Month: March 2013
Next Idea Camp is March 21st!
Panama City Beach Chamber of Commerce invites you to Idea Camp #3 on Thursday, March
21, 2013 at G. Foley’s Restaurant at 3212 23rd Street in Panama City, from 5:30 to 7:30 PM. This
IdeaCamp is presented by Southwest Airlines and sponsored by North Florida Financial and
Macetech Securities. Cost to attend is free for Beach Chamber members; $20 for non-members. The
Chamber is still signing up speakers. For more information and to RSVP, call the Beach Chamber at
IdeaCamp is an interactive think tank with focused networking and an ‘ideashare’ of great
business dialogue. On February 26, the diverse crowd at Kingfish Restaurant & Sushi Bar inside Bay
Point Wyndham, mostly members of the local business community, enjoyed the second IdeaCamp
event. “When IdeaCamp was created last fall, our initial goal was simple,” says IdeaWorks
Chairman David Balmer, “We wanted guests to ‘walk away with more ideas for their business than
they had when they arrived.’” The IdeaWorks Committee has already reached that goal, and has
additionally created a unique networking event to inspire business connections and deepen those
relationships. “The diversity of guests and speakers, who talk on a variety of business and leadership-
related topics, is what keeps this event interesting, fun and relevant,” says Balmer.
Topics for March 21 include: “Hovering on the Edge of Technology Commercialization” by
Dr. Stephen Dunnivant from Gulf Coast State College; “If Les Miserables Leaves New York at 8 PM
EST” by Jennifer Jones from Bay Arts Alliance; “The Perfect Website Homepage” by Cebo
Campbell from Novel Avenue Creative; “Top Ten Ways to Improve Collections” by Michael Pak
from Transworld Systems; and “How I Use Email Marketing to Create Hundreds of Customer
Interactions in One Day” by Jason Koertge from PCB Luxury Properties.
Play Purdy!!! Multliple offers
I just love this job!!! Every day it is new and exciting and different and just when you think you have it figured out …. here we go again. One day our buyers are just strolling along and taking their time to figure out just which of the many houses they want and with the blink of the eye it has changed. Although it is NOT a total sellers market yet, we are inching closer and closer as inventory is going down and the multiple offers are CRANKING up. So what is one to do when you are faced with multiple offers.
Play Purdy!!!! (southern for Play Pretty)
My grandmother alway hollered after us as we went out to play,” Play Purdy now!!” Of course that was her way of reminding us to play nice and that is great advice when making an offer on a home that you really want. To make your offer more attractive, don’t ask for closing cost and other extras from the seller. If you do need to ask for closing cost assistance then up your offer to cover those expenses. It is also a great idea for your agent to be really sweet to the listing agent because emotions do play into our engagement with others… whether on a subconscious or conscious level.
More than likely the seller has some hot buttons, some things that just may tilt the sale in your favor. Maybe you find out that they would love a quick close or maybe they need to even stay a few days after close…. if you can find out what makes them tick you may have a good chance of having the winning offer.
Share that loving feeling…. oh that loving feeling.
Most home owners love their home and have an emotional attachment and the notion that someone else will love and enjoy it too makes them feel good about the sale of their home. I have actually had people write a letter to the seller’s expressing how they felt about the home and what it meant to their family. On a personal level I just purchased a new home and I believe that the seller who really did not want to leave the beach, ( and who would?) felt a sense of comfort because of my over the top enthusiasm for her home that thankfully is now mine.
As we continue to move towards more of a Seller’s market I will share some more tips next week…. but for now remember, “The only people we have to get even with are those that have helped us.” And until I see you again, “Play Purdy”
Pier Park Walmart Grand Opening March 13th
In my sneak peak last week, I showed you the new Pier Park Walmart was getting super close to completion. They had inventory in stock and staff in place and everyone was charged for the grand opening. Yesterday the date was announced and they’ll ring in the new location next Wednesday, March 13, right in the middle of one of the biggest spring break weeks in Panama City Beach.
We just talked about the sales floor being about the same size as the “beach” Walmart, and with all the jobs it opened up, it’s sure to be a good economic driver for the area. And as commented in our previous article, it’s certainly the most aesthetically pleasing Walmart I’ve ever seen.
PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla., March 7, 2013 – Residents of Panama City Beach are invited to the new Walmart store, which opens on Wednesday, March 13, at U.S. Highway 98 and Powell Adams Road. The grand opening is scheduled for 7:30 a.m., and the store will open to the public immediately following the grand-opening ceremony. Conveniently located at Pier Park, the new store brings approximately 200 new jobs to the area and opportunities for savings for customers. It will be open 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
“We are delighted to have another Walmart superstore in our city,” said Mayor Gayle Oberst. “The design and location will help it to become a focal point as growth continues on the Panama City Beach Parkway. Walmart has been a great community partner in supporting our library and other aspects of community development and activities in the past and we look forward to years of working together.”
Ribbon-Cutting Celebration at 7:30 a.m., Wednesday, March 13
Community and business leaders will join Walmart associates at 7:30 a.m., Wednesday, March 13, for a brief ribbon-cutting ceremony.
Customers are encouraged to come to the store on grand-opening day to take advantage of a wide variety of events and promotions. The grand-opening celebration events include product samplings and giveaways from Australian Gold, Borden, Coca-Cola, Vita Coco, Community Coffee, Coppertone, Frito-Lay, Krispy Kreme, Lewis Bear Company, MillerCoors, Nabisco, and character appearances by Elsie the Cow, Cracker Jack and the Oreo Cookie. The Jack Link’s Truck will also be on site. All events are family-friendly, free and open to the public.
“Our associates are enthusiastic and look forward to serving the Panama City Beach community and providing everyday low prices and convenience,” said store manager Jennifer Ross. “We invite local residents to come see their new Supercenter at Pier Park and enjoy product samples and giveaways on grand opening day and throughout the following week.”
Customer Convenience and Wide Product Selection
By combining general merchandise and a full line of groceries in one convenient location, the store offers Panama City Beach shoppers the convenience of one-stop shopping close to home.
The new store features a wide assortment of quality, value priced merchandise, including:
- Family apparel
- Health and beauty aids
- Lawn and garden items
- Automotive products
- Home furnishings
- Sporting goods
- Pet supplies
The grocery area will include a wide selection of fresh produce, including organic products and a gluten-free section. Other features include a full bakery, meat and dairy products, dry goods and staples, beverages, a deli, frozen foods, canned and packaged goods, baking items and household supplies.
The pharmacy will offer a full range of products and services to support the health and wellness of customers and their families. The pharmacy team can answer questions and offer health and wellness solutions. They can also assist customers who wish to transfer their prescriptions to Walmart. The pharmacy is conveniently located at the front of the store next to the Walmart.com services department.
This store features many energy-saving elements, part of Walmart’s overall efforts to reduce the total amount of energy used in stores and other operations. These features include LED lights in signage, freezer cases and the parking lot. This technology uses about 50 percent less energy than traditional lighting.
Community Organizations Benefit from Grand-Opening Grants
Nonprofit organizations will also benefit from the retailer’s ongoing charitable contributions and support for community projects. As part of Walmart’s commitment to the communities in which it operates, over $4,500 in grants from Walmart and the Walmart Foundation will be presented to local organizations at the grand opening. Organizations receiving grants include Covenant Hospice, Inc., Gulf Coast Children’s Advocacy Center, Junior League of Panama City, Inc., Panama City Beach Library Foundation, Inc. and Surfside Middle School.
Healthier Food and “Great For You”
Walmart made a major commitment to make food healthier and healthier food more affordable, ensuring families won’t have to choose between a product that is good for them and one they can afford. Steps in the healthier food initiative include:
- Reformulate thousands of packaged food items by 2015 by reducing sodium and added sugars and removing all remaining industrially produced trans fats.
- Make healthier choices more affordable by providing savings on fresh produce and reducing the price premium on “better-for-you” items.
- Provide solutions to address food deserts by bringing stores in underserved communities.
- Increase charitable support for nutrition programs that help educate consumers about healthier food solutions and choices.
The “Great For You” icon appears on select Great Value and Marketside products as well as fresh and packaged fruits and vegetables. The icon was developed to help customers easily identify nutritious food options so they can make healthier eating choices for themselves and their families. For more information, visit corporate.walmart.com/healthier-food.
Walmart.com services will be available at the store’s entrance. In addition to a digital photo processing lab, the store will also offer two services for customers who shop online. Site-to-Store is a free service that allows customers to ship online orders from http://www.walmart.com free to any Walmart store for pickup. Pick Up Today is a free service that allows customers to order store items online and pick them up at their local Walmart store that same day (or the next day if items are ordered after 6 p.m. local time).
Pay With Cash
All Walmart stores and Walmart Neighborhood Markets participate in the “Pay With Cash” program. This allows customers to order online at Walmart.com and pay for the items with cash at all stores in the U.S. Walmart is the first major retailer to offer online purchases without the need for banking services or a credit, debit or prepaid card.
Economic Impact Includes Approximately 200 New Jobs
The new Panama City Beach Pier Park Walmart will employ approximately 200 associates, according to Ross. The average wage at Walmart for full-time hourly associates in Florida is approximately $12.81 per hour. * Eligible full- and part-time associates at Walmart are able to take advantage of many employment benefits, including a wide variety of health-care plans, 401(k) participation, discounts, membership at Sam’s Club and the opportunity to purchase stock. Nearly 75 percent of the company’s managers began their Walmart careers as hourly associates.
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE: WMT) helps people around the world save money and live better – anytime and anywhere – in retail stores, online, and through their mobile devices. Each week, more than 200 million customers and members visit our more than 10,600 stores under 69 banners in 27 countries and e-commerce websites in 10 countries. With fiscal year 2012 sales of approximately $444 billion, Walmart employs more than 2.2 million associates worldwide. Walmart continues to be a leader in sustainability, corporate philanthropy and employment opportunity. Additional information about Walmart can be found by visiting http://corporate.walmart.com, on Facebook at http://facebook.com/walmart and on Twitter at http://twitter.com/walmartnewsroom. Online merchandise sales are available at http://www.walmart.com and http://www.samsclub.com.
Powell Adams Road Traffic Light Activated.
In a press release this week, the City of Panama City Beach announced the new traffic light at the intersection of Panama City Beach Parkway, or Back Beach Road and Powell Adams Road has been activated. This light comes with the improvement of the Powell Adams Roadway (update forthcoming) that was a product of the Pier Park Walmart development and it’s projected resulting traffic increase in the area.
The light comes after years of traffic stress in the area and a recent speed limit drop from 55 mph to 45 mph. If you remember, there have been a number of car accidents at this intersection over the years with at least one reported fatality.
The light is activated, but the roadway isn’t fully open as they are finishing up the pavement work on Powell Adams, which is projected to be complete soon.
City of Panama City Beach – Motorists traveling Powell Adams Road will encounter the newly activated traffic signal at Starfish Street beginning Thursday March 7, 2013. The City will activate the new traffic signal around 10 am. This new signal is part of the Powell Adams Road Reconstruction Project.
Motorists are reminded to use caution while traveling through the newly signalized intersection.
Shoney’s in Pier Park is OPEN and it’s Delicious!
If you’re been looking for a fresh pick for your next breakfast, lunch or dinner, there’s a new kid on the block in Pier Park in West Panama City Beach. Shoney’s in Pier Park opened yesterday with their grand opening to take place next week. Today I had the opportunity to have a sit-down with one of their market leaders for lunch after a conversation with their CEO this morning.
Lunch was delicious, and their cordiality has been second to none. If they run their business half as well as they’ve treated me, they’ll be very successful indeed.
Ya know, I have to admit, with what little I knew about Shoney’s, I wasn’t particularly excited about one coming here. It’s not that I was unexcited, there just wasn’t any emotion at all.
But, since this is PCBDaily, and there’s an obligation to report on (if nothing else) something new, I figured I owed it to you; and them. My request for more information was interestingly responded to.
I was first called by the new Marketing Director of Pier Park, who told me someone from Shoney’s would be calling me. The next day I received a call from the Shoney’s Director of Marketing who said he was going to set up a call for me with the CEO. Reassuring him that a conversation with the CEO wasn’t necessary, it was insisted upon.
This morning I was connected with David Davoudpour, the CEO, who was just a flat-out nice guy. We had a great conversation for a few minutes and parted ways.
I texted the DOM for Shoney’s asking him if I could stop by for lunch and was treated to lunch by another senior staff member who spent more time with me than I do with any of my minions.
This morning, the CEO told me that they spend time and energy in community involvement, and I continued to feel that resounded over and over. Over the years, I’ve been treated to lunch, I’ve been given favors in hopes of a favorable word and the like, but they just made me feel good.
And I can tell you, they left a lifetime impression on me. And I’ll have no hesitation seeking them out when we travel or when we’re going out here locally.
This Shoney’s is different.
Naturally, when you see a larger brand enter into a market for the first time in a while, or if they open a new location, you’d expect them to try some things differently. This is no different.
The Shoney’s in Panama City Beach is doing a few things differently, but they’re staying true to the heritage their CEO emphasized to me this morning: that they offer “good value, family American dining.”
Some of the things they’re doing differently here include having a full steakhouse menu, full bar (beer and liquor), completely different ambiance, they have a Hometown Cafe (espresso, latte and mocha), and they have outside patio seating (that seats 60).
And another huge difference, and I mean huge in the literal sense, is that this is the largest Shoney’s they have, ringing in around 7,200 square feet.
The food and the prices.
When asked this morning what he thought Shoney’s was best known for, David Davoudpour told me “value, and fresh, quality food.” Rob, the representative that met me for lunch told me all the ingredients are fresh, nothing comes in frozen, and pointed to my onion rings stating they are all hand battered from fresh cut onions.
I have to admit, when Red Robin came in (right across the street), I was excited to try them, but I was disappointed in their price-point. I have a hard time taking my whole family there for less than $100. Remember, I have 5 kids.
When I was looking at the menu, I was impressed at the low cost of the items. It’s hard going out to eat around here without spending a fortune.
Davoudpour told me this morning that I had to try the burgers. So for lunch, I had an All American Burger, and was asked at the time of order whether I wanted pink or no pink. I chose pink and I was not let down. The burger was moist and tender, the bun was fantastic and the “fix ins” were perfect. The burger was perfectly adorned and it really was absolutely delicious.
As a side I got onion rings, and they were amazing as well.
My meal, with the water I ordered, would have been $6.99 plus tax. Not a bad lunch.
So, where are they?
Remember that Cantina Mexican restaurant across from Red Robin? They shut down and Shoney’s filled in their spot. They’ve spend the last couple months building and the inside looks great. They’ve filled it out nicely and they have plenty of room for professional groups (hello IdeaCamp) and private parties.
So, Shoney’s in Panama City Beach in Pier Park. Try it. It’s fantastic and totally receives the PCBDaily’s Stamp of Approval.
Three Great Deals on The Beach Show!
Hot deal #1. Lovely remodeled home on large fenced lot with lush landscaping-$319,000
3BD/2-1/2BA with beautiful remodeled kitchen with granite counters,
Manington floors in living areas, updated master BA with sitting area off master BD
Reconditioned in ground salt water pool, 2 outdoor storage rooms, many upgrades
(Courtesy of Miller & Associates)
Hot deal #2. Awesome town home on the desirable west end. $157,900
Like new built in 2011, 3BD/2-1/2BA, 1559 sq ft, granite kitchen counters, SS appliances
Nice large tile throughout living areas, screened in porch in back, 1-car garage
Great community pool and lots of green space, superb west end location
(Courtesy of Beachy Beach)
Hot deal #3. Wild Heron condo in The Courts section priced at $329,000
Beautiful 3BD/3-1/2BA w/2558 sq ft, 2-master BD w/one on the first floor
Hardwood floors through living areas, gas FP, upgraded appliances and granite
Decks in back overlooking nature preserve, enjoy all the amenities of Wild Heron
(Courtesy of Beachy Beach)
Times they are a changing!!! Return to a Sellers market
Existing-home sales inched up again during January, according to a recent report by the National Association of REALTORS (NAR). Existing-home sales, which include recently purchased single family, townhomes, condominiums, and co-ops are on pace to reach 4.92 million annual units, up 9.1 percent compared to January of last year.
Hearing the words Seller’s market can create quite a stir so most of us are cautious of uttering those melodious words that sellers have been longing for. The market has changed quite markedly in the last year and even more so in the last 6 months. What was once clearly a Blue Light special for Real Estate has taken a turn. No longer can a buyer do some of the things they have done for the past 5 or more years due to a drastic reduction in inventory.
Some of the habits of buyers may not work to their advantage anymore so I thought we could address a few of buyer practices. The first one is those good ole low ball offers. There was once a time when the seller was so anxious about selling and competing with the short sales and foreclosures that they would bite their lips and counter those low ball offers. In the past few months I have seen many a seller just not even address the offer. The danger for the buyer is that once you give a disrespectful way below market offer the seller does not take you serious and worst yet while the buyer is angling for a steal of a deal …. a more sincere buyer waltzes in and snags the home.
When the market was flourishing with inventory buyers would have plenty of time to sleep on it and even sleep on it for days, weeks and even months. Thankfully those days are gone because while you are sleeping, someone else is packing up and moving in the house you were secretly loving but hankering for that better deal. Granted there are many homes that stay on the market for a while but frankly if priced to the market, in a good neighborhood and in good condition the home should sell quite quickly now.
Another buyer mistake that has lost many a home for the would be home owner is flooding the contract with contingencies. The cleaner and neater and without ambiguities the easier for the seller to take the deal. I am a real lover of AS IS contracts ( more on that later) because it takes the guess work out of the deal, you either want it or you don’t. Of course this is not a hard and fast rule but the less complicated the deal the easier it is to make it to the finish line with everyone’s sanity in tact.
I guess we are really doing this backwards because one of the most important things that a buyer can have ready is their prequalification letter in hand. House hunting before you are knowledgeable about what you qualify for is a loosing proposition for everyone. Your agent does not want to get you all excited about 300,000 houses if your budget is for 200,000. Most sellers are wanting that letter in hand before they even accept your offer so be ready so you can get the home that you want for the price that you are comfortable with.
So if you have to sum it up so that the happy home owner gets the pick of the litter quite simply remember do these 4 things:
- Make a respectable offer based on the market and condition of the home with the help of your favorite Real Estate agent
- Know what you want when you are looking so that when you find it you can act quickly with inspection periods of course.
- Make a clean offer with a minimum period for inspections.
- Have your financing in order
Now… Ready… Set …GO….. Call your favorite Real Estate agent after you have visited with your favorite banker and soon you should be loading and unloading boxes and enjoying your new home. Thanks for letting me share little knowledge and some joy and until next week remember, “The only people we have to get even with are those that have helped us.”
Spring Break is Here – Total List of Schools on Break
Every year the weather warms, the skies clear and the college kids go on break, flocking to the beach. And after a few months of studies, who can blame them? You know I’ve had a tattered relationship with spring break, and consistent with many in the community, I cringe at the thought of what some of them do while they are here. However, being in the Panama City Beach vacation rental business (shameless SEO plug), I know first hand that spring breakers are just about the only business to be had during the month of March.
Technically, Spring Break started the last week in February. But this week is the first real week of the season with the majority of the traveler influx starting next week.
Total list of schools on spring break this week (2-9).
Ball State University (In)
Boston College (Ma)
Bowling Green State University (Oh)
Central Michigan University
College Of Charleston (Sc)
College Of William & Mary (Va)
Columbus State University (Ga)
Duke University (Nc) Mar 3-17
Eastern Michigan University
Emerson College (Ma)
Florida Atlantic University
Geaorgetown University (Dc)
Grand Valley State University (Ma)
James Madison University (Va)
Loyola University Of Chicago
Michigan State University
Northeastern University (Ma)
Northern Michigan University
Pennsylvania State University
Santa Fe Community College (Fl)
Southern Illonois University – Edwardsville
Universite Laval (Qb, Ca)
University Of Central Florida
University Of Florida
University Of Michigan
University Of Mobile (Al)
University Of North Carolina – Charlotte
University Of Pennsylvania
University Of South Dakota
Valencia Community College (Fl)
Vanderbilt University (Tn)
Villanova University (Pa)
Virginia Western Community College
West Virginia University
Western Michigan University
Total list of schools on spring break NEXT week (9-16).
Belhaven University (Ms)
Bentley University (Ma)
Boston University (Ma)
Bridgewater State University (Ma)
Duke University (Nc) Mar 3-17
East Tennessee State University
Eastern Illonois University
Eastern Kentucky University
Emory Uiversity (Ga)
Ferris State University (Ma)
Florida State University
Geaorge Wahington University (Dc)
Harding University (Ar)
Howard University (Dc)
Illonois State University
Indiana State University
Iona College (Ny)
Liberty University (Va)
Miami University – Oxford (Oh)
Middle Tennesee State University
Misouri State University
Mississippi State University
North Carolina State University
North Dakota State University
Northern Illonois University
Ohio State University
Old Dominion University (Va)
Purdue University (In)
Sam Houston State University (Tx)
Southern Illonois University – Carbondale
St. Cloud State University (Mn)
St. Louis University (Mo)
Syracuse University (Ny)
Temple University (Pa)
Tennessee State University
Texas A&M University
Texas State University
Texas Tech University
Troy State University(Al)
University Of Bridgeport (Ct)
University Of Idaho
University Of Kentucky
University Of Louisville (Ky)
University Of Memphis
University Of Miami (Fl)
University Of Mississippi
University Of North Carolina – Chapel Hill
University Of North Dakota
University Of Notre Dame (In)
University Of Pittsburg (Pa)
University Of Rochester (Ny)
University Of South Alabama
University Of South Carolina
University Of South Florida
University Of Southern Indiana
University Of Southern Mississippi
University Of Texas – Austin
University Of Utah
University Of Virginia
Utah State University
Virginia Tech University
Webster University (Mo)
Western Illonois University
Western Kentucky University
Winthrop University (Sc)
New Walmart Set to Open Next Week
Spring is in the air, can’t you smell it? Flowers are getting ready to boom, the weather is warming (wait, did it ever cool off?) and there is a new Walmart opening in Panama City Beach. Nope, they aren’t replacing the old Walmart, this will be in addition to the other Walmart, colloquially referred to as “The Beach Walmart.”
I swear I had found some article substantiating a claim that the Beach Walmart was the highest in volume sales nationally for Walmart Corp, but I can’t find it now, so maybe that was all a dream. But, General Manager Jennifer Ross (the Beach Walmart’s former GM and the new GM at the Pier Park Walmart) mentioned that possibly the claim I was referring to was total in beer and liquor volume sales.
Last week I had the opportunity to tour the new Walmart with Store Manager Jennifer Ross. A firm opening date will be announced this week, but Ross expects they’ll be ready to open next week.
Let’s talk about what’s different.
The big question everyone has had about this new Walmart is what the difference is between it and the existing Walmart. With the existing Walmart ringing in at around 220,000 square feet, the new Walmart is about 70% of that size, just over 156,000 square feet. Naturally, one would think the new Walmart is smaller than the other one, offering less of a selection, but there are a few things that the new Walmart doesn’t have that accounts for that lost square footage.
One huge component the new Walmart doesn’t have, that accounts for a large amount of the square footage difference is the Tire and Lube center. Additionally, there is almost no tenant space in the new Walmart, with the exception of a Subway and Airbrush. The Beach Walmart has an Eye Center, Nail Salon and other tenant space at the front of the store.
Walking around the inside of the store, it really feels every bit as large as the other Beach Walmart.
Other things that are new to this Walmart.
One of the things I love about the new Walmart is that they kept the exterior design completely consistent with that of Pier Park. We’d been seeing signs of this all along, but it was something, as a community, I’ve heard concern of.
- Implementation of sustainability features, including
- Freezer motion sensor lights
- Cycling overhead lights
- Energy efficient refrigeration
- Concrete floors
- Recycled composite counters that look like granite
- All touch-screen registers
- Bull-pen style self check-out with 8 registers
- Drive-through pharmacy
- A/C ducts for Outdoor Center cashiers
- Big Ass Fans in Outdoor Center (you’ll just have to go see them, that’s really their name)
Right now they’re looking to hire about 50 more people for the season claiming they’ll employ about 250 people seasonally and 250 people normally the rest of the year.
Economically, this is pretty huge. This one installment literally added over 200 jobs locally and will definitely supplement the city’s tax revenue bucket offing a diversified shopping opportunity for travelers on the west end of Panama City Beach.