• March 2019 Business Briefs / Member News

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    March 22, 2019
    Sponsorship Opportunity: Destin Library Summer Reading Program
    The Destin Library is currently looking for sponsors for its 2019 Summer Reading Program: A Universe of Stories. These sponsors would provide support, either monetary or in-kind, to help make the Summer Reading Program a positive and educational experience for Destin’s children. In exchange the sponsors would receive prominent logo placement on the of our Summer Reading Program guides, as well as on any other promotional materials produced in support of the program. The 2018 Summer Reading Program, Libraries Rock!, drew more than 1100 participants during the months of June and July, and we anticipate even higher numbers for 2019. To be included in promotional materials, sponsorship commitments must be received no later than April 19. For more information contact Megan Fontaine, Destin Library Administrative Assistant, by email at mfontaine@cityofdestin.com or by phone at (850) 837-8572.

    Home Featured on HGTV’s ‘Beach Hunters’ Sold
    Local Realtor Christine Martinez of Destin Palms Vacations sold a home recently featured on HGTV’s “Beach Hunters.” Read this Destin Log article to learn more. 

    Destin Commons’ Smoke on the Coast Event Identifies 18 Charities to Benefit in 2019
    This July 3rd brings the 9th Annual Smoke on the Coast BBQ & Fireworks event and Destin Commons recently announced the 18 area charities chosen to benefit from Coins for a Cause and event proceeds. Participating charities team up with various restaurants and BBQ aficionados to fire up their grills and cook for over $85,000 in donations.  Join Destin Commons in supporting the local area by plugging the meters at Destin Commons and attend SOTC, buy tickets and vote for your favorite nonprofit to support their mission.

    The 18 non-profit organizations, along with their BBQ teams, are as follows:
    Air Force Enlisted Village & The Gulf
    Boys and Girls Clubs of the Emerald Coast & Big Red Truck
    Children in Crisis & B&C Fire Safety
    Dog Harmony & Cafe Rico
    Emerald Coast Science Center & Bow Tie BBQ
    Food for Thought & Paula Deen's Family Kitchen
    Gulf Coast Council of the Boy Scouts of America & Smok'n Scouts Barbeque Crew
    Habitat for Humanity & Hub City Smokehouse and Grill
    Heritage Museum of Northwest Florida & Cold Creek BBQ
    Jobs4U & Lillie's Q
    Junior League of the Emerald Coast & Buh's BBQ
    Niceville/Valparasio Rotary Club & Smok'n Hot Wheels
    Opportunity Place & B's Smoking BBQ
    Rotary Club of Destin
    Shelter House & The One and Culinary Pirates
    Taylor Haugen Foundation & Brightview Landscaping Services
    Toys for Tots & Bass Pro Shop
    Youth Village & Waste Management

    Southern Rentals & Real Estate Sponsors Pensacola Double Bridge Run & Gives Vacation Package
    Since 2013, Southern Rentals & Real Estate has been a sponsor of the Pensacola Sports Commission’s Double Bridge Run. The 2019 Double Bridge Run took place on Saturday, Feb. 2. This is one of the premier 15K races in the country, with nearly 4,000 participants in both the 15K and 5K races. In addition to sponsoring the race, Southern also held a “Room with a View” giveaway. Southern invited Double Bridge Run athletes to submit a photo while training for the race for the opportunity to win a free three-night vacation with Southern. The winner was announced on Monday, Feb. 4. 

    Southern Rentals & Real Estate Announces Organizational Update 
    Southern Rentals & Real Estate is excited to announce the newest organizational update. Southern has formed a Client Care department in order to provide guests with a richer customer experience from start to finish. The new department brings the Sales and Guest Services departments together under the Marketing & Sales division. Under one authority, all of these agents serve as brand ambassadors for Southern. The goal is to ensure each guest’s individual experience is unlike any in the areas that Southern services, from Panama City Beach to Gulf Shores and Fort Morgan. Using state-of-the-art technology, these centralized care centers assist guests via text and email, as well as inbound and outbound phone calls. 
    Leading the Client Care Department is Joe Casal. Casal, now operating in his new role as client care director, has been with Southern’s vacation rental division since October 2015. Previously, he served as the reservations sales manager. Additionally, former reservations operations coordinator Mike Johnson now serves as the new client care reservations manager. Johnson has been with Southern since 2012 with experience as a property manager and reservations agent. Also joining the Client Care department are Amanda Cash and Mendi Jones. Cash, who has been with Southern since April 2018, will now serve as the guest services associate manager. Jones joined Southern in September 2018 as guest services manager. 
    Grand Boulevard Highlights New Tenants, Expansions & Remodels
    Grand BoulevardOne of the biggest multi-channel specialty retailers in the world, Williams Sonoma, is set to open in Grand Boulevard at Sandestin spring 2019. The announcement comes on the heels of a banner year for the town center, which opened seven new retail stores and restaurants in 2018. The mix of new to market national brands and popular locally owned businesses expanded with national stores Peter Millar, Blue Mercury, Hemline and Chubbies opening. Locally owned modern luxury jeweler The Jewel, formerly Destin Jewelers, opened in May. Popular locally owned Florida Trend Golden Spoon Award winner Vin’tij Food & Wine opened Nov. 2018, serving lunch and dinner. The restaurant will begin serving breakfast this spring. Additionally, the new 84-room Hyatt Place hotel opened in December 2018, joining the two Marriott properties and putting the total hotel room count at nearly 400 rooms in Grand Boulevard. On Jan. 10, it was announced that Black Bear Bread Co. a locally owned Grayton beach-based restaurant, will open a second location spring 2019 at Hyatt Place Sandestin.

    Expanding retailers and restaurants include Altar’d State, Billabong, Sunglass Hut, Cantina Laredo Modern Mexican Food, and J. Jill. New businesses opening professional offices include Judd Jackson, CPA, and Omnicommander. My Vacation Haven and FirstService Residential expanded their corporate offices in the center.

    Wagners Establish the Margaret “Peggy” Kinsella Scholarship Endowment at Northwest Florida State College
    Northwest Florida State CollegeOn Friday, Feb. 8, 2019, Denise and Kendall Wagner established a scholarship endowment with a gift of $15,000 to support students majoring in education. The scholarship was created in memory of Denise’s aunt, Margaret “Peggy” Kinsella, who had a passion for teaching and was adored by her many students over her 30 year teaching career. To honor her commitment to education and encourage students to pursue the teaching profession, the Margaret “Peggy” Kinsella Scholarship Endowment was established to provide a bright future to Northwest Florida State College students for years to come. For more information about this gift or partnership opportunities, please contact the NWF State College Foundation office at (850) 729-5357 or foundation@nwfsc.edu. Seen here (left to right) are Cristie Kedroski, VP college advancement; Denise and Kendall Wagner; Chad Hamilton, chair foundation board of directors; and Carla Reinlie, director of development.

    Emerald Coast Title Services Welcomes New Marketing and Business Development Director
    Emerald Coast Title ServicesEmerald Coast Title Services, LLC, announced the addition of new marketing and business development director Rebecca Balkcom. Balkcom resides in Santa Rosa Beach and has an extensive resume of marketing local businesses, events and organizations for the past 11 years.  

    Emerald Coast Title Services currently supports several local organizations and events, including the Mattie Kelly Arts Foundation, Shelter House, The Rotary Club of Destin, Artful Night Under the Stars, the Great American Cookout, the Destin Chamber of Commerce and the Walton Area Chamber of Commerce.

    Fleming's Prime Steakhouse & Wine Bar Is Open for Lunch
    Join us for Friday lunch to enjoy signature favorites like our Filet Mignon Sandwich, served with fries and crispy castelvetrano olives. Lunch hours are 11:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m., and menu items start at $14. Click here for details.

    Restaurant Recognized for $70,000 Donation to CIC Children
    Children In CrisisTuscany Italian Bistro was recognized this week for its in-kind donations equaling $70,000 since 2012. For seven years restaurant owners Guglielmo “Gug” and Michelle Ianni have donated the restaurant to host the “after golf dinners” following play at the Annual Sugar Sands Charity Golf Classic benefiting Children in Crisis (CIC).  100% of the funds raised were used to give a home to local foster children. Seen here, Allie Noah, CIC development director, and Ken Hair (left), CIC president and CEO, recognize Guglielmo and Ianni (right).

    Emerald Coast Theatre Company Announces Call for Entries for Northwest Florida Theatre Festival
    Emerald Coast Theatre CompanyEmerald Coast Theatre Company (ECTC) announces an open call for entries to its third annual hosting of Northwest Florida Theatre Festival, May 15-19, 2019. The call for entries is open to anyone interested in staging plays, performance art, musicals, dance and/or published or unpublished original work. Submitted pieces must be no longer than 90 minutes. This is an open, non-juried invitation for regional involvement. Deadline for entry applications is April 8, 2019. Technical rehearsal dates are May 7-11 and the Festival will run May 15-21. For more information on the call for entries, to download an online application to enter, or to find out how to get tickets to attend the Northwest Florida Theatre Festival, visit www.NWFTheatreFestival.com

    Community Gathers at Grayton Beer Company to Raise $27,590.56 for Red Bar Employees  
    Grayton Beer CompanyThousands of people gathered Sunday, Feb. 17, 2019, at Grayton Beer Company to show their support for The Red Bar and its 100+ employees who are rebounding after an early morning fire destroyed the Grayton Beach restaurant on Wednesday, Feb. 13, 2019. The Red Bar Employee Benefit Concert raised a total of $27,590.56. Following news of the fire a number of local individuals and local businesses rallied their resources to plan The Red Bar Employee Benefit Concert at the Grayton Beer Company Taproom. The five-hour event included the local bands Forrest Williams Band, TKO, The Wildlife Specials, Cadillac Willy, and guest performances by Fritz, Tanner Gray of The Graytones, Andi and Kevin Johnson, and more. The event would not have been possible without the expeditious and complementary assistance from a number of area businesses, including Shofar Stage Productions, South Walton Reef Association, Oyster City Brewing Company, Grayton Beer Company, Grayton Beer Brewpub, Cultural Arts Alliance, Proffitt PR, The Lewis Bear Company, AJ’s Grayton Beach, and Johnny on the Spot
    How Much Are You Going to Spend on Your Lunch Today?
    Join the Brown Bag Lunch Club and feed a child for a year for only $10 per month. Friends, this is your invitation to the Brown Bag Lunch Club, a Food for Thought initiative that invites us to be more thoughtful in our lunchtime choices and to make the selfless decision to make a monthly donation of $10 to support the Food for Thought program.  For only $10 a month, you can provide two backpacks per month, 24 backpacks per year – feeding a hungry child that would otherwise be without that much-needed nourishment. All you have to do is sign up to donate $10/month, which for most of us is the cost of eating one lunch at a fast food restaurant. Even more, Food for Thought asks you to challenge your friends to join the Brown Bag Lunch Club, giving up one lunch out per month to donate to the cause. Want to accept the invitation to the club? Sign up HERE. 

    Cultural Arts Alliance Executive Director Jennifer Steele Elected To Americans For The Arts Council
    The Cultural Arts Alliance of Walton County (CAA) is proud to announce Executive Director Jennifer Steele has been recently elected to serve on the Americans For The Arts Private Sector Network Council for a three-year term effective January 2019 - December 2021. This group is comprised of leaders from Private Sector Network organizations elected to assist in developing programs and resources to promote professional development and networking opportunities for local arts organizations. The Americans for the Arts Council is a volunteer position. Steele has been the executive director of the CAA since 2008 and a part of South Walton her entire life, having spent summers in her Grayton Beach family home before making it her full-time residence in 2000. She has served as chair of Walton County’s RESTORE committee, as a member of the Walton County Tourist Development Council (TDC) and has chaired the TDC’s Arts, Culture, Events and Activities and New Product Development Committees. In 2016, Steele was awarded the TDC Van Ness Butler, Jr. Hospitality Award, which recognizes excellence in hospitality service, travel/tourism marketing, advertising, promotion, and contributions to the local community. As executive director, Steele has led the CAA through exponential growth parallel to South Walton’s with a goal to promote the arts as an industry and ensure arts and culture are part of the solution to community-wide issues.

    Introducing Abbey… Therapy Dog at ECCAC
    Emerald Coast Children's Advocacy CenterMeet Abbey, a trained 4-year old Maltese therapy dog, and her owner/handlers, Roslyn Lindeman and Jennifer Town. Once a week, Abbey and the ladies help make the day a little better and brighter for child victims receiving services at the Emerald Coast Children’s Advocacy Center (ECCAC) in Niceville. Both ladies worked together with accomplished careers as registered nurses, Town, a Captain in the Navy Nurse Corps, and Lindeman, in Civil Service. Along with Abbey, the ladies completed fifteen weeks of Basic, Advanced and Urban Pet and Handler Training at Pawtopia in San Diego, Calif. Abbey successfully passed the test as AKC Canine Good Citizen and became certified in February 2017. Shortly thereafter, Abbey and her owners joined the Armed Forces YMCA Pet Therapy Program at the Naval Medical Center in San Diego, visiting both inpatients and outpatients of all ages and illnesses. Per Naval records, Abbey and the ladies collectively registered 168 hours of Animal Assisted Therapy with an impressive estimated 7,500 staff, patient and visitor interactions for 2017. All three retired to the Destin area last year and have become quite immersed in the caring world of volunteering to help others. Currently Abbey visits and "works" at the Emerald Coast Children's Advocacy Center in Niceville three hours a week. She is also part of the Pet Therapy Program at FWB/Valparaiso Airport where she meets and greets travelers. In her spare time, she is the local "ambassador" for tourists and residents alike in and around their home in Destin. 

    Gator Girls Golf Team Donates to Children In Crisis
    Children In CrisisThe Gator Girls Golf Team through its “Putting For A Purpose” fundraiser presented a $660.00 donation to Children in Crisis (CIC) from the proceeds of the 2018 season.  The Gator Girls Golf Team is a group of women golfers at Hurlburt Field Gator Lakes Golf Course, who compete against other women golf groups in the area. Seen here, Ruth Sykes (center), representing the Gator Girls Golf Team, presents the check to Ken Hair, CIC president and CEO.

    HCA Healthcare Named A World’s Most Ethical Company for 10th Consecutive Year
    HCA Healthcare (NYSE: HCA), a leading healthcare provider with 185 hospitals and approximately 1,800 sites of care in 21 states and the United Kingdom, has been recognized for a 10th consecutive year as one of Ethisphere Institute’s World’s Most Ethical Companies. The Ethisphere Institute, a global leader in defining and advancing the standards of ethical business practices, honors companies who distinguish themselves through integrity, corporate character and marketplace trust. HCA Healthcare is one of 29 companies worldwide to be honored 10 times. HCA Healthcare is parent company to local medical facilities Fort Walton Beach Medical Center and Twin Cities Hospital.

    Northwest Florida State College Celebrates the Grand Opening of the Veterans Success Center
    Northwest Florida State College recently celebrated the grand opening of the Veterans Success Center with a ribbon cutting event. The Veterans Success Center, located in building 500 at the Niceville campus, provides a one-stop shop to expand educational opportunities, transitional services and career services for veterans and their families. Joining President Dr. Devin Stephenson in making remarks at the Grand Opening were Florida House Representative Mel Ponder, Gulf Power Company President Marlene Santos, Central District General Manager of Gulf Power Bernard Johnson, Major General Thomas “Rudy” Wright (USAF Retired and NWF Board of Trustees Vice-Chairman) and Major General Don Litke (USAF Retired and NWF Board of Trustees Member).
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