-9046 x21 or visit Gulfarium.com/School_Groups.

Barron Joins World Impact Real Estate
Rebecca Barron moved to Destin in 2004 from Columbus, Miss. She obtained her real estate license shortly thereafter. She has a strong background in retail and psychology. She is a people person with a strong work ethic and an even stronger desire to excel in her real estate career. You may contact Barron at (850) 687-0373. For more information about World Impact Real Estate, visitWorldImpactRealEstate.com.

YESS Program Enjoying A Very Busy Summer
July proved to be a busy month for the Taylor Haugen Foundation’s YESS program. Just in time for summer practice, Pryor Middle School and Walton High School were equipped with next generation EvoShield Rib Shirts. Forty-four Pryor Middle School Pirates and 80 Walton High School Braves were fitted on July 15 and July 23, respectively. These two schools join Choctaw High as the first group of schools to be completely outfitted by the generosity of the Dugas Family Foundation Grant. Orders for other area schools, including South Walton High, Shoal River Middle, and Baker School, have already been placed. Okaloosa and Walton County schools interested in receiving ribshirts from the YESS Program and the Dugas Family Foundation should fill out the application, available on-line at yessprogramthf.org. For more information about the national YESS program, contact The Taylor Haugen Foundation Executive Director Kathy Haugen atthfdirector@taylorhaugen.org.

Fran Goes the “Extra Mile” for Children in Crisis
Fran Mueffelmann received the CIC “Extra Mile Club” award for her continued long-time volunteer service to Children in Crisis. Every week for eight years, Mueffelmann has volunteered a day of her time to construct the CIC scrapbooks. She is seen here with CIC president & CEO Ken Hair. For more information or to make a donation, call (850) 864-4242 or visit ChildrenInCrisisFL.org.

Hilton Sandestin Honored With Four More Prestigious Awards in 2014
Northwest Florida’s Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort & Spa has garnered a number of prestigious awards from national industry trade publications in 2014 and picked up another four in the third quarter. The resort’s most recent awards include the ‘Pinnacle Award’ from Successful Meetings magazine, the ‘Award of Excellence’ award from Corporate & Incentive Travel, ‘Best of the South’ from Meetings Focus magazine, and ‘Gold Key’ winner from Meetings and Conventions. For more information about Hilton Sandestin Beach Golf Resort & Spa, visit HiltonSandestinBeach.com or call (850) 267-9500. For more information about the Hilton’s recent awards, visit HiltonSandestinBeach.com/Press.

Local Realtors Surprised at Florida Realtors annual Conference and Trade Expo
Two local realtors received awards at the Florida Realtors Conference and Trade Expo keynote luncheon in Orlando. Justin Lindsey received the Newcomer Award, which recognizes someone who entered the Realtor profession within the past three years, and, during that time, made notable contributions to the local and state associations, as well as to his or her community. Lindsey was instrumental in helping the Emerald Coast Association of Realtors (ECAR) develop Soldiers on the Water, a day of deep-sea fishing for wounded military. Soldiers on the Water is now in its second year.

Bob Hudgens received the Realtor Achievement Award. Hudgens, who is approaching his 30-year anniversary as a realtor, said his big focus is the local community, and he loves being involved, especially with Beachside Community Church and the local Boys and Girls Club. The Realtor Achievement Award recognizes a Realtor who serves as manager, broker of record or officer in his or her company, and acknowledges the winner's previous three years' contributions to the community, local, state, and national realtor associations. Hudgens has served on numerous ECAR committees and is a former president. On the state level, he has served and chaired several committees and is a director for the National Association of Realtors (NAR), along with serving on NAR committees. 

White Wilson Medical Center Helps School Kids at CIC
The staff and supporters of White-Wilson Medical Center (WWMC) helped the kids of Children in Crisis (CIC) get ready for back to school. Thanks to the generous donations from the members of White-Wilson, all the kids at the CIC Neighborhood received new backpacks with all the necessary supplies to take them through the new school year. White Wilson also presented a check for $2,500 to CIC to help with additional back to school fees, food, and clothing. Seen here, Ashlee Edelen, Anne Kachelhoffer, and Leslie Moland, all of WWMC, present the donation and money to CIC president & CEO Ken Hair. To learn more about Children in Crisis call 850-864-4242 or visit ChildrenInCrisisFL.org.

HarborWalk Village Presents Native American Salute
HarborWalk Village will celebrate Native American music, history, storytelling, and art at its Red, White and Blue celebration on Aug. 21. David Baxter of Cherokee ancestry will be honored for leading and educating the community on the rich Native American culture and history in Northwest Florida. The Thunderbird Honor Guard, a group of Native American veterans, will present the National colors before the celebration begins at 7 p.m. and ends with fireworks over the Destin harbor at 9 p.m.

Crystal Bay Raffle
After extensive renovations on the first floor, Crystal Bay Senior Living at the Sandestin Resort announces it has recovered from flooding, which occurred earlier this year. It is extending an invitation to all of its friends for a wine and cheese social event, to be held on Thursday, Sept. 4, starting at 4 p.m. Plan to stay for the exciting raffle at 5:30 p.m., where someone will win a relaxing day at the Serenity by the Sea spa gift. Anyone who refers a resident to Crystal Bay between now and the end of August will receive 1 ticket. If the resident moves in by the end of the month, the person will receive five more tickets.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Racers Win $5K During Aug. 16 Paddle at the Porch

Emerald Coast Business Brokers

Destin, Fla., Aug. 18 – On Aug. 16, 100 paddlers set off in the crystal clear Gulf waters behind The Back Porch Seafood & Oyster House for the 3rd Paddle at the Porch sponsored by ML Healthcare. Garrett Fletcher of Destin and Mary Hope Miller of Gulf Breeze each won $1,750 for setting the best times in the male and female divisions of the Six Mile 12’6” Elite Race. Second place winners Matt Wise of Miramar Beach and Mary Anne Boyer of Weston, Fla., won $500, and third place winners Joseph Cerdas of Galveston, Texas, and Mini Lagace of Weston, Fla., won $250.

The purse, which totaled $5,000, was possible through sponsor Destin Commons and race partner BOTE.

Racers, ages 8 – 74, represented nine states, including Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas. In addition to the Six Mile 12’6” Elite Race, they also competed in additional six mile categories, three mile categories, and a one mile recreational race.

Thank you to our partners and sponsors!
Partners - BOTE and The Back Porch Seafood & Oyster House
Title sponsor - ML Healthcare
Purse sponsor - Destin Commons
Gold sponsors - 99RockBrannon & BrannonThe BeachcomberBuffalo Rock PepsiCox Communications, Inc.Destin MagazineMC Photo, and ResortQuest by Wyndham Vacation Rentals
Silver sponsors - Beach ButlerThe Center for Cosmetic & Family DentistryCoastal Bank and TrustCoastal Skin Surgery & DermatologyGulf Coast DermatologyLegacy Boating Club, and Pleat, Perry & Ritchie, P.A.
Accommodations sponsors - Go SouthernSterling Resorts, and SummerPlace Inn
Bronze sponsors - Brookdale Home Health and YOLO Board

The 4th Annual Paddle at the Porch is set for Aug. 15, 2015. Follow Facebook.com/PaddleAtThePorch to stay up-to-date on race details and visit PaddleAtThePorch.com for a complete list of 2014 winners and to see race photos.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Mayor Mel Ponder Updates Chamber at August Lunch

Thank you to Destin Mayor Mel Ponder for speaking with Destin Area Chamber of Commerce members, during our Aug. 12 Leaders In Business Lunch. Thank you also to EDC Executive Director Nathan Sparks for providing information on EDATE and to Supervisor of Elections Paul Lux for an update on the upcoming election and early voting information.

Check out event photos here: https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.651351231628914.1073741904.105008336263209&type=3

We appreciate those who donated door prizes, including the following:
- Beachy Beach Real Estate
- Destin Commons
- Destin Princess and Destiny - Party Boats
- Eglin Federal Credit Union
- Emerald Coast Chiropractic
- Gulf Power
Mary Kay Cosmetics Senior Director Julie Erikson
- Professional Records Imaging Mgmt., Inc.
- Regional Self Storage
- SimpleHR / SimpleHIRE

Our next Leaders In Business Lunch will be BusinessPalooza! on Sept. 9. Find details here: http://www.destinchamber.com/events/BusinessPalooza!-Leaders-In-Business-Lunch-MiniBusiness-Expo--7045/details

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

August 2014 Business Briefs / Member News Part 2

DOH-Okaloosa Expands Hours for Immunization Services
School is fast approaching, and parents of kindergartners and 7th graders are encouraged to review their children's immunization record to ensure they are ready for the upcoming school year. Students entering college are also urged to ensure their immunizations are up to date. Visit http://goo.gl/zyJ6Hp to learn which immunizations your child may need. The following vaccines are required for children entering pre-school and grades K-12: diphtheria, tetanus, pertussis (whooping cough), measles, mumps, rubella, polio, varicella (chickenpox), and hepatitis B. Students entering college should check with the health services at their college regarding immunization requirements.

If your child is due for a vaccine, your best course of action is to call your doctor to schedule an appointment. If you don’t have a doctor or your doctor doesn’t have the vaccine available, both immunization clinics of the Florida Department of Health in Okaloosa County are offering extended hours in August. For more information, please visit FloridaHealth.gov/chdokaloosa/Documents/BacktoSchool_2014.pdf.

Food For Thought Provides 45,000 Meals
Food for Thought provided 45,000 meals during the 2013-14 school year. It will provide 60,000 meals during the 2014-15 school year. You may help by donating peanut butter, jelly, granola bars, crackers, and pop-top soup. No glass please. For details, visit FoodForThoughtFL.org.

Gulfarium's Salute to Shark Week
You've seen them on TV, now see sharks at the Gulfarium! Gulfarium's Salute to Shark Week will be held Aug. 11-17, to celebrate one of the ocean's most fascinating creatures. General admission guests may enjoy shark-themed activities, specials, and discounts throughout the park all week long. All kids receive a free temporary shark tattoo upon entry and activities include three daily shark feeding demonstrations, kids’ crafts, and a park-wide scavenger hunt. Enjoy discounts on shark-themed merchandise and a special Buy One, Get One 1/2 OFF deal on a thrilling shark and stingray snorkel encounter. For more information or to purchase general admission, visit Gulfarium.com or call (850) 243-9046 x2.

Get Noticed at South Walton Fashion Week - Be A Sponsor!
Get your business noticed by becoming an official partner of South Walton Fashion Week, Oct. 6 - 12, 2014! Sponsorships are going quickly, but we still have some opportunities left to get involved in the ONLY event of its kind in Walton County.

Sponsorship opportunities include:
• Featured Fashion Partners - show your designs or lines in an exclusive runway show (ONE LEFT)
• South Walton Style Show - show your boutique's fashions in a combined show of South Walton's finest
• Special Event Sponsors - find out how you can put your business in the spotlight, pre-event and all weekend long
• Program Ad Partners - place an ad in the official SWFW Program

Contact Rebecca Sullivan at rebecca@bountifulcreative.com for pricing and benefits. Net proceeds from the event will benefit the Arts in Education Program of the Cultural Arts Alliance of Walton County.

BBB® Warning: Data Breaches- What You Can Do to Protect Your Identity
Another massive data breach is in the headlines. This one follows on the heels of other high profile data breaches involving Target, Michael's, Mozilla, PF Chang's, and many more. Since data security is the responsibility of individual merchants and websites, there's not much that you as a consumer can do to prevent data breaches from occurring. However, you can take steps to prevent your identity from being compromised.

Better Business Bureau urges you to make identity theft protection a routine priority. You should be proactive and vigilant to minimize the risk of identity theft for every member of your family by:
• using passwords that include complex characters
• changing your passwords frequently
• not using the same password for every online account or website
• monitoring your banking and credit card accounts frequently, if not daily
• setting up automatic activity alerts on banking and credit card accounts so that you are notified every time a transaction is made
• setting up alerts on your credit reports with the three credit reporting agencies
• checking your children's credit reports for unauthorized activity
• being careful about the types of information that you disclose online
• discussing identity theft and online security with every member of your family who uses the Internet, from the youngest to the oldest.

For more information about protecting your identity, please visit BBB.org.
Local Dentists Awarded Mastership from the Academy of General Dentistry
In June, local dentist Dr. Olivier Broutin DMD, MAGD, MICOI, was awarded the prestigious Mastership in the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD). Broutin is the owner of Bluewater Bay Dental. The Mastership Award is the highest honor available in the AGD and one of the most respected designations in the dental profession. Broutin completed more than 1,000 hours of continuing dental education in the 16 disciplines of dentistry, including 400 hours dedicated to hands-on skills and techniques. He also successfully completed a written exam and then presented various cases of his work in the different disciplines to a panel of dentists. Recipients of the Mastership award are entitled to the designation M.A.G.D. (Master, Academy of General Dentistry) as a part of their academic credentials. 1% of dentists achieve Mastership status in the Academy of General Dentistry and internationally there are only 2,500 dentists ever to achieve this award.

You may contact Bluewater Bay Dental at BluewaterBayDentist.com or (850) 897-4488.

Canady joins World Impact Real Estate – Heads Up the Commercial Division
Bob Canady has 30+ years experience in sales, leasing, and management for all types of real estate, including industrial, offices, retail, land, buyer/ tenant representation, development, and home and condominium pre-construction marketing and sales. Canady’s forte is in the commercial arena. World Impact is pleased that he will be heading up WIRE’s Commercial Division. His professional education and designations include Graduate, Realtors Institute (GRI); Graduate, Accredited Buyer Representative (ABR); 1996-2001 Past President and Member - Commercial Forum; Member - Global Business and Real Estate Council; Member - Emerald Coast Association of Realtors; Member - International Consortium of Real Estate Associations (ICREA); Transnational Referral Certification (TRC); and Loss Mitigation Certification (LMC). You may reach Canady at (850) 259-3981.

Wichern Announces Candidacy for U.S. Congress, Florida, District 1
Walton County resident and businessman Mark Wichern recently announced his candidacy for U.S. Congress, Florida, District 1. Wichern enters the congressional race as a candidate with no party affiliation and will therefore run as an Independent. He is the owner of All Clear Restoration, a successful water damage and mold remediation company, as well as a business coach through his other venture, Restoration Coach. A patriot, with a lifetime of leadership, service, and achievement, Wichern feels it is time to unite and restore America. He is a serious candidate who is committed to returning America to the vision of our nation’s Founders. Wichern lives in Walton County with his wife Laura and daughter Madison. He is also the proud father of a son, Dan, and stepson, Trevor, both adults. For more information about Wichern, visit WichernForCongress.com or call (850) 916-0797. You can also find him on Facebook at Facebook.com/WichernForCongress.

Habitat for Humanity Road Trip Crazies in Crestview
Tom Gerdy and his HFH Road Trip Crazies will invade Okaloosa County for a Blitz Build in Crestview on Oct. 24 – 26. This group of about 50 dedicated volunteers travels from all over the country, twice a year, to different Habitat for Humanity Affiliates to raise awareness, participation, fellowship, and walls. They will take a house from slab to sheetrock in three days. At least 100 volunteers are needed per day, as well as donations of breakfasts, lunches, dinners, snacks, drinks, and sponsors for t-shirts, lodging, and building supplies. For volunteering or sponsorship information, contact Melissa at Melissa@habitatfwb.org. Donations may also be made via paypal at HabitatFWB.org.

Enjoy 20% Off at Belk on August 12
On Aug. 12, Belk is offering members of the Chamber of Commerce a special day of savings to show its appreciation of the Chamber’s year-long efforts in the community! Please see attached coupon.

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

August 2014 Business Briefs / Member News Part 1

Destin Rotary Awards Scholarship
The Rotary Club of Destin awarded a $10,000 four-year scholarship to Charles Shackelford II. Shackelford is a 2014 Summa Cum Laude graduate of Fort Walton Beach High School where he ranked #3 in his class with a weighted GPA of 4.6477, having never made less than an “A.” He will be attending Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, N.C., in fall 2014 pursuing a major in Business Enterprise Management and a minor in Entrepreneurship and Social Enterprise. The Rotary Club of Destin offers one four-year scholarship annually to deserving graduates residing in Destin. Students interested in applying for scholarship assistance can apply through their school guidance office on the Rotary Club of Destin Scholarship.

Difebo Finds Perfect Fit at World Impact Real Estate
Carolyn Difebo and her three young sons moved to the Emerald Coast in 1988, leaving her Beaufort, SC county job behind. After a career in law enforcement, a vacation to the Emerald Coast had them hooked. In 1991, Difebo started her busy real estate career, as one of the first licensed assistants in the area working for some of the area’s top realtors. She learned the market and not only ran many of the local real estate offices, but trained the new agents as well. Difebo is very active in her community, with the American Cancer Society Relay for Life, The United Way, The Destin Rotary, Children’s Miracle Network, just to name a few. You may contact her at World Impact Real Estate at (850) 685-4013.

Red, White and Blue Heroes on The Harbor 
Sam Brooks and Harbor Partin were honored as HarborWalk Village’s Red, White and Blue Celebration Heroes on July 24. Destin locals Brooks Partin work as beach attendants. The two spend their summers making sure visitors enjoy spending time with their families on the beach. On June 15, the Emerald Grande Shuttle Captain noticed a young girl being swept away by the undertow. She was too small to fight the current and was struggling to stay afloat. Simultaneously, the girl's mother was also fighting the current and needed assistance. Brooks and Partin dove into the water without hesitation to rescue the mother and her daughter. Onlookers described that Partin and Brooks acted swiftly and in the nick of time to save them both from drowning. For more information on events at HarborWalk Village, followFacebook.com/HarborWalkVillageDestin.

WSRE and PBS announce fall lineup and new programs for 2015 
PBS announced updates to its fall schedule and new programs for 2015. WSRE viewers can look forward to Ken Burns’ “The Roosevelts,” the PBS documentary “Navy Seals—Their Untold Story,” and the PBS Fall Arts Festival lineup this fall. A highlight of 2015 will be the PBS and American Experience production of “Walt Disney,” a new four-hour, two-night film that explores the life and legacy of one of America’s most enduring and influential storytellers. For more information, visit WSRE.org.

AT&T Donates $3,000 to United Way
For more than 60 years, AT&T and the AT&T Foundation have been strong supporters of the United Way both at the national and local levels. Recently, AT&T continued this legacy of support through a contribution of $3,000 to United Way of Okaloosa Walton Counties.

“AT&T shares United Way’s commitment to strengthening communities and improving lives,” said Ray Walker, Regional Director for AT&T Florida, “The United Way of Okaloosa Walton Counties support for programs with proven results in our community improves the lives of our citizens by connecting them with resources and expertise that helps them impact countless lives in Okaloosa and Walton counties.”

For more about the United Way, visit United-Way.org.

Boeing Global Month of Service Supports Children in Crisis
More than 60 team members from the Boeing Company rolled up their sleeves on July 26 to help make the Children in Crisis Neighborhood a little nicer for the more than 100 kids that will call it home this year. To learn more about CIC, visit ChildrenInCrisisFL.org, or call (850) 864-4242.

Make History - Volunteer!
Are you looking for a way to give back to your community? Do you enjoy history and working with people in a positive and inspiring environment? Consider donating your time and talent to the Heritage Museum of Northwest Florida, a non-profit museum whose mission is to collect, preserve, and promote the history of Northwest Florida. This busy museum seeks friendly and reliable volunteers to greet guests and answer phones in the gift shop. Shifts are Tuesday – Saturday, from 10 a.m. – 1 p.m. or 1 p.m. – 4 p.m. Interested? Call the museum at (850) 678-2615, or stop by 115 Westview Avenue in Valparaiso.

Motorcycle Vendors Wanted for “Biker’s Blast for the Past” Motorcycle Poker Run
Motorcycle Vendors - MAKE HISTORY! Join us at the “Biker’s Blast for the Past” Motorcycle Poker Run, on Saturday, Sept. 20, at the Heritage Museum of Northwest Florida. Commercial Vendors, Artisans, and Craft Vendors are all welcome. Bikers will start and stop at the Museum with an after party that includes food, beverages, music, prizes, and much more! Register online at Heritage-Museum.org. Early registration savings are available through Sept. 14.

ResortQuest Real Estate® Congratulates Top Producers
ResortQuest Real Estate announced the May and June top producers for its offices from Perdido Key to Panama City Beach. Eddie Krasauskas of the Santa Rosa Beach office received highest honors for top closed listings in the month of May. The Nathan Abbott Team of the Destin office received highest honors for top closed listings in the month of June and for top closed sales for the months of May and June. To meet with these top-producing associates, visit ResortQuest’s office locations at 95 Laura Hamilton Boulevard in Santa Rosa Beach or 35000 Emerald Coast Parkway in Destin. Krasauskas may be reached at (850) 855-9378 or at the Santa Rosa Beach office and the Nathan Abbott Team may be reached at (850) 803-7653 or at the Destin office. Also, visit RQEmeraldCoastRealEstate.com to search current real estate listings, or followFacebook.com/ResortQuestGulfCoast

Donations Requested for Museum’s Annual Inside-Outside Yard Sale 
The Heritage Museum of Northwest Florida is requesting donations for its annual Inside-Outside Yard Sale Spectacular planned for Saturday, Aug. 30, from 7 a.m. – 12 p.m. Donations are being accepted during regular Museum hours, which are Tuesday – Saturday, from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Outside spaces are available for sellers at $10. Clothing donations will not be accepted. For additional information or to reserve an outside space, call the Museum at (850) 678-2615.

Emerald Coast Surgery Center Welcomes Kachelhoffer
Anne Kachelhoffer, RN, joined White-Wilson Medical Center’s Senior Leadership Team as the administrator of the Emerald Coast Surgery Center on June 16. Kachelhoffer oversees all aspects of the ambulatory surgery center’s operations. Known as a strategic leader in the ambulatory surgery center industry, Kachelhoffer is an advocate for quality patient care. She is the former director of the Pace Surgery Center, where she oversaw the opening of the center and achieved repeated accreditations and CMS certifications. She is a graduate of Fort Walton Beach High School and obtained her ASN degree from Mobile College.

Business Tax Receipt Application Now Online
Those conducting business in Okaloosa County may now complete the Business Tax Receipt, formerly Occupational License, application online. 

Tax Collector Ben Anderson said, “Previously that transaction had to be completed in person. In our ongoing efforts to streamline Customer Service and make doing business with us as easy as possible, we encourage all new businesses to apply for their Business Tax Receipt online.”

A Business Tax Receipt is issued by the Tax Collector for those operating a business. Anyone providing merchandise or services to the public, including a one-person company or home-based occupation, must obtain a county Business Tax Receipt. The cost for a Business Tax Receipt is $35 per location, regardless of the nature of the business. New businesses may apply for a Business Tax Receipt at OkaloosaTax.com. For more information, contact the Field Services Department at (850) 651-7310.

BBB® Announces “Torch Award for Marketplace Ethics” Winners 
Your BBB Foundation serving Northwest Florida is proud to announce the recipients of the 9th annual Torch Award for Marketplace Ethics program from its District II area, which includes Okaloosa and Walton counties. 

1-10 employees category- J&F Autowerks
11-59 employees category- Alpha Foundation Specialists 
Customer Service Excellence- Joshua Griffin, Alpha Foundation Specialists

“These winners exemplify what your BBB stands for: trust, integrity, performance and ethics,” said Norman Wright, president and CEO of your BBB serving northwest Florida. “These organizations and individuals like Joshua Griffin really stand out in the marketplace against those who don’t always do the right thing.”

Visit www.NWFL.BBB.org for more information.

SunQuest Cruises Awarded 2014 Tripadvisor Certificate of Excellence
SunQuest Cruises received a Tripadvisor® Certificate of Excellence award. The accolade, which honors hospitality excellence, is given only to establishments that consistently achieve outstanding traveller reviews on TripAdvisor and is extended to qualifying businesses worldwide. Establishments awarded the Certificate of Excellence are located all over the world and represent the upper echelon of businesses listed on the website. The SOLARIS has also been the recipient of the “Best Wedding and Reception Venue” award by readers of The Knot for five consecutive years. For more information, visit SunQuestCruises.com or call (850) 650-2519. 

Courageous Coach On and Off the Field
On Thursday, July 31, Cuong Lewis was honored at HarborWalk Village's Red, White and Blue Celebration for the time, effort, dedication and investment he puts into the youth of our community especially during his personal struggles. Lewis is a little league baseball coach and father of three. He is also active in other sports at Pryor Middle School and started the Fort Walton Beach Sports Youth Association to assist with sports fees and uniforms, highlighting his dedication to providing opportunities for kids to find success and strength on the field. In November, Lewis went to the hospital with severe muscle spasms. After a biopsy he received news that he was in severe kidney failure. As Lewis awaited a donor match, he was put on dialysis three days a week for four hours each day. During the search, Lewis' younger sister, Sherri Ly, was found to be a compatible kidney match. In March, as the Pryor Pirates were on a 5-game winning streak, Lewis and his sister traveled to Birmingham, Ala., to undergo a kidney transplant, forcing the Pirates to carry on without their coach. After his surgery, one of his first questions was about his team's baseball game. True to form, just weeks after surgery, Lewis was back out on the field. As an avid volunteer and coach, he inspires and impacts the youth to have the courage to fight and is a role model on and off the field. For more information on events at HarborWalk Village, follow Facebook.com/HarborWalkVillageDestin.

Grand Opening of New Clinic Space at Florida Department of Health in Okaloosa County
On July 27, community members and civic leaders joined together to celebrate the grand opening and ribbon cutting of the Florida Department of Health in Okaloosa County’s (DOH-Okaloosa) new Clinic Annex in Fort Walton Beach. The 3,300-square-foot modular building, located on the southeast corner of the Fort Walton Beach campus, was generously donated by Twin Cities Hospital in summer 2013. The newly renovated space includes a reception area, six exam rooms, a classroom, and procedure room. The Clinic Annex will house DOH-Okaloosa’s One Problem Clinic, which provides acute care for patients with minor injuries and illnesses. For more information, follow @HealthyFla on Twitter or Facebook.

Junior Lifeguards Season Ends in Success
The Junior Lifeguard six-week program has ended in success. The Emerald Coast Chapter of the Junior Lifeguards from Okaloosa County had a total of 66 kids, ranging in age from 9 to 17. Eleven competed in the United States Lifesaving Association (USLA) regional competition, earning two First Place Awards, five Second Place, and four-Third Place Awards. The Junior Lifeguard Program is a great way to learn about personal and public safety and includes an open house, tours, trips, and learning CPR, as well as interactions with EMS Ambulance, Coastguard, Gulf Flight, marine life, and more. For more information, contact Beach Safety at (850) 651-7150 or visit OkaloosaBeachSafety.org.