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.

Press release.

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.

Grand-Opening Events

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
  • Electronics
  • Toys
  • Lawn and garden items
  • Jewelry
  • Automotive products
  • Home furnishings
  • Hardware
  • Sporting goods
  • Pet supplies
  • Housewares

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

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.

About Walmart

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.

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.

First Impressions.

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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.

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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.

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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?

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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.

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:

  1. Make a respectable offer based on the market and condition of the home with the help of your favorite Real Estate agent
  2. Know what you want when  you are looking so that when you find it you can act quickly with inspection periods of course.
  3. Make a clean offer with a minimum period for inspections.
  4. 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)
Valparaiso University(In)
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).

Auburn University(Al)
Belhaven University (Ms)
Bentley University (Ma)
Boston University (Ma)
Bridgewater State University (Ma)
Colgate University
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)

Hey Grandma! Southwest Airlines Announced Direct Flights from St. Louis for 2013

Hey St. Louis residents, looking for a cheap way to get to the beach?  Southwest Airlines just announced direct flights from St. Louis to Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport (ECP) starting March 9th and going through August 10th.  They experimented with daily flights last year from the great midwest to Panama City Beach, and obviously it was successful enough to warrant doing it again!

Last year they ran the non-stop flights from June to August.

So, Grandma, pack your bags, I’m flying you to the beach!

Full Press Release.

PANAMA CITY, FL (February 27, 2013) – After a successful trial in 2012, Southwest Airlines is bringing back a nonstop flight from Northwest Florida Beaches International Airport (ECP) to Lambert-St. Louis International Airport (STL). The route begins March 9th and will run every day through August 10th, covering the busy spring break and summer travel seasons in Northwest Florida.

Southwest tested the seasonal flight from June through August of last year and achieved great results. During its two month run, Southwest carried about 16,000 passengers on the roundtrip route between Panama City Beach and St. Louis.

“We are very happy about the return of the nonstop flight to St. Louis,” said Airport Executive Director John Wheat. “St. Louis is a fantastic destination for our locals to visit and at two hours flight time, it makes visiting Panama City Beach much more convenient for those in the Midwest.”

The initial March 9th flight is scheduled to depart from Panama City Beach at 10:05 a.m. while the first flight in is scheduled for a 2:45 p.m. arrival. Subsequently, the route’s regular departure time is 12:05 p.m. with arrival at 2:05 p.m.

Tickets can be purchased online at http://www.southwest.com.

Ever Seen a 90lbs Amber Jack?

Now every offshore angler loves a good tale of dedication, careful planning and a skillfully executed record catch…. this is not that tale. Those guys were somewhere else and we were all that was available. So here is what happened instead.

So this story really starts back before Christmas when several friends and I went spearfishing way offshore in 150′ of water.  On that trip we got some very large amberjacks (69lbs and 82lbs) and I was pretty sure I saw a cubera snapper for just an instant in the low visibility. I was willing to concede that I could have been suffering  from narcosis due to the depth. I was pretty sure its tail was as tall as my torso from hip to shoulder though and I got a really good look at the scales.  But I had doubts about what my own eyes were reporting so we didn’t back dive the site that day. That split second has haunted me ever since and I made up my mind that at the very least almacos and AJs were worth going back for a second peek. A month later we finally got our break in the weather and my charter boat wasn’t booked so we headed out to the deep reef.

This is the same spot I saw the cubera last time. My buddy and I prepare to dive, double checking our gear and that our Go Pros are recording. This spot is just at 150′ to the sand and sometimes the current out here can get pretty extreme, so we always drop the marker buoy at the same time the divers hit the water to eliminate any lateral swimming in the column that you might have to do if the current has already pushed it far off the top of the site. Well that’s well and good except the last guys to run a spearfishing trip on my boat must have had the buoy get snagged as there was no weight and only about 50′ of line on it. We will have just 15 minutes of bottom time before we will have to ascend due to the amount of nitrogen we will have absorbed into our bodies. So as we prepare to dive bomb the ledge we hope for great visibility and no current so we can see and easily swim to the reef.   Fate was on our side though, vis is 60′ or better and the dark limestone stands out starkly against the sand below us as we kick past 70′ and get swallowed in a swarm of Almaco jacks. 70 or more almaco jacks envelope us for the entire dive from this point until we return to the surface.

The top of the limestone is in about 126′ deep and as we get the lay of the land hovering over the high side of the break , some truly large and very curious AJs start creeping by us amidst the Almacos. On any other trip I would be slinging steel into the Almacos, but I am a man on a mission. I came for my date with a cubera snapper and that is all I care about. Copper belly gags are visible in the distance warily watching us as well. I ignore them as soon as I can make out their body shape as grouper. Cubera are the holy grail of Gulf Spearfishermen because they are fast, strong, smart and incredibly wary.  He isn’t out in the open, so I decide to check under the ledge which also holds a small cave that we have yet to explorer more than 10′ into.  As I drop down and kick on the bayonet style mounted flashlight on my Ocean Rhino I don’t see anything under the 10′ ledge UNTIL…. a 120lb baby goliath grouper shoots out and silts up the whole ledge reducing the visibility to zero.  RATS!!

I take the moment to collect the 2 halves of a broken fishing rod that has been laying in the sand and then decide that the Cubera will have to wait for another day as I am not about to crawl into a cave at the bottom of the ocean with zero visibility and hope to corner several fish as large as I am. So plan B was to get a nice jack.  So with our nitrogen limit rapidly approaching, I decide to get off the bottom to preserve my remaining minutes of the dive. Almacos and a few really nice amberjacks that look better than 40lbs are circling in range. I start to load my spearshaft and notice one of the big jacks eying me and actually swimming towards me!  I stop watching it and just focus on loading, knowing it is going to be right on top of me when I band the gun. Sure enough, the AJ comes with in 5′ of me. I try to line up for the sweet spot; the fish actually gets closer and swims between me and the low piece of the ledge forcing it on a completely predictable path. I pull the trigger with my thumb, the AJ is just a few feet off the spear tip.  I prepare myself for the epic war that usually happens when a diver shoots a large, powerful fish.  My plan was to try to get a hand in the fish’s gills and scissor lock my legs around his tail to immobilize it and then finish it with my dive knife. The fish will buck and head butt me in the face to get me to let go if I can grab it.  I have had my nose busted, mask broken and regulator ripped out of my mouth in the past.

Anticlimactically due to the closeness of the fish, my shot instantly turns his lights off and there is no struggle. I quickly secure my fish to my stringer and double check on my buddy. He is also holding a nice Almaco on his stringer and we begin our ascent. I decide to launch my fish to the surface on a lift bag to the waiting boat and we slowly ascend with me thinking how awesome the dive would have been if we could have gotten the cubera.

When we get on the boat I am amazed to see the jack laid out and taking up the entire 320quart cooler with its tail curled up the side. It is completely obscuring the two 45lb jacks and several scamp that our other divers got on their dive site earlier. I grossly underestimated its size on the bottom. The guys on the boat are still complaining about having to lift it into the cooler.

Back at the Bay Point Marina we use their Retired billfish weigh tower to mount our digital scale and figure out exactly how big this fish is….. and it turns out to be my biggest to date at 89.5lbs! Proving once again it is far better to be lucky than good. Even better, upon reviewing the camera footage you can clearly see the large Cubera snapper make a break into the cave earlier in the dive, I never noticed it in the open but there it was! So we’ll be back out on the deep reef as soon as the weather clears.

Short of going to the Keys or Hawaii, Panama City Beach has some of the best diving in the country.  Want to dive Panama City?  Visit PanamaCityDiving.com

Need Ideas for your Business? You HAVE to Attend IdeaCamp Next Week

Just a few short months ago, I enthusiastically accepted an invitation to join the Navigator committee with the Panama City Beach Chamber of Commerce. In our very first meeting I was greeted with excitement about past accomplishments, but also a desire for something new and a fresh direction for the future. The previous two years of the Navigator committee focused on Lunch and Learn workshops, and while considered a success, the committee decided something new was needed to keep us on our toes.

Our first order of business? We changed the name. The Navigator Committee is now IdeaWorks and our new venue for learning is named after what we want to accomplish – to walk away with new ideas from others’ stories of success. And the name of that venue? IdeaCamp.

What is IdeaCamp?

When we were brainstorming, we all seemed to agree of the the principle and format of BarCamps. BarCamps are (from Wiki) “an international network of user-generated conferences. . . They are open, participatory workshop-events, the content of which is provided by participants.”

The object is to get together and have a loose structure of volunteer speakers that share 10 to 15 minutes of success-driven stories and experiences that could provide inspiration for those listening to help them in whatever way is relevant.

The IdeaWorks IdeaCamps will be held monthly, evening time, in Panama City Beach and will feature professionals from all walks of life sharing what they do best and why it works. And the attendees will walk away with ideas to help them grow their business, enhance their career, do more business and/or be more effective employees.

3 reasons you should come.

1 – Social and networking time

It’s in the evening, after work, food and beverages will be served and all you’re friends will be there for you to socialize and network with.

2 – The Big idea you’ve been waiting for

If you’re looking for new ideas for your business, you need to come. Attendees will be hearing from me, Cebo, Karen Smith and several others that have amazing success stories to share. The best way to get new ideas to grow your business is to hear what others are doing and share some experiences of your own. Plus, hearing the thought process of others always sparks ideas of my own. If you think you know everything, I can assure you, you don’t. There is always something to learn, and someone else is always doing something you can learn from!

3 – An opportunity for you to share what you know

Think of this like an open mic night. You don’t have to preregister or signup, if you want to speak, just come ready and sign up when you walk in the door. There will be a sign up board for a 15 minute slot and you can share whatever you want. Although self promotion is discouraged, if you’ve had a success story that you think will help others or some inspirational guidance, bring it!

When, where and does it cost?

The first IdeaCamp will be held at Kingfish Restaurant at the Bay Point Wyndham (map link) on January 31st, 2013 from 5 to 7 pm. Southwest Airlines is the presenting sponsor.

IdeaCamp is free for Chamber members, but there is a small cost for non-members of $20 (to help cover costs), which can be paid at the door.

Sealab Restoration Oyster Bash THIS SATURDAY

If you love oysters, sea-life, and the history of diving, you have to come out this weekend to the Man in the Sea Museum’s Sealab Restoration Project Oyster Bash Saturday, January 26th.  They are on a mission to restore the first underwater experimental saturation habitat.

This is from the Facebook Event Page.

Sealab Restoration Project Oyster Bash January 26, 2013 from 1:00 PM – 8:00 PM

Purchase your Man in the Sea Museum Oyster Bash Tickets and enjoy all-you-can-eat raw and steamed oysters, hot dogs, and sides. The Man in the Sea Museum is home to Sealab 1, the first underwater experimental saturation habitat, developed by the United States Navy. The knowledge acquired from the Sealab 1 Project played a vital role in shaping the worldwide commercial diving industry and we need your help in restoring and preserving this important piece of diving history.

The Bash will be located at The Dive Lab (across from Panama Jacks) 1415 Moylan Rd. Donate $25 for all-you-can-eat oysters — Hot dogs available for kids. Sponsor a table for $500 get 10 tickets and 10 beer mugs!

For more information call 850-235-4101

Aaron Bessant Park Amphitheater COMPLETED

We’ve been watching the progress and anxiously awaiting the finished product for months, and the Aaron Bessant Park Amphitheater officially received it’s Certificate of Occupancy last Friday. Having lunch at Pier Park Wednesday, I overheard them sound testing and stopped by to check it out.

Once I got there, I found Pro Tech (the sound and lighting masterminds behind the PCB Seafood Fest and many of the other events you’ve spectated in our area) with speakers hung, lighting in the progress of being hung, all to test the new infrastructure and play with the setup.  They were rocking out to AC/DC and Mario Gisbert (the new City Manager) and other local officials with the City of Panama City Beach were there to witness the tests.

The concept renderings of the building were pretty, but the finished building is really a spectacle to behold.  The colors are vibrant and the style closely matches the motif Pier Park set precedent for years earlier and the architectural features are clean and beautiful.  It was fun walking through it as it felt like that new shiny car that you’re test driving for the very first time.

They said the first scheduled event is in April for the Seabreeze Jazz Festival and they tentatively have the Panama City POPs scheduled for a performance there later in the spring.

Here is a breakdown of all the features of this new amphitheater.

Here are other posts related to the Pier Park Aaron Bessant Park Amphitheater.

Pictures

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From this view, you can see the paved driveway that will allow access for performer’s vehicles and loading trucks.

 

IMG_7662_3_4_fusedwtmkThis is from the back of the stage looking out, to the north and slightly to the east.  The covered stage area is very large, much larger than some of the pop-up stages that we’ve seen here in the past.

 

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This is obviously from the front-west side.  The white panel you see is a place for a projector to project video of performances.  Behind that panel is the dressing rooms and admin office.

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This is looking at the opposite side of the amphitheater.  The white panel here is the same as the other side and there is a large loading area perfect for anything up to a semi-truck trailer to unload.

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This view shows the back of the structure.  You can see how polished everything is.  That large green area in the middle are those huge hangar doors that open up completely and allow the Seabreeze come through.

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Seabreeze Jazz Festival Announces 2013 Jazz Fest Lineup

Every year the Seabreeze Jazz Festival brings smooth tunes with sea breeze to Northwest Florida provided by renowned artists and classy performances. In the past we’ve had artists like George Benson, Brian Culbertson and Eric Darius and this year’s lineup promises to be as entertaining as ever.

This year’s Seabreeze Jazz Festival will be held at the newly completed Aaron Bessant Park Ampitheater (which looks amazing) April 17 – 21, 2013.

Tickets can be bought by visiting SeabreezeJazzFestival.com/tickets.

Here’s the lineup.

Wednesday April 17th

Smooth Jazz Dinner Cruise aboard The Lady Anderson
Treasure Island Marina, Panama City Beach, FL
Hosted by Brian Culbertson 7pm-10pm
(Boat boards at 6:30pm, sails at 7pm)

Thursday April 18th — Gates open at 5pm — Show at 6pm

6pm – Steve Oliver

7:15pm – Margo Rey

8:45pm – Boney James

Friday April 19th — Gates open at 5pm — Show at 6pm

6pm – Ken Ford

7:30pm – Tim Bowman

8:45pm – Fourplay
(Bob James, Harvey Mason, Nathan East, and Chuck Loeb) with special guest Layla Hathaway

Smooth Jazz After Party — 10:30pm at Reggae J’s at Pier Park (buffet at 10:30pm/Show at 11pm) featuring Motown Jazz Jam — Hosted by Tim Bowman
(Presented by Smooth Lounge.com)

Motor City’s top smooth jazz artists and session players create the ultimate jazz jam show. Artists confirmed include Dave McMurray, Althea Rene, Ron Otis, Rayse Biggs, Yancyy, Ron Otis, Al Mackenzie, Paul Dozier, Gwen Foxx, William Pope, Kali Douglas, and Kereem Warren.

Saturday April 20st — Gates at 10am — Show at 11am

11am Brian Lanair — (Seabreeze Rising Star)

12:30 DW3 — (Los Angeles based smooth jazz group)

2pm – Peter White and Euge Groove

4pm – Peet Project (Hugarian based jazz and funk – 1st USA show) (Seabreeze Hidden Gem)

6pm – Brian Culbertson

8pm – BwB (Norman Brown, Kirk Whalum, and Rick Braun)

After Party — 10:30pm at Reggae J’s at Pier Park featuring Brian Culbertson and special guests (Presented by SmoothJazz.com)

Sunday April 21st — Gates at 10am — Show at 11am 

11am – Roman Street

12 noon – The Southern Gentlemen featuring Joey Sommerville, Michael Ward, and Eric Essix

2pm – Yancyy (Seabreeze Rising Star)

4pm – Average White Band

6pm – Jazz In Pink featuring Pamela Williams, Athea Rene, Karen Briggs, Gail Jhonson, Maria Antionette, and others

8pm – Tower of Power