The summer season is upon us, and I hope the businesses are all benefiting from the summer traffic occupying the roadways. As we set our sights on the upcoming fall/football season, I want to thank everyone for their patience and hard work to keep our little slice of paradise a great place to Live, Work, and Play.
Over the past couple of months, the membership has been busy with multiple ribbon cuttings, grand openings, and Leaders in Business Lunches, with the main program hosted by Destin Commons, Smoke on the Coast on July 3. If you were not able to attend, you missed another great event where a wide variety of food was the feature followed by a great July 4th Fireworks show. For those of you who participated, thank you for your hard work to make this event successful.
Membership continues to increase with each passing week, and through June we have 949 active members as compared to 874 through June of 2014, an 8.6% increase. The Chamber office traffic is averaging approximately 700 visitors each month. Calls are up over last year by 1%, walk-ins up by 29%, and emails are up 22%. 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. 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 City of Destin held its follow up workshops “Envision Destin,” to roll out the possible changes to the land development code based on public input from the earlier workshops. I hope those that were able to participate in the three public workshops are energized on the future development plans within the City. On a related front, the City has submitted its Highway 98 widening plans to the utility companies in hopes that the utilities can begin moving after Labor Day.
During the July Leaders in Business Lunch cookout at the Chamber office, we took a few minutes to recognize the JUCO Baseball World Series Champions, Northwest Florida State College Men’s Baseball Team. This marks the second National Championship the school’s athletes have brought back to the region this year. We are extremely proud of what the college has been able to accomplish, and we look forward to continued success stories.
Finally, I want to ask for everyone’s support and participation in the upcoming events: Rock the Docks at the HarborWalk Village stage, the Bushwacker 5K to benefit Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwest Florida, and the Chamber’s 4th Annual Paddle at the Porch 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 these three events. 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.
2015 Chairman of the Board of Directors
Newman-Dailey Resort Properties, Inc.