Wednesday, September 28, 2016

President's Message: Do Your Part to Ensure Destin Wins this Election Season

The Destin Chamber is partnering with the Florida Chamber on Employee Voter Registration Week. This week, it published the following article from the Destin Chamber President and CEO Shane A. Moody, CCE, FCCP.

Did you know less than one-in-four registered voters actually voted during the 2016 Florida Primary Election? That’s less than three million people. Considering Florida is home to more than 20 million residents, that means approximately 15 percent of Florida’s population decides who is elected, and more importantly, who’s not. If that doesn’t scare you, I don’t know what will.

This week is Employee Voter Registration Week (EVRW). Dozens of local chamber of commerce leaders from throughout Florida are joining me this week to increase voter turnout by helping educate our members and their employees that the General Election voter registration deadline is Tuesday, Oct. 11, 2016.

It’s easy to make a difference, simply urge people to visit the non-partisan website. Regardless of politics, we want to make sure Florida’s business community is represented on Election Day.

So, with approximately five weeks to go before the Nov. 8 General Election, the Destin Chamber of Commerce is making sure Florida Wins – and Destin Wins - by encouraging our members to direct their employees to I hope you join me in our effort to make sure the business community’s voice is heard this election season.

Shane A. Moody, CCE, FCCP
President & CEO

Destin Chamber of Commerce

Friday, September 16, 2016

September 2016 Business Briefs / Member News Part 1

Emergency Bridge Loan Program Activated to Aid Businesses Impacted by Hurricane Hermine
Florida businesses that have been impacted by Hurricane Hermine may now apply for short-term, interest-free loans through theFlorida Small Business Emergency Bridge Loan Program. Activated recently by Gov. Rick Scott, the bridge loan program helps bridge the gap for small businesses between the time impact occurs until other resources are available, including insurance claims or federal assistance. The deadline to apply is Oct. 31, 2016. Under the program, eligible small businesses with two to 100 employees can apply for loans for up to $25,000 for 90 or 180 day terms. To be eligible, a business must have been established prior to Aug. 31, 2016, be located in the 51 affected counties, and demonstrate economic or physical damage as a result of Hurricane Hermine. 

Henderson Hosts Hiring Event
The Henderson Beach ResortThe Henderson Hiring Event — The Henderson Beach Resort’s first — was staged throughout several rooms in the Emerald Coast Convention Center, on Aug. 29. More than 150 employment opportunities were available. Many on site offers were made and positions were hired, but openings still remain. All interested candidates should review the job openings Seen here, Henderson Beach Resort Human Resources Director Gail Hasan (center) welcomes Armando Martinez of Niceville (left) and Elizabeth Yumul of Mary Esther (right) to the Henderson Beach Resort family. Both were hired as banquet servers.

Emerald Coast Theatre Company Finds Home in Grand Boulevard
Emerald Coast Theatre CompanyAs it launches its fourth season this fall, Emerald Coast Theatre Company (ECTC) will be moving into the upper level of 560 Grand Boulevard, which offers ample performance space, frontage on Highway 98, and an enviable “address.” This new location will provide ECTC with an official space that will be utilized for professional productions, educational programming, and improv shows. During the 2016-17 season, ECTC will present a variety of professional programs that the Emerald Coast is sure to love. This October and November, Nick Payne’s romantic journey, “Constellations,” recently performed on Broadway by Jake Gyllenhaal and Ruth Wilson, will keep your wheels turning as this two-character drama questions the boundaries of our world. “Constellations” will run Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays at 7:30 p.m., with a Sunday matinĂ©e at 2 p.m., Oct. 21 - Nov. 6. For details on more shows, as well as educational camps, please

Keller Williams Realty Emerald Coast Hosts Seminar
Keller Williams Realty Emerald CoastOpen to all real estate professionals, Keller Williams Realty Emerald Coast will be hosting a Career Visioning seminar at its Destin office on Sept. 28, from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sept. 29, from 9 a.m. to noon.  The class will be led by renowned KW instructor Seth Campbell (left), one of the most sought out instructors on team building, leadership, and wealth creation in the world. Campbell is a member of the coveted Keller Williams Master Faculty, a certified Career Visioning and QL instructor, and a MAPS Coach. For details, please

September is National Preparedness Month 
The theme for National Preparedness Month is “Don’t Wait. Communicate.” Businesses and families are encouraged to make an emergency plan today. Creating a plan starts with one simple question – “What if?” Does your family know what to do in a disaster, and what if you aren’t together when an emergency occurs? Create an emergency plan now; here is how.
•    It is easy to connect with Okaloosa County Department of Public Safety: 
•    Get the FREE Ready Okaloosa APP
•    Register for Ready Okaloosa and Alert Okaloosa at
•    Get shelter information, evacuation zones and routes, emergency planning information, supply list, and how to stay connected in an emergency:   
•    Include family members in the planning process:

Henderson Beach Resort Announces Spa Director
The HendersonKim DeOrsey was announced as the spa director at the new Henderson Beach Resort. The resort, which is anchored by a spectacular 170-room hotel named The Henderson, a Salamander Beach & Spa Resort, is slated to open in Destin, late in 2016. During the span of her illustrious two-decade career as a spa and wellness executive expert, DeOrsey has held leadership roles at many premier resort spas in the U.S., including PGA National Resort & Spa in Palm Beach Gardens, Florida; Boca Raton Resort and Club, A Waldorf Astoria Resort; The Spa at The Atlantic Hotel (Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.); The Spa at The Tesoro Club (Port St. Lucie, Fla.); The Spa at The International Polo Club (Wellington, Fla.); The Spa at Mar-A-Lago Club (Palm Beach, Fla.); The St. Regis Monarch Beach Resort & Spa (Dana Point, Calif.); Westin Diplomat Country Club & Spa (Hollywood, Fla.); and Nemacolin Woodlands Resort & Spa (Farmington, Pa.). She most recently managed the spa and wellness program for The Club at Ibis in West Palm Beach, Fla., having opened its $33 million capital improvement project. 

The Arc of the Emerald Coast Shows Appreciation to Local PD
The Arc of the Emerald CoastThe Crestview Adult Day Service and Employment Services for The Arc of the Emerald Coast held a Police Appreciation Day for the Crestview Police Department on Aug. 25. The clients served them pizza and sodas and presented them with Survival Kit for Law Enforcement Officers. They also gave them a handshake and a "Thank you for your service!"  This appreciation just barely demonstrates the true appreciation that The Arc of the Emerald Coast has for all local law enforcement that continues to protect and serve our community.

Destin Commons Donates $35,000 to Area Charities
Destin Commons - Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation - Food for Thought - Children In Crisis - Building Homes for HeroesDestin Commons recently made a donation to each of four area charities through the Center’s Coins For A Cause program. Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation received $10,000 that will directly benefit its All Kinds of Arts initiative. Three additional charities were the beneficiaries of Destin Commons’ Smoke on the Coast BBQ & Fireworks Festival event this summer. They were Building Homes for Heroes receiving $10,000, Children In Crisis also receiving $10,000 and Food For Thoughtreceiving $5,000. Pictured are Kim Valdyke, Building Homes For Heroes; Ken Hair, Children in Crisis; Heather Ruiz, Bob Perry, and Michelle Sanchez, Destin Commons; Marcia Hull, Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation; and Tiffanie Shelton, Food For Thought.

Sacred Heart Outpatient Center at The Market Shops Welcomes Dr. Kathy Green
Sacred Heart Health System welcomes Dr. Kathy Green, a board-certified family medicine and preventive medicine physician, to the new Sacred Heart Outpatient Center at The Market Shops in Miramar Beach. Green is relocating from the Sacred Heart Medical Group’s location in Bluewater Bay and will see patients at the Market Shops location beginning Sept. 15. She received her medical degree from the Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences in Bethesda, Md. She continued her training at the 96th Medical Group at Eglin Air Force Base, where she completed her internship and residency program in family medicine. Green also completed her preventive medicine residency and master’s degree in public health from the Uniformed Services University of Health Sciences in Bethesda, Md. She is board-certified in family medicine and preventive medicine and is a certified physician executive.

Sacred Heart Outpatient Center at The Market Shops Welcomes Dr. Claudia Molina-Pierce
Sacred Heart Health System welcomes Dr. Claudia Molina-Pierce, a board-certified family medicine physician, to the new Sacred Heart Outpatient Center at The Market Shops in Miramar Beach. Dr. Molina-Pierce is relocating from the Sacred Heart Medical Group’s location in Bluewater Bay and will see patients beginning Sept. 6. Molina-Pierce cares for the entire family and has special medical interests in women’s health and hormone balance. Molina-Pierce received her medical degree from the Columbian School of Medicine in Bogota, Columbia. She continued her training at Lutheran Medical Center in Brooklyn, N.Y., where she completed her internship and residency program in family medicine. She is board-certified in family medicine.

CBA & Partners to Host Okaloosa/Walton Coastal Clean Up Efforts
The Choctawhatchee Basin Alliance (CBA) of Northwest Florida State College, in partnership with the City of Destin, the City of Fort Walton Beach, Eglin AFB, and Visit South Walton, will host three shoreline cleanup sites in Okaloosa and Walton counties, in collaboration with the Ocean Conservancy’s International Coastal Cleanup, on Saturday, Sept. 17, from 9 a.m. – 11 a.m. For information regarding the clean-up efforts hosted by CBA and its partners at Norriego Point Public Beach Access & Park, Liza Jackson Park, and Eagle Creek/Choctaw Beach, please visit

Southern Real Estate Sales Welcomes New Agent
Southern Real Estate Sales announces the addition of new agent Lisa St. Pierre to the Pensacola real estate brokerage. St. Pierre joined the Southern Real Estate Sales team earlier this August, bringing with her more than 20 years of sales and management experience. A local to the area, she is an expert when it comes to helping her clients buy and sell real estate in Pensacola. Over the years, she has worked to build a career based on trust and reliability and contributes her success to her ability to cultivate long-lasting relationships with her clients.

Acentria Insurance Acquires Destin-Based Independent Insurance Agency
Acentria Insurance recently finalized a merger with Inner Harbour Insurance Agency. Established in 2004, Inner Harbour Insurance of Florida specializes in providing home, auto, and business insurance. With the completed merger, the Inner Harbour team has relocated to the current Acentria Insurance Destin office at 4634 Gulfstarr Dr.

Emerald Coast Children’s Advocacy Center Receives $300,000 Donation
Emerald Coast Children's Advocacy CenterThe Emerald Coast Children’s Advocacy Center (ECCAC) received a significant $300,000 from the Destin Charity Wine Auction Foundation (DCWAF). This year’s charitable distribution by DCWAF was a record-breaking $2.66 million to 14 local charities serving children in need in Northwest Florida. Operating centers in Okaloosa and Walton counties, ECCAC’s mission is to prevent child abuse and neglect, protect children, and restore the lives and futures of these impacted children. The $300,000 proceeds from DCWAF will go towards services and the building at the new Pierce Family Children’s Advocacy Center in DeFuniak Springs. This Center has 45 offices in four wings to include a Welcome Wing, Path to Courage Wing, Justice Wing and Hope & Healing Wing. A multidisciplinary team of child protection personnel, prosecutors, law enforcement, DCF, therapists, and ECCAC staff and volunteers staff both centers. 

Rucker Joins World Impact Real Estate 
World Impact Real EstateDavid Rucker, a new realtor with World Impact Real Estate, offers 30 years of experience and knowledge of real estate transactions. Rucker prides himself by offering creative brokerage solutions, such as a “For Sale By Helping Owners” (FSBHO) Program. With more than 2,000 individual and group sales through previous brokerages and The Rucker Group, he is confident he can represent your best interests with his full service approach. His clientele ranges from first-time home buyers, multi-family investors, fix and flip investors, celebrities, and professional athletes. Rucker’s background includes broker/owner of Global Network Of Homes, a large full service real estate brokerage in Scottsdale, Ariz., and group manager of Realty Executives' “The Rucker Group.” You may reach him at (850) 865-4655. 

Century 21 Blue Marlin Grows Team by Five Agents
Century 21 Fine Homes & Estates Blue MarlinCentury 21 Fine Homes & Estates Blue MarlinCentury 21 Fine Homes & Estates Blue MarlinCentury 21 Fine Homes & Estates Blue MarlinCentury 21 Fine Homes & Estates Blue Marlin
Century 21 Fine Home & Estates Blue Marlin is pleased to announce that five new agents, Mike Johnson (left), Mike LaBay (second from left), Jacqui Luberto (center), Sandra Suber (second from right), and Presley Sullivan (right), have joined its firm. 

Raised in a great small town of El Campo, Texas and a graduate from Texas A&M, Johnson and his wife always wanted to live on the Emerald Coast. After 18 years of vacationing with their family, they made the move to Destin in July 2015, where they opened their business venture, Destination Segway Tours, Inc. Previously, Johnson spent 20 years in IT (Information Technology) and 10 years owning his own business. 

Having traded in their winter boots for flip flops, LaBay and his wife moved to the Emerald Coast three years ago and haven’t looked back. With a degree from Moraine Valley Community College, LaBay previously worked in pharmacy dispensing automation operations, project management, and long term care pharmacy automation sales. Having cultivated a decade worth of sales experience, LaBay has carried over his experience into his new role as a sales associate at Century 21 Blue Marlin.

Born and raised in Pensacola, Luberto left the Emerald Coast for a brief period as she received her schooling from University of Alabama at Birmingham and Trident University. Luberto garnered more than 20 years of experience cultivating relationships, while a civilian employee of the Air Force and a marketing manager at ResortQuest by Wyndham Vacation Rentals Northwest Florida. With her local knowledge of the Emerald Coast, community involvement, and background in sales and marketing, Luberto is qualified to take on her new role as a Century 21 Blue Marlin agent.

Having moved from Georgia to Destin three years ago, Suber brings with her years of sales experience. With experience in luxury automobile sales and finance and luxury motor coach sales, Suber is excited to move away from helping families stay on the go to helping families settle down on the Emerald Coast. Suber is a member of the National Association of Realtors, Florida Association of Realtors, and Emerald Coast Association of Realtors.

Originally from Loganville, Ga., Sullivan recently moved to the Emerald Coast to pursue her real estate career. Having spent many summers in Destin, Sullivan is familiar with the area and all it has to offer. Sullivan graduated with honors from Faith Academy in 2014. Before her move to Destin, Sullivan has worked at family-owned country store, Boss Brothers, while pursuing a country music career. Sullivan joins the Century 21 Blue Marlin team as a guest services agent.

Destin Commons Donates to Children in Crisis
Destin Commons - Children In CrisisDestin Commons presented a $10,000 donation to Children in Crisis (CIC) from funds generated through its “Coins for a Cause” program.  All parking meter payments collected at Destin Commons are donated to community charities by this charitable giving program.  CIC will use the donation to feed, clothe, care, and give a home to the children living at the CIC Neighborhood. Seen here, Marketing Coordinator Michelle Sanchez, Marketing Manager Heather Ruiz, and General Manager Robert Perry, all of Destin Commons, present the donation to CIC President & CEO Ken Hair, CIC Development Director Allie Noah, and CIC Volunteer and Events Director Laura Moore.

Destin Charity Cornhole Tournament to Benefit Emerald Coast Children’s Advocacy Center
Destin Commons will host its first Destin Charity Cornhole Tournament competition on Sunday, Oct. 16, at 12:30 p.m., along the Center’s South Street expansion area between World of Beer and H&M. The event’s proceeds will benefit the Emerald Coast Children’s Advocacy Centers (ECCAC) in Okaloosa and Walton counties. Teams of any age can sign up to participate in the Destin Charity Cornhole Tournament, and spectators are encouraged to come out and watch the widely popular cornhole sporting event. For details or to enter online, visit or contact Chelsea Fox at or (850) 833-9237 x256. 

Larger Than Life Kites to Fill the Destin Sky
Kitty Hawk Kites - HarborWalk VillageWhat do a 100-foot octopus, 80-foot panda, 50-foot gator, and 25-foot parrot have in common? They’ll all be flying high above the harbor at Destin’s picturesque Norriego Point on Sept. 17-18, asKitty Hawk Kites hosts its 8th Annual Flying High on the Harbor Kite Festival from 10 a.m. - 4 p.m. In addition to these larger-than-life show kites, this FREE two-day event features professional stunt kite flying, kite demonstrations and lessons, and plenty of activities for the kids, including free kite coloring at Kitty Hawk Kites at HarborWalk Village all weekend! For additional event details, please visit or call (850) 837-2800.

Gulfarium C.A.R.E. Center Releases Four Rehabilitated Sea Turtles 
Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park announced the successful release of four rehabilitated sea turtles on Sept. 6. Celery and Sprout, two juvenile Green sea turtles, and Mariner and Sally, two Loggerhead sea turtles, each endured human-impact related injuries prior to arriving at the Gulfarium's C.A.R.E. Center. The Gulfarium CARE Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit, serves as a beacon for coastal conservation through marine animal rescue and rehabilitation.  This foundation, along with Gulfarium Marine Adventure Park, is dedicated to inspiring the public to respect and preserve wildlife. 

Volunteers Needed for Festival of the Arts
Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation is seeking volunteers for the 21st Annual Festival of the Arts to be held on Saturday, Oct. 29, and Sunday, Oct. 30, at the Mattie Kelly Cultural Arts Village in Destin. Various shifts are available, including set up and break down, main entry, artist relief, ArtStop children’s tent, and beverage booths. All volunteers are welcome to arrive prior to their assigned shift or after their morning shift to visit the artists and enjoy the festival. To volunteer, please visit to reserve your desired shift or contact Volunteer Coordinator Kathy Whidden at (850) 376-7391 or email  

Southern Rentals and Real Estate Has Pledged to Help Louisiana Flood Victims
Southern Rentals and Real Estate has teamed up with the American Red Cross to help raise money for the flood victims in Louisiana. From Sept. 1-15, Southern is donating $5 for every paid vacation rental reservation made in an effort to combat the destruction. The Louisiana flooding that occurred over a 10-day period in August of 2016 has caused families to be displaced, homes to be destroyed, and communities to be torn apart. Southern Rentals and Real Estate is committed to helping the people of Louisiana repair their lives in the aftermath of this disaster.

Southern Vacation Rentals Celebrates Partnership with Realty Marts International
Southern Rentals and Real Estate has partnered with RMI Vacations to become the leading provider of vacation rentals in Pensacola Beach. RMI has more than 50 of experience in vacation rental management and an impressive reputation for always delivering outstanding customer service, something Southern values and plans to continue. Through this partnership, RMI by Southern Vacation Rentals will offer a wider selection of Pensacola Beach vacation rentals to guests, as well as access to valuable travel tools, such as the Southern Guest App and local deals through the Southern Perks program. 

World Impact’s Shorey Team Earns Certificate from Harvard Law School
World Impact Real EstateDuring June of 2016, Blake and Paul Shorey of “The Shorey Group” of World Impact Real Estateflew to Boston, Mass., to attend the program on “Negotiation” at Harvard Law School.  During their course, they had to successfully negotiate difficult situations and come up with solutions.  After hours in the classroom and rigorous tests, both earned their certificates of completion.  

CAA Congratulates its Juried Exhibition Winners
The Cultural Arts Alliance of Walton County held a reception for Fall Rotation Artists & CAA Member Juried Exhibition, formerly known as Top of the Class, with more than 250 in attendance. The Juried Exhibition winners are as follows: 
Carol Ann Cain - Best In Show, $500 sponsored by Trustmark National Bank
Mary Zahner - Award of Merit, $250 sponsored by the UPS Store in Watercolor
Susan Lucas - Award of Merit $250 sponsored by Wren's Village Boutique
Jacques Camp - Award of Merit $250 sponsored by Livingston Financial Planning
Marisol Gullo - People's Choice Award $100 sponsored by Coastal Brick and Stone
Charlotte Arnold - Honorable Mention $50 sponsored by an Anonymous Donor 
Both the Juried Exhibition and the Fall Rotation Artist's works are on display and available for purchase at the Foster Gallery through Nov. 19. For more details, visit

World Impact Real Estate Welcomes Mary Heafner Suthers
World Impact Real EstateAs a Florida licensed real estate agent, with more than 20 years’ experience in real estate sales/mortgage lending industry, Mary Heafner Suthers is the newest agent at World Impact Real Estate. She previously held real estate licenses in California and North Carolina. She has experience and a strong passion in assisting military families and relocations, since she is a previous military spouse. Suthers services Pensacola, Pensacola Beach, Gulf Breeze, Navarre, Navarre Beach, Milton, Pace, Cantonment, Crestview, Niceville, Bluewater Bay, Freeport, Mary Esther, Fort Walton Beach, Okaloosa Island, Destin, Miramar Beach, Santa Rosa Beach, Rosemary Beach, Sandestin, Panama City Beach, and anywhere else in Florida. You may reach her at (850) 541-3343.

New Shelter House Sustainability Fund
Shelter House, Inc.Through the success of its annual Walk Her Way® event, Rosemary Beach Foundation donated $15,000 to Shelter House’s sustainability fund. The goals of the fund are to maintain and build financial