Friday, May 29, 2015

Chairman's Message: Summertime in Destin

I hope that everyone had a great Memorial Day weekend and took the opportunity to appreciate those brave souls that have given the ultimate sacrifice in order for us to enjoy our freedom.

The past couple of months have been filled with educational celebrations, so it is obvious to see that the business community is planning for the future.  If you have not had anyone participate in the Chamber’s Destin Forward Class, the Northwest Florida State College Leadership Okaloosa Class, or the Young Entrepreneurs Academy, you are missing out on some great opportunities.  It is truly amazing what these individually unique programs teach the participants, all the while not duplicating sessions.  Probably the most amazing graduation celebration was the Young Entrepreneur’s event on May 18.  There were seven local high school aged students that were required to give a product business plan presentation to a panel of business investors in hopes of being awarded some seed money to launch the product.  Although only one individual is allowed to represent the region in the state competition in Boca Raton, all seven represented themselves in a manner that all parents, mentors, and instructors should be proud.  The participants were Savannah Bartleson, Huston Locht, Christopher Loffler, Peter Masone, Ashley Pellerin, Baili Pettet, and Olivia Rose Talley.  Peter will be traveling on to represent the region at the state competition, so we wish him the best of luck.  I encourage all business owners to send participants to all three of these classes when registration begins for the next session.

In the past few months, we have had a number of successful events, including monthly Leaders In Business Luncheons, multiple ribbon cuttings and grand openings, the Chamber’s Annual Tax Relief Golf Tournament, multiple 5K run/walks, wine tasting fundraising events, City of Destin recognized Founders Day with the dedication of the Primrose at its new home with the Destin History & Fishing Museum, and the Week of Blessings featuring the 58
th Annual Blessing of the Fleet, just to name a few.  Please check out the Community Calendar on the Chamber’s website at for all the upcoming event details.

Membership continues to increase with each passing week, and through May we have 946 active members.  The Chamber website traffic is averaging more than 55,000 page views per month, so if you are looking for a quick way to gain exposure to your business, contact the staff to find out how you can take advantage of this great resource.  Two premium home page positions are available. If you have a change in personnel or with any of your contact information, please contact the Chamber so we can update your membership file.   

The community and economic development front has seen some important topics come up to the local city government.  The City of Destin held a workshop to discuss the possible need to adopt a code to limit the number of individual adults allowed to occupy a short-term vacation rental home.   By the end of the workshop, I believe the city officials felt there were enough codes to address the problems impacting our residences without the need to adopt additional codes.  The City of Destin also held six public workshops to gain citizen’s input on what the city should focus on for the future.  These workshops, “Envision Destin,” were all held at the Community Center. I hope that everyone had an opportunity to attend one.  If you have not been able to listen in or participate in any of the City meetings or workshops, I encourage all residents to get involved.  The City is working to help the business community, but if the business owners are not actively participating, the end results may end up hurting business, so please participate.

Finally, I just want to share some of the upcoming events so that all members can plan time to network: the Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation Thursday night concerts, Rock the Docks at the Harbor Walk Village stage, and the Chamber’s Annual Paddle at the Porch race on Saturday, Aug. 15, south of the Back Porch Restaurant.  If you are not a paddle boarder, you need to either sign up as a volunteer or just come out and watch the event.  Last year’s six-mile race was won by our very own local Garrett Fletcher, so come out and support the local athletes.

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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