FEBRUARY 3, 2021
For your quick, weekly nugget of chamber knowledge from
President/CEO Ted Corcoran
Click the video/photo below.
2021 Winter Guest Fest

The 2021 Winter Guest Fest may have looked a little different this year, but there was no mistaking the guests and vendors still had the same "ole" good time they expect from this annual event!
For the last several years, Lee & Dick Schultz (above) have always been the 1st in the door for Winter Guest Fest and this year was no exception - still the 1st in line in 2021. Welcome Back Lee & Dick! For more great photos CLICK HERE.
To experience Winter Guest Fest first-hand click on the video below and allow our Master of Ceremonies Lynn Dominque to show you around!
We would also like to send a BIG Thank you to our Title Sponsor Crystal Shores Realty, Inc. as well as our event sponsors Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott Destin, The City of Fort Walton Beach, Destin-Fort Walton Beach, the Northwest Daily News AND all of our wonderful vendors!

And a special Thank You to Lynn Dominique, our MC, the owner of Escape Zone 60, Inc, The Chair of our MAC Committee and an all-around nice guy! It would not be a Winter Guest Fest without him.

We could not have had such a great event without all of you - THANK YOU!!
Fort Walton Beach City Council Candidate Forum
This past Tuesday, February 2, 2021, the Fort Walton Beach Chamber along with the NAACP hosted the Fort Walton Beach City Council Candidate Forum at the Fort Walton Beach Civic Auditorium. Michelle Anchors, AnchorsGordon, moderated the panel discussion with the 12 Candidates. To see the actual event click the photo below or to READ MORE...
Moderator, Michelle Anchors with the twelve candidates.
Photo Courtesy of Northwest Florida Daily News
Calling all Artists!!
The Okaloosa Arts Alliance (OAA) would like to invite all Okaloosa County residents to participate in “Okaloosa County’s Got Talent”, a virtual talent showcase.

Use your creativity and favorite art form to share a thought or idea about 2021! Sing a song, show us a dance, recite a poem act, or share one of art works (drawing, painting, sculpture, photograph, etc.). 

The virtual contest deadline is Feb 27, 2021.   All rules and guidelines for both entering the contest and for voting on the contest will be on the arts page on the OAA website: https://www.okaloosaarts.org/okaloosa-county-s-got-talent.html
Cox employees to grant $50,000 in Innovation in Education awards to Southeast Region teachers
Cox employees will give more than $50,000 to schools in its Southeast service area through the Cox Charities Innovation in Education program. Pre-K-12 teachers are invited to apply for grants of up to $2,500 at www.CoxCharitiesSER.org now until February 28, 2021. Innovation in Education grants support technology, programs and curriculum that promote students’ academic success and enhance the educational experience.

“Cox remains committed to helping students reach their full potential whether it’s in a digital, hybrid or traditional classroom, “said Erin Monroe Wesley, vice president of government and public affairs. “Our employees are passionate about supporting programs that bring innovative technology and skills development to students across our footprint.” 
Alex Barthe, owner of the UPS Store in Crestview and Fort Walton Beach, was recently awarded the 'Something Extra' weekly recognition by The UPS Store Headquarters and was featured on the entire UPS Store network nationwide! To hear how Alex's store earned this award check out the video above. Congratulations to you and your team Alex!
Economic Aid for Restaurant Industry

Knowing that many of Okaloosa County’s 595 full service restaurants were forced to either temporarily close their doors or significantly scale back operations during the early stages of the COVID-19 pandemic, we were pleased to see that the Economic Aid Act signed into law on December 27 includes targeted provisions for the restaurant industry.
Specifically, the PPP formula for the latest round of relief has been tweaked for restaurant applicants.

Previously, the amount that a restaurant could borrow was based on a formula in which its average monthly payroll costs were multiplied by 2.5, up to a maximum loan of $10 million. The Act changes the multiplier to 3.5 for both restaurants and hotels, although the maximum loan amount has been lowered to $2 million. The Act also gives restaurants greater flexibility as to how PPP loan proceeds may be used.

As a reminder, all or some of these loans can be forgiven depending on how closely operators follow the spending guidelines!
Start-up Okaloosa
Small Business Spotlight:
TJ & Rosa Lupero, Owners of TJ's Chillin Treats
Photo courtesy of Northwest Florida Daily News
Inspiration for a new small business idea can truly come from anywhere and at any chapter of your life – just ask TJ Lupero, owner of TJ’s Chillin’ Treats. For the uninitiated, TJ’s Chillin’ Treats is an ice cream shop that not only provides you a happy place, but makes you feel like you are family as soon as you walk through the door! READ MORE...
Nothing But Networking
Thursday, February 11, 2021
Knowledge By The Slice
Tuesday, February 17, 2021
For the complete list of February CHAMBER Events CLICK HERE
For the complete list of February COMMUNITY Events CLICK HERE