Wednesday, August 31, 2016

August 2016 Business Briefs / Member News Part 4

United Way Kicks Off 2016 Campaign
The United Way of Okaloosa and Walton Counties kicked off its 2016 Annual Campaign on August 16, with its Board of Directors setting a goal of $1,450,000, which represents an ambitious $115,000 increase over the $1,335,000 raised during the 2015 campaign. The 2016 community campaign will run through Nov. 23. If you or your company are interested in learning more about how to participate, or wish to make a donation, please contact United Way of Okaloosa and Walton Counties at (850) 243-0315.

Okaloosa Mitigation Plan Will Help Citizens Better Prepare for Natural Disasters
Okaloosa County is better prepared for disasters with the recent approval of its local hazard mitigation plan, which is a long-term strategy to reduce the community’s vulnerability to natural disasters. The plan identifies hazards and potential hazards, as well as creates a framework to help community officials make decisions that may ultimately protect lives and property.  Okaloosa County’s Mitigation Plan includes a comprehensive analysis of the County’s and municipalities’ floodplain areas and floodplain management strategies. The Plan is approved through the year 2021; however, annual reports are due each year. 

The Premier Property Group Announces Three New Agents on 30A
Premier Property GroupThe Premier Property GroupThe Premier Property GroupThe Premier Property Group is pleased to announce Emily Thurman (left) and Scott Cotner-Young (center) will join the WaterColor office and Jimmy Caden (right) will join the Seacrest office. Thurman studied Hospitality at the University of Tennessee. She worked eight years in retail and restaurant management before obtaining her Real Estate license in 2010, due to her passion for architecture and interior design. 

Having started his real estate career in Northern Kentucky with the largest and most respected firm in the greater Cincinnati area, Sibcy Cline Realtors, Cotner-Young, the Kentucky native decided to make South Walton his full time residence. His professional associations include the National Association of Realtors, Emerald Coast Association of Realtors, Florida Realtors, Kentucky Association of Realtors, and the Northern Kentucky Association of Realtors. 

Born and raised in Nashville, Caden relocated to Florida’s Emerald Coast in January 2016. Following graduation from the University of Mississippi, he became a licensed Tennessee realtor in 2012. Having strong family ties to real estate development, Caden has an extensive history in commercial sales and will focus on residential and commercial listings. 

Charlie Graingers Now Open at The Market Shops
Charlie GraingersCharlie Graingers is officially open for business. The restaurant — known for hot dogs, brisket and barbecue — offers grab ’n’ go service along with barstools and outdoor seating in The Market Shops Gazebo Courtyard. Homemade sides such as coleslaw, pimento cheese and barbecue baked beans are made fresh daily. The Wilmington-based franchise is locally owned and operated by Trent (seen here) and Nancee Moore. Originally from Tullahoma, Tenn., Trent and Nancee jumped at the opportunity to bring the restaurant to the Gulf Coast.

Destin Charity Wine Auction Foundation Donates $225,000 to Children in Crisis
Children In CrisisSeen here, Destin Charity Wine Auction Foundation presents a check for $225,000 to Children in Crisis (CIC) President and CEO Ken Hair, CIC Board Chairman Dr. Bo Arnold, CIC Founder Sharilyn Darnell, and other CIC Board members and staff. Thanks to a record breaking 2016 Charity Wine Auction Event, the Foundation raised $2.66 million. In addition to CIC, money was donated to 13 other area charities. This is the 10th consecutive year DCWAF has donated to CIC, totaling over $1.88 million.

Barbara Bush Foundation Fundraiser Raises $40,000
Howard GroupThe Barbara Bush Foundation for Family Literacy celebrated a new partnership with the Walton County School District on Friday at a sold-out community fundraiser that raised more than $40,000 and fully funded what will be a three-year intensive reading pilot program at Van R. Butler Elementary School. Nearly 200 guests enjoyed “Laughs for Literacy” with Southern humorist and best-selling author Jill Conner Browne, a Mississippi resident widely known as “The Sweet Potato Queen.” Several of her nine books have been No. 1 on The New York Times® Best Seller List. The event’s presenting sponsor was Silver Sands Premium Outlets, A Howard Group and Simon Center. One hundred percent of the event’s proceeds benefit the Foundation and the Walton County launch, thanks to support from Merrill Lynch—Krueger, Fosdyck & Associates, CHELCO, The 30A Company, Sundog Books, J. McLaughlin, Grand Boulevard at Sandestin, and Fleming’s Prime Steakhouse and Wine Bar. Seen here (left to right), Foundation President/CEO Liza McFadden, best-selling author Jill Conner Browne, Janet Greeno with St. Joe Community Foundation—which provided a $20,000 seed grant, Superintendent Carlene Anderson, and Myra Williams of Howard Group. 

Keller Williams Realty Emerald Coast Raises Over $5,000 for Louisiana Flood Clean-Up
Keller Williams Realty Emerald CoastKeller Williams Realty Emerald Coast (KWEC) agents, from Navarre to 30A, recently came together to support the clean-up from the recent devastating floods in Louisiana. On Wednesday, Aug. 24, the KWEC team hosted a Louisiana Flood Relief Luncheon at its Destin office, with an expansive buffet of food donated by more than 10 area restaurants, including LuLu’sDewey Destin’s SeafoodLenny’s Sub Shop, Fusion Bistro, Chipotle Mexican Grill, Mimmo’s Ristorante Italiano,Donut Hole Café & Bakery, One 20: A Modern Bistro of Niceville, Chick-Fil-APanini Pete’s, Ernie’s Dockside Café & Oyster Bar, and Olive Garden of Destin. More than 100 agents, staff members and community guests attended. Seen here are KWEC staff members with the donated items.

President’s Message: Celebrating Chamber’s History & Planning for is Future

It’s hard to believe that there is only one month left in the 2016 third quarter.  The end of the year is approaching fast.  It makes one wonder where the year has gone.  Time seems to slip by without notice.  We all seem busier than ever.  So to all of you who have taken the time to attend an event, volunteer, stop by and say hello, send us an email, or call just to say hi, I thank you.  To those of you who continue to support our efforts of building a world-class community, I say thank you, even if you haven’t attended anything or volunteered.  You’re all important to the overall health and well-being of this community.

I attended the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives National Convention the second week of August.  I truly enjoy catching up with long-time friends in the chamber profession, people with whom I’ve ‘grown up’ in this profession over the years. It’s fun to compare stories from our years, both funny and serious.  It seems that no matter how big or small a chamber is, we all have the same issues and the same successes.  The scales are just different.

Some tidbits I picked up while there: chambers of commerce who are not involved in economic development in some way are going to get left behind; millennials are tired of being labeled as such and want to take an active role in developing their communities; technology is changing the way people travel and visit, not just the way they do business; to add value, the chamber must be a filter and an analyst to help determine the value of information.

We are heading into our board retreat in late October.  We’ll be sure to take all of this into consideration.  We need to be sure we are out front with our plan so we are positioned to meet the needs of the community, while staying flexible enough to adapt to the fluidity of today’s rapid pace of change.

And as the end of the year approaches, that means the holidays.  I encourage you all to buy and purchase locally.  We all have many holiday gifts to buy, and we have a tremendous opportunity to boost our locally economy by buying local.  We have great chamber member businesses who have everything you need, right down to the last decoration or food item for the holidays.  It doesn’t take any more time to drive down the street and purchase from them.

It has been a lot of fun this year celebrating our 50th anniversary.  Many people have come forward with ideas and thoughts on the chamber trivia that’s been included in Tuesday Talking Points.  We’ve received a great history lesson this year on the chamber.  It is a great accomplishment and a testament to this community that the chamber can celebrate 50 years!

All of this will culminate on Dec. 15, at The Henderson Resort when we hold our 50th Anniversary Celebration (black tie optional).  We are combining our annual holiday party and annual banquet into this event, so it will be the only big event in December or January.  The only portion of the annual banquet we’ll build into the night will be the awards presentations.  The business portion of the banquet will be done at our January Leaders in Business Luncheon.  There will be great food, a live band (Triggerproof, and they are great!), and a fun celebration.

Thanks again for all you do for the community and for the chamber.  With you, we’ll continue to pursue our mission: Advocating for businesses – strengthening our community.

With wishes for continued success, and until next time,

Shane A. Moody, CCE, FCCP
President and CEO
Destin Chamber of Commerce

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

August 2016 Business Briefs / Member News Part 3

Increase Your Community Awareness with Leadership Okaloosa
Would you like to enhance your Okaloosa County knowledge? Join Leadership Okaloosa, a nine month experience designed to enhance your leadership skills and provide community awareness. Hosted from September to May, participants receive classroom training by certified instructors and are given opportunities to interact with various key community leaders throughout the process. For details, click here or contact Jamie Moncure, Costa Leadership coordinator, at or (850) 729-5253.

Should Your Indoor Air Quality Be Tested?
The indoor air quality is the most important thing in your home. A Superior Air Conditioning Company created this video to show people that in just a few steps it can assess and help homeowners to improve their home's indoor air quality, reduce allergens that affect you and your family's health. Click here to see the video.

Have You Seen LOPIFIT - The Electric Treadmill Bike?
Lopifit US Mex CaribThe Lopifit bike is an innovative and a totally new way of moving and exercising. The electric assist in combination with the adjustable multi speed gears boosts the riders walking pace to speeds equal to or greater than a regular bicycle. The bike is propelled by a 350W Samsung lithium Ion battery, which turns the treadmill while you walk. The battery will generate power for a typical rider to get 30 to 50+ miles per charge, making the bike a viable form of local commute transpiration. The rider chooses the gear/speed they want reaching speeds of 4 to17 MPH. Lopifit also provides fantastic low physical impact high cardio high calorie burn exercise. For details,

Newman-Dailey Announces 2016 Second Quarter Top Producers 
Newman-Dailey Resort Properties Shannyn StevensonNewman-Dailey Resort Properties Jerry BielawskiShannyn Stevenson (left) was recognized as Top Sales Agent and Jerry Bielawski was recognized as Top Listing Agent for the 2016 Second Quarter in Newman-Dailey Resort Properties’ Real Estate Division. Licensed for more than 17 years, Stevenson specializes in luxury real estate properties, rental investments, and second homes. Her commitment to her clients has provided her with great results. Bielawski has consistently been a leader within Newman-Dailey’s Real Estate Division and has been awarded the yearly top sales/listing agent five times in the last nine years. Following a rewarding career with Dow Chemical in sales and marketing, Bielawski moved to Destin and brought his proven dedication and loyalty to his clients. 

Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park Announces Two New Team Members
The Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park is excited to welcome two new team members. Meredith Horn, director of marketing and communications, and Andy Horn, supervisor of marine mammals, both have extensive professional backgrounds within the zoological community. 

"The pair have a combined investment of nearly 14 years advocating for conservation and inspiring millions to respect wildlife," said Patrick Berry, general manager of the Gulfarium. "This commitment and expertise will bring great strength to the Gulfarium's mission to connect guests with the marine world."

U.S. News & World Report Names Fort Walton Beach Medical Center Among Best/High Performing in Heart Failure 
Fort Walton Beach Medical Center has been recognized as one of the best hospitals for 2016-17 in Heart Failure by U.S. News & World Report. The rankings, now in its 27th year, help guide patients to hospitals that deliver outstanding care across 25 specialties, procedures, and conditions. The Best Hospitals methodologies include objective measures, such as patient survival, the number of times a given procedure is performed, infection rates, adequacy of nurse staffing, and more.

“We are delighted that Fort Walton Beach Medical Center is ranked as a High Performing hospital on a national level. However, it’s even more comforting to the people in our community to know they have comprehensive, high quality, and compassionate heart care close to home,” said Mitch Mongell, CEO of Fort Walton Beach Medical Center.

Passengers at Destin-Fort Walton Beach Airport Reach All-Time High
The Destin-Fort Walton Beach Airport (VPS) is experiencing tremendous growth. July reports are in with a 29 percent increase in passenger traffic for the month compared to July 2015. Passengers reached an all-time high with 101,528 travelers through the airport. Overall, passenger numbers are up almost 13 percent, which represents the highest year-to-date growth in the region.

CVHN Announces Its 12th Annual Hurricane Party
Children's Volunteer Health Network - Hurricane PartyBud & Alley’s Waterfront Restaurant will host the 12th Annual Hurricane Party on Friday, Sept. 23, from 6:30 – 10 p.m., with all proceeds benefiting Children’s Volunteer Health Network, Inc. (CVHN). Entertainment will be provided by 4 Barrel Funk. Along with the amazing views, food, beverages, dancing, and fun that Bud and Alley’s is famous for, the event will also feature a live and silent auction. If you are interested in becoming a sponsor, visit For event details, please visit

Okaloosa Saves Recognizes 204 Savers and “Teach Children to Save” Winners
Six winners were drawn from the 204 entries with deposits totaling $23,167.82 in the Teach Children to Save (TCTS) program, orchestrated by local financial institutions, and the University of Florida, Okaloosa County Extension. The six winners received $50; however, all 204 are winners for making deposits and beginning a life-long commitment to saving.  Event sponsors includedBancorpSouth BankBeach Community BankEglin Federal Credit UnionFirst City Bank, and PenFed.  

Children in Crisis Gets Keys to New Foster Home
Children In Crisis Ty PenningtonArchitect Jamey Mattern with DAG Architects and Damian Curtis, owner of D. L. Curtis Construction, presented the keys to the Ty Pennington memorial family foster home to Ken Hair,Children in Crisis (CIC) president and CEO, and Kitty Johnson, past chair of the CIC board of directors. CIC will cut the ribbon on this family foster home designed to keep brother and sister sibling families together, on Wednesday, Sept. 14, at 3:30 p.m., at the CIC Children's Neighborhood located in Fort Walton Beach.  The entire community is invited.

CAA Announces Foster Gallery Fall Rotation
The Cultural Arts Alliance of Walton County (CAA) is proud to announce that 15 artists were chosen to exhibit their original work in The Foster Gallery’s Fall rotation, Aug. 29 through Nov. 19. The artists are Susan Alfieri, Kathleen Broaderick, Carol Ann Cain, Donnelle Clark, Clint Eager, Hayley Green, Marisol Gullo, Sharon Long, Mark Messerly, Shelley Minchew, Melanie Moore, David Oman, Marian Pacsuta, Kathleen Schumacher, and Julie Vanover. Selected by jury, all artists are members of the Cultural Arts Alliance and each will exhibit six to ten pieces of work in their own section of the gallery. For more information, call (850) 622-1775 or
Dare Devil Society Offers Contest for $150 Giveaway
Do you have a special event with family and friends that your willing to share with our community? Dare Devil Society will pick one winner to receive a $150 Gift Card for your next event with us. To submit your event, visit, visit the Contact page, and submit your information, including at least a 1-paragraph description. Pictures are encouraged. Submissions are accepted until Friday, Sept. 23, at midnight.

Donation Drive to Benefit the Louisiana Flood Victims
Visionary Destin will be hosting a supply fundraiser to be held at the Palms of Destin for the victims of the flood in Louisiana on Saturday, Aug. 27. The goal is to fill up an 18-wheel semi truck with as much as possible. Make a donation and enjoy complimentary lunch, starting at 11 a.m., and happy hour prices all day in its restaurant. For details,