Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Chairman's Message: Living the Dream in Destin

I hope that everyone is enjoying the nice spring weather that has finally entered our area. It sure does make it easier to deal with the influx of spring traffic.  As anticipated, this year has started with a flurry of activities, events, and opportunities.

Membership continues to increase with each passing week, and I especially enjoy meeting everyone at the New Member Receptions held each quarter at the Chamber office.  At the most recent reception, I believe we set a new all-time high number of attendees, so thank you to all who turned out for this event.  We also celebrated our Member Appreciation Day on Feb. 10, with a proclamation from the City of Destin and distribution of the 2015 membership directory to all of our members.  I would like to thank all the volunteers who assisted with delivering the directories. If for some reason you did not receive your directory, please contact the Chamber, so we can confirm your mailing and physical address.

Despite the seasonably cool weather, Destin’s Bayou, Bay & Back 1-Mile Fun Run, 5K Run/Walk, 10K & Half Marathon was another successful event, with almost 500 participants from 26 states and Canada.  This event continues to draw runners in from all over the United States, a number coming specifically for the event and long weekend.  I would like to thank all the sponsors and volunteers who made this event possible, and I was proud to issue donations to both the Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance and the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office Posse.  I hope to see everyone when we hold our first full marathon and name change to Destin’s Bayou, Bay & Beach on Jan 23, 2016.

                This spring we’ve had great participation at the Leaders in Business monthly luncheons, ribbon cuttings, Business After Hours at World of Beer, and the 8th Annual Multi-Chamber Business Expo. Thank you for everyone’s support and participation.  If your business is interested in hosting or sponsoring an event or program, please contact the Chamber.

We have also had the pleasure of working with a number of the community leaders on some critical issues within the Destin area.  For those of you that were not able to hear Mayor Mel Ponder’s State of the City, you missed a great presentation.  The Mayor highlighted all the challenges the citizens overcame in 2014 and all the success stories as a result of all the cooperation within the community.  If you would like to view the presentation, you can via the City’s YouTube channel:  In addition to the Mayor’s activities, the City staff has held a number of meetings with key business owners challenged with the issues that come with increased amounts of visitors and residents.  I truly think that the City staff is focused on improving the challenges our business owners are facing, so please be sure to work with them toward positive solutions.

The Destin Forward leadership class continues to make the community proud with its tireless efforts to restore the Primrose and Post Office.  Over the past two months, the class held a successful Pins and Pancakes fundraising event at Uncle Buck’s Fish Bowl & Grill in the Destin Commons, as well as received recognition from the Destin Rotary Club.  The class also made its annual trip to the State Capitol to meet with the locally elected representatives, and I was fortunate enough to join them, so thanks for spending the day with me.  This group is a great representation of the future leaders of our community, so please plan to attend the relocation of both historical items to the Destin History & Fishing Museum in May.  If you know of any young up and coming leaders in the community, please encourage them to sign up for the next class.

Finally I just want to share a few statistics about the traffic to the Chamber office and website.  In 2014, we had 5,101 visitors in the office, fielded 6,064 phone calls, distributed more than 16,000 of the award-winning Destin Area Visitors Guide & Membership Directories, and had 183,114 users on our website, which generated 549,384 page views. The top three searched categories on the website were restaurants, accommodations, and attractions.  Through the first two months of 2015, we are pacing ahead of the 2014 numbers in all categories, so the future business opportunities for the area are bright.

If there is ever anything we may do for you, please do not hesitate to call the Chamber at (850) 837-6241. We look forward to serving you throughout 2015 and together building this world-class community one business at a time.  I hope everyone is Living the Dream in this place we call home, the Destin Area.

Ken Wampler
2015 Chairman of the Board of Directors
Newman-Dailey Resort Properties, Inc.

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