PENSACOLA • PENSACOLA BEACH • PERDIDO KEY
Youcouldbeeligible forrebateson: Efficientheatingequipment Insulation AirSealant GasWaterHeaters EnjoyyourHometothe EnjoyyourHometothe FullestExtent! FullestExtent! Have you noticed your energy bills starting to Haveyounoticedyourenergybillsstartingto stack up more than they had before? It may be stackupmorethantheyhadbefore?Itmaybe time to get an energy audit on your home. You timetogetanenergyauditonyourhome.You may even qualify for rebates! mayevenqualifyforrebates! Give us a call today to set up for your Giveusacalltodaytosetupforyour free free whole-home energy audit! whole-homeenergyaudit! 850-203-0998 - ParadiseHomeServices.com 850-203-0998-ParadiseHomeServices.com Getafree energy audittoday Getafree energy audittoday
Christian Healthcare: being Christian-based is critical in our mission to provide the highest quality healthcare. Residents will enjoy our optional daily bible study, Sunday church services and Christian sing-a-longs.
Affordable Prices: All Inclusive: 3 meals, snacks, medication management, housekeeping, activities, cable, wi-ﬁ (no hidden cost).
Highly Trained Staff: specially for dementia residents, 24/7 assistance and care. As well as fully functioning security cameras inside our facility to enable WMC to remotely monitor our residents ensuring their health and safety.
Convenience: to hospitals, shopping centers and restaurants
Financial Programs: VA, long term, and others
Daily Living Assistance: Along with individually assisting in personal hygiene, our housekeeping staff does an incredible job to ensure cleanliness. Each member of our staff is also trained to accommodate the needs of difﬁcult behaviors.
Beautiful Surroundings: A calm mind begins with peaceful surroundings. Our landscaping crew does an outstanding job of maintaining our lawns and foliage. Relax both inside and out where fresh air is accompanied by beautiful resting areas.
WWW.WINDERMEREMC.COM 850.477.1600 · 7901 KIPLING STREET, PENSACOLA, FL 32514
Schedule a Tour Today! 850.477.1600 Meet our Windermere
“Taking Care of ose Who Took Care of Us.”
Tyrah Young Marketing Director
Shevonne Brown Administrator
Synthia King Assistant Administrator Teresa Moffett Healthcare Coordinator
Family Owned and Operated 6235 N. Davis Hwy Pensacola, FL 32504 (850) 637-1123 PetlandPensacola THANK YOU FOR VOTING US BEST PET STORE 6 YEARS IN A ROW! 415 Mary Esther Cut Off NW Fort Walton Beach, FL 32548 (850) 796-2424 PetlandFortWaltonBeach Come Play with Our Pets
events departments contents Green Perspectives Swizzle Coastal Cuisine Style Give Care Share Locale I Am Pensacola 18 28 48 58 64 68 74 Publisher Greg Alexander Associate Publisher Verla Price Publisher’s Assistant Nicole Partridge Advertising Stephanie Alvarez Harmony Henry Kristin Mofﬁtt Verla Price Anna McGauley Stockton Graphic Designers Patti Hall Alicia Noble JT Pearce Art Director Priscilla Atkins Content Creator Anna Stockton Contributing Writers/ Photographers Steve Black Kevin Houghton Carter Lackey Nicole Partridge Anna McGauley Stockton VIP Founder Jeff Watson VIP Pensacola Staff Volume VIII • Issue III Believing in Girls Gala - A Night of Dreams Krewe Parade A er Party Cordova Mall Ball 2023 Nonproﬁt Summit Krewe Of Pierrettes Mardi Gras Ball 2023 Communi-Tee Cup Tournament PSO Guild Celebrating 50th Anniversary Pawdi Gras AlltogetHER Businesswomen’s Event Chappie James Museum 2023 Annual Gala Fundraiser Krewe of Avant Garde 40th Anniversary Pirates of Lost Treasure Mardi Gras Flotilla Fat Tuesday Celebration 11 15 21 26 30 33 39 45 50 55 61 66 71
6 | VIPPensacola.com Suze & Brian Finger at Believing in Girls Gala ~ A Night of Dreams on the cover Photography by Kevin L Houghton Business Proﬁle: Arcadia Senior Living Pace Business Proﬁle: Crescent Luxury & Financial Proﬁles Florida’s Volatile Prosperty Insurance Market 24 36 43 52 features
Be on the lookout for our VIP Pensacola Ambassadors, Shelley & Steve Black, at area events.
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Expand Your Horizons – Travel!
At VIP Pensacola March is one of our busiest months, as people are eager to get out of their homes and participate in social events. I laugh to myself as I write that; February was a whirlwind of activity, and yet we know the next month will be even more hectic. In this issue, you will see that our team covered a variety of events, from Mardi Gras parties to a non-pro t summit. As we move through the next few weeks, our photographers will be at events such as the St. Patrick’s Day Pub Crawl, the Fur Ball, and the Women’s Empowerment Awards, to name a just a few.
As tourists plan their trips to visit us at the beach, I’m curious to know what some of you have planned for your annual vacations. Obviously, we all go to different places for our vacations, so I’m interested to hear where you’ve been. Every adventure should leave you with great memories to share. Drop me a note if you have some good memories to share.
I eagerly anticipate the nal weekend of March, as it marks the start of my annual adventure motorcycle ride in the mountains. Every year I travel to Tennessee to reunite with old friends and revel in the beauty of the mountains, streams, and forests. Riding on dirt roads and trails provides me with a unique perspective of the area, allowing me to witness and experience things that the average tourist would never come across. As I ride along, I can’t help but think of the classic Southern meals that await me at the local eateries nestled in the Appalachian Mountains. I know I won’t be losing any weight as I indulge in fried chicken, cornbread, and Memphisstyle barbecue.
I hope you enjoyed VIP Pensacola Live Edition which aired on local Blab TV channels, online, and on social media in February. Our VIP Pensacola Ambassadors, Steve and Shelley Black, are thourghly enjoying hosting this monthly show. Watch VIP Pensacola’s social media pages for the air times of the March show.
If you know of a non-pro t or charity holding an event you would like to see featured in VIP Pensacola, please call me. Our mission at VIP Pensacola is to support as many non-pro t causes as possible. Follow VIP Pensacola on our social media channels and follow me on Facebook @VerlaParsonsPrice.
Thank YOU for supporting VIP Pensacola; please be kind, courteous, and shop local.
letter from the Associate Publisher 8 | VIPPensacola.com
Believing in Girls Gala A Night of Dreams
It was a packed house on January 27 at Sanders Beach-Corinne Jones Resource Center for the Believing in Girls Gala. Last year’s Inaugural Girl’s Gala event set the bar, and this year was even higher. The event space was beautifully decorated with balloons, and attendees were elegantly dressed for the occasion. Sponsors and attendees from Escambia and the Santa Rosa communities joined together and supported this event. The PACE Center for Girls values all girls regardless of their background and helps them to become strong, young women. PACE believes each one deserves an opportunity to ﬁnd her voice, achieve her potential, and celebrate a life deﬁned by responsibility, dignity, serenity, and grace. Appetizers were severed during cocktail hour, followed by a plated dinner consisting of salad, slow roasted beef short rib with wild mushroom and tomato ragout, B.B.Q. shrimp, smoked gouda grits souﬀlé, and wood grilled asparagus bundles and blistered heirloom tomatoes with balsamic blaze. Complementing dinner was a variety of diﬀerent pies and cakes to choose from. Six Piece Suits band was on stage to entertain the crowd and an auction was conducted by Brent Lane.
photos & story by Kevin L Houghton
VIP Pensacola at Sanders Beach-Corinne Jones Resource Center
Ben & Amber Gordon
Justin & Kristen Deese
Stacy Balka, Julie Zabcik, Jennifer Mohanco, Lauren Gaddy, Donna Dickey, Keri Medlock, Kim Franklin, Bromli Breedlove & Melissa Goeller
Brian & Cristina Williams
Bill & Dawn Wein
Gary Michaels & Cheryl Saiter
March 2023 | 11
Jen Bollinger & Juli Fitzgerald
VIP Pensacola at Believing in Girls Gala ~ A Night of Dreams
Dr. Jocelyn Leveque & Cathy Butler
Laurie Rodgers & Pat Parmley
Evan Jordan, Mary Gamble, Justine Simoni & Kathy Ostrander
Jeﬀ Forth & Elaine Cra
Jen & Brett Smith
Julie Massey, Beverly Quenneville, Ann Scott, Tracy Rowe & Barb Barrow
Suze & Brian Finger
12 | VIPPensacola.com
Blair Crooke & John Hooten
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March 2023 | 13
Paige Hering, Laura Cole & Gaye Overholtz
Krewe Parade After Party
The Krewe of Lafitte Mardi Gras Parade was a huge hit as parade goers lined the streets to enjoy the festivities on February 17. Moon pies, beads, and stuffed animals were thrown from high atop floats to waiting hands below. But as the parade ended, the krewes descended on Seville Quarter for the parade after party. Hundreds of revelers enjoyed the after party and
the fun atmosphere Seville always provides. Music was playing as the krewes chatted, danced, and partied the night away. Friday night’s parade was the first of three parades that took place over the weekend. The Pensacola Grand Parade marched its way through downtown on Saturday afternoon and the local Mardi Gras celebrations went coastal for the Krewe of Wrecks parade on Sunday in Pensacola Beach.
photos & story by Kevin L Houghton
Brad Thomas & Tiﬀany Baker
Aaron & Catie Ales, Rachael Jones
Ashlee Warner & Camille Farmer
Amy Warrington, Megan Frederick, Bri Perdue, Brook Mueller & Kari Foxworth
Megan Frederick, Michelle Patterson, Kacee Bidnick, Janet Garrett & Adriana Wells
Mark & Jaime Slocumb
March 2023 | 15
Tara Painter & Taylor Keithahn
VIP Pensacola at Krewe Parade A er Party 16 | VIPPensacola.com
Reagan Caruso & Bob Stein
Wes Southern, Cecil McKnight & Rui Ramos
Leigh Pyle, Stacy Roberts, Cameron Pyle & Lynn Hargis
Carol Knight & Catherine Yoo
Heather Hedgepeth, Sanri Blignaut, Madelyn Bell & Celeste Bell
Natalie Holler & Greg Smith
Christa Parrish & Stephanie Turner
Mikki Fuqua & Stephanie Myers
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Front: Frances Williams, Erin Copeland, Mady Santora & Kassidy Stahl
March 2023 | 17
Joe Tobin, Bill Torrence & Joseph Tobin
I Want It All!!!!!
article by Steve R. Black
Every person who hears the words “luxury and nance” (the focus of this month’s article) will interpret their meaning a little di erently. The dictionary says that luxury is a condition of abundance. Finance is the study and discipline of currency and capital assets.
I would say that employing a landscape rm to maintain your landscape is de nitely a luxury. If you are included in those ranks, you join a surprising 40% of Americans with lawns who hired a rm to perform landscape services in the last year. There is no doubt that when our summer heats up, especially in July and August, the idea of heading outside to work on your yard can lead some to second guess their decision-making skills.
So, what does luxury in your landscape look like to you? If you have never had a lawn space, you may have a strong desire to have a large property with room to roam. In contrast, if you grew up on a farm you may have been pondering the many other ways you could be enjoying your day besides the seemingly endless manual labor. One’s life experiences plays a major role in their individual perspectives.
It’s all about perspective, so says local author Andy Andrews. His character, Jones, realized this fact upon visiting his young homeless friend living under the shing pier in Gulf Shores, Alabama. The young Andy was feeling sorry for himself and was mad at the world. While they sat eating a meal consisting of a can of sardines and Vienna sausages, Jones ips the script with his statement, “We are dining on surf and turf with an ocean view.”
One thing for sure is that societal evolution marches forward. What a current generation nds as perfection, the previous generation o en sees very di erently. As our population grows and we consume more of our natural resources, great e orts are being considered in the landscaping/irrigation arena to reduce our water usage and other environmental impacts. Recycling e orts will continue to evolve and there will be challenges and opportunities presented to the entrepreneur.
The nancial part of this equation is necessary and o en one does not realize the commitment of capital it takes to not only professionally design and install a beautiful landscape, but also provide the proper maintenance required to maintain the quality and thus the value of the landscape. A sizable property, complete with the outdoor amenities that most of us want, requires more capital resources (due to in ation and wage increases) than it did yesterday. That being said… I want my landscape and the landscapes of my clients to be not only beautiful, but memorable. I believe that our outdoor spaces are potentially more personally valuable than our indoor spaces. Typically, for instance, one will be pulled outside to fully embrace the feeling that may envelope us from viewing a perfect sunrise, sunset, or some other natural phenomenon. Seeing it from a window is simply not the same as feeling it. Since your health, both physical and mental, is your ultimate luxury… anything that helps preserve that condition should be considered. I o en wonder why we don’t do more to preserve our health since without it, the rest of life is discounted. I believe that we need to be outside connecting with nature as much as we can, and that conviction plays a large part in my decisions while designing and building an outdoor space.
If money grew on trees, I would de nitely be in a higher station nancially. I have yet to gure that one out. Nevertheless, a great landscape, no matter where you are located improves the value of your property. This value is realized not only by elevating the daily experience of its current occupants but, potential buyers as well. A beautiful landscape can add between 10-30% to a home’s overall value. This bene t should be considered not only a luxury, but a great nancial move as well.
Questions or comments ? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you think the cost of great design is expensive… you need to consider the cost of bad design.
Steve R. Black Practicing Agronomist and Landscape Design along the Gulf Coast for 36 years
The real voyage of discovery is not seeking new landscapes but in new eyes.
- Marcel Proust
The 27th Annual Cordova Mall Ball, presented by Sandy Sansing Dealerships, took place on January 28. This was the ﬁrst Cordova Mall Ball since COVID-19, and from the vendors to the bands to the attendees, everyone was excited for its return. Hundreds were dressed in masquerade and/or black tie for the event. Three bands entertained the crowds, including a second-line band, Starz and The Tommy Morse Band, who returned for this year’s ball, as well as a new lineup, The Six Piece Suits Band and The Blow House Brass Band from Mobile, Alabama. Over 50 food tasting tables from local area restaurants were available to enjoy. Many silent auctions, a French market and more were spread throughout the Cordova Mall.
To date, this event has generated more than $6.5 million for the Studer Family Children’s Hospital at Ascension Sacred Heart, a hospital dedicated to the care of children for more than 50 years. It is the only pediatric facility in the region. “This night is not just for fun, it is such an amazing evening, with a positive impact on the lives of so many in our community,” said Will Condon President of Studer Family Children’s Hospital.
VIP Pensacola at Cordova Mall March 2023 | 21
photos & story by Kevin L Houghton
Mikayla & Brandon Scapin, Jordan & Robin Shaﬀer
Nisarg & Katie Parikh
Sabrina Simpson, Elizabeth Anderson & Heide Lederman
Shelley & Steve Black
Lisa Little & Christina Robinson
Riece & Jessica Walton
VIP Pensacola at Cordova Mall Ball 22 | VIPPensacola.com
Heather Fitzgerald, Lindsey Addison & Amber Graham
2nd LT Philp & Ann Pardoe
Scott Wilson, Amanda Shupe, Jenna Peoples, Alyson & Aaron Oxendine
Christina Travis & Grogan White
David & Tarolyn Street, Carter Gaston
Michael Smith, Gloria Woolever, Ann Lauter, Kevin Richardson, Rhonda Steen & Shermaine Adkins
Will Morris & Stephanie Alvarez
Perry & Lori Zeringue
Dawn & Pat Sista
Arcadia Senior Living in Pace, Florida provides a residential community for older adults that promotes independence while meeting the needs of a changing lifestyle. We strive to foster meaningful connections with families and the community staff. The Arcadia team’s focus on honesty, integrity and compassion maintains the dignity and respect of each resident. The goal is to provide an enriched and supportive environment where all can live full and satisfying lives.
Independent Living is ideal for those who are ready to live with more time for socializing and enjoying an active lifestyle without all the chores that maintaining a home requires. Each apartment is spacious and includes weekly housekeeping and laundry services to allow our residents to focus on the many amenities available to them. Residents are welcome to join friends and family in the dining rooms for restaurant style meals. Regular recreational, educational, social activities, and outings promote an active engaging lifestyle. Arcadia’s open design and large community spaces offer a place to visit, play a game or connect with others. For others who may need additional support, assisted living is offered at Arcadia. The homelike environment is maintained while providing specialized care to meet the changing needs of our residents. Our caregivers are trained to provide support and assistance to help maintain the highest level of independence. Residents can enjoy a lifestyle that is both satisfying and rewarding. Partnership with local healthcare providers allows access to additional care, services and appointments. Safety of residents is a top priority. Additional monitoring and assistance provided ensures peace of mind knowing that loved ones are cared for in an appropriate setting. Advanced dementias such as Alzheimer’s or other medical conditions can create a need for memory care services provided in a more supportive environment. The Open Arms Neighborhood offers private apartments and includes family style dining with carefully selected menus. Sometimes memory loss can lead to wandering. The secured access to the Open Arms Neighborhood ensures residents are safe while allowing them to be mobile. The garden and walking path create a welcome place where loved ones can enjoy the outdoor beauty of the Arcadia community all while safe and secure. The Caregiving team at Arcadia are qualiﬁed to meet the daily care and needs of residents. They are trained in dementia care, activities of daily living, dignity, sundowning, wandering, challenging behavior, and family support.
story by Nicole Partridge | photos provided by Arcadia Senior Living Pace
“My parents became residents at Arcadia in December 2020. The director is experienced and outstanding. I am hearing wonderful compliments about the meals on a regular basis. The activities coordinator is a delight for the residents with numerous community activities. The staff is compassionate, caring, and responsive. I greatly appreciate the ability to increase care services when assistance is needed with medication administration to include memory care as they age. I enthusiastically recommend Arcadia when looking for an alternative for your loved ones.” -Ken
“This place is exceptionally clean, and the staff are all exceptional so far with our experience. We feel blessed to have Arcadia with the memory care that is speci c for our needs.”
“The staff at Arcadia in Pace are like part of our family. We trust them 110% with the care of my grandparents. I don’t know what we would do without Arcadia. Arcadia has been a true blessing to our family.”
Carol Ettelson Executive Director
“I am so pleased to be a part of the Arcadia Pace Community. Our experienced team is staffed with individuals that truly care about our residents and it shows. Please come visit us and you will see why our residents love to call Arcadia Pace home.” -Carol Ettelson
3343 Berryhill Road, Pace, FL 32571 | ArcadiaPace.com | OPEN Monay – Friday: 8 am to 5 pm
Whether you are interested in independent, assisted living or memory care options - Arcadia in Pace is a great place to live. See what others say about Arcadia:
Call Carol today at 850-905-9020 to schedule a tour and meet our caring team
Over 50 representatives from local nonpro ts gathered at Pensacola State College (PSC) for an educational and informative training on February 10. The Nonpro t Center for Excellence at PSC hosted the 2023 Nonpro t Summit. Attendees were welcomed and treated to an excellent keynote that challenged each to nd true joy while making an amazing impact in the Pensacola community.
The agenda was packed with dynamic speakers sharing key knowledge and tips. Andrea Krieger, Executive Director of Institutional Development with the PSC Foundation facilitated the series of experts through interactive dialogues and panel sessions. The day’s topics ranged from working with coalitions, business partners, donor relations, marketing, nancial and management best practices.
Andrea shared “I am very excited to see so many nonpro t professionals who are experts in their own right join us to learn from leaders in the industry.” The working lunch allowed for time to engage with corporate executives from Navy Federal Credit Union and Tallahassee Memorial Hospital Foundation. The afternoon closed with a social hour to celebrate new and longstanding network connections. The Nonpro t Center for Excellence at PSC offers workshops and training to strengthen nonpro t and philanthropic organizations. For more information visit npc.pensacolastate.edu.
photos & story by Nicole Partridge
VIP Pensacola at Pensacola State College
Jennifer Knisbell & Sharon Gaubert
Patience Weaver & Leah Donelan McDermott
Jennifer McFarren & Nigel Allen Ryan O’Keeley & Katie Ballard
Jackie Gheen & Denise Song
Yvonne Baboi & Nina Voges
Paula Shell & Lori Oswald
26 | VIPPensacola.com
Dave Murzin & Andrea Krieger
Nathan Thrower & Ellie Hartsﬁeld
Amy Stamey & Madrina Ciano
Melissa Cole & Mikenzie Francis
Melinda Heim & Arelia Laster
Jan Butts & Dr. Sherry Hartnett
Debbie Van Lierop & Lauren Pasqualone
Tonia Camardella & Jan Miller
Linda Finkelstein & Ed Stanford
Maegan Leonard & Becca Boles
March 2023 | 27
Genevieve Baughman & Kenita Mitchell
story by Anna McGauley Stockton
ognac has always had the reputation of being a bit stuffy, a drink for the upper crust of society to sip as they discuss their thoroughbred racehorses and whether they prefer their vacation home on Nantucket or the Hamptons. But times they are a changin’, and cognac is getting the attention it deserves for being a full-bodied, sophisticated drink, all thanks to most recently, ummmm, Busta Rhymes?
Cognac is in fact, a brandy, but a very speciﬁc one. Just as not all wine is champagne, not all whiskey is scotch, not all brandy is cognac. Brandy can not only be made anywhere in the world, but it can also be made using fermented fruits beyond just grapes, like apples, cherries, raspberries, and pears. Cognac, however, has strict rules to be worthy enough for its name. Cognac must be made in the Cognac region of France, more speciﬁcally, from the state of Charente, using grapes from that region as well. Most commonly used are the ugni blanc grapes. Wine made from these grapes is distilled twice then left to sit in French oak barrels for at least two years -- any less than two years and it cannot be called cognac. Once this process is over, the real fun can begin as some cognacs have special tasting committees. For example, a committee of seven people meet for two hours a day to taste samples of Hennessey Cognac and ensure consistent quality. It takes ten years of training before a person is allowed to be on this committee, and I would think part of this intense training is learning how to function for the rest of your day, once the sipping time is over.
Cognac distillers label their bottles based upon how long the products age in the French oak barrels. If you see VS on the label, that stands for “very special,” which means the cognac has aged two years in the barrel, the shortest amount allowed and still be called cognac. The VS cognac is better used in a mixed drink, rather than sipping alone. VSOP means “very special old pale,” and is aged for four years. This is also a good quality to be used with mixers but can stand on its own as well. If your label says XO, this means your cognac is “extra old,” aged over 10 years in an oak barrel. This is the best of the best and is also referred to as Napoleon. To mix this would be an abomination against cognac as it should be enjoyed neat or over ice.
Cognac’s history starts in the 16th century when the Dutch were frustrated that the wine they were bringing back home from France wouldn’t keep for the long journey. They decided to distill the wine and ended up with what they called brandewijn (burnt wine). This name morphed into brandy. By the 18th century, cognac houses started to pop up, with these houses buying only the grapes or brandy that ﬁt their strict cognac standards. Cognac became very popular, especially with people in the UK, but high taxes on imports forced residents to take matters into their own hands and smugglers became the biggest importers at the time. In the 1870s an outbreak of phylloxera, an insect that attacks the vine root and kills the plant, nearly devastated the cognac industry. During prohibition, cognac saw a resurgence in demand with the popularity of drinks, such as the Sidecar and the Corpse Reviver. Cognac’s demand ebbed and ﬂowed with the times but saw another large push when Busta Rhymes came out with the catchy tune Pass the Courvoisier, and thus cognac became popular with a whole new generation.
1 1/2 ounces cognac
3/4 ounce orange liqueur (such as Cointreau)
3/4 ounce lemon juice, freshly squeezed
Garnish: orange twist and sugar rim (optional)
Coat the rim of a coupe glass with sugar. Add the cognac, orange liqueur, and lemon juice to a shaker with ice and shake until well-chilled. Strain into the prepared glass. Garnish with an orange twist.
Sweet Tea • Lemon or Lime Juice • Soda Water • Sparkling Wine Ginger Ale • Lemonade • Sweet Vermouth • Coca Cola
Mixers to Make Your Own Cognac Concoction
Krewe Of Pierrettes Mardi Gras Ball 2023
The Krewe of Pierrettes hosted their annual ball at the Pensacola Country Club on January 28. The event was themed “The 80s Glow.” The evening began with a VIP all women krewe reception with drinks and party favors. The “M-80s,” an incredible band from Birmingham, Alabama, played all their favorites from the 80s. The Court was in full character from the 1980s as well, and what a display it was. The Court is hand selected by the board members and their identities are kept secret until the court’s presentation. Many Pierrots in attendance dressed in a black and white costume, while all the escorts wore black tuxedos.
The ﬁrst ever Pierrettes Mardi Gras Ball was held February 4, 1956. The founders felt there was a need for a new and exciting Mardi Gras organization here in Pensacola, so nine young women got together to form a new krewe. These women were Betty Dye, Audrey Owsley, Evalyn Smith, Stacia Beidleman, Pat Smith, Ellen Coe, Sally Turner, Jo Nunnelley, and Helen Sherman. The history of the Pierrette can be traced to Pierrot, or “French clown,” derived from the Commedia dell’Arte character Pedronlino.
photos & story by Kevin L Houghton
VIP Pensacola at Pensacola Country Club
Allison Jones, Amy Taylor, Suze Finger, Mollie Nickelsen, Daisy Turner, Emily Leidner, Amy Bender & Melanie McConnell
Neely Brown & Lu Castagna
Hilary & Harris Turner
Joena & Robert Rushing
Amanda & Brian Barr
Campbell & Lindsey Caldwell
30 | VIPPensacola.com
Kent & Amelie Simmons
Cordova Marketplace 4350 Bayou Blvd · Pensacola, FL 850.477.9120 · obriensbistro.net Lunch: Monday - Friday: 11 am - 3 pm Dinner: Monday - Saturday: 4 pm - 9 pm Brunch: Sunday: 11 am - 2 pm Upscale Dining in a Relaxed Atmosphere Thanks for voting us Best in Pensacola! Casual Dining & Locally Owned Restaurant A reason to love Mondays again… Half off select-bottles of wine Every Monday Happy Hour M-F 4pm-6pm 1/2 o house wine & well drinks $2 o Beer 25% o Select Call Liquor
Beverly & Tom Vaughn
Mollie Nickelsen & Emily Leidner
Matt & Liz Jasperson
March 2023 | 31
Robert & Amy Bender
“Love this dental o ce...a happy and welcoming atmosphere!” DR. NISARG PARIKH & FAMILY “The BEST dental visit I have ever had!” “Dr. Parikh makes it a priority to reduce any anxiety... he “talks” me through each step so that I am aware of what he is doing and there are no surprises.” Thank you for voting us Best Dentist! SERVICES: - Crowns & Veneers - Implant Placement & Restoration - Teeth Whitening - Cleanings - Emergency Visits for Patients BEFORE AFTER Implants Placed & Restored In-HouseAccepting New Patients - Accepting Patients without Insurance Relaxed Atmosphere - Gentle DentistryRotating O ce Schedule - Families Welcome 85 Nightingale Lane, Gulf Breeze, FL 32561 (850) 934-3408 | StarSmilesGB@gmail.com 32 | VIPPensacola.com
Communi-Tee Cup Tournament
Goofy Golf was the place to be on February 9 for the Fifth Annual Communi-Tee Cup. Our Corner (formerly known as Keep Pensacola Beautiful) hosted their biggest fundraiser of the year with this miniature golf tournament. This event will help raise funds for annual beautification programs and cleanup initiatives across all of Escambia County. The Krewe of Marionettes arranged, promoted, and executed this partnership with Our Corner, and eventually raised over $3,000.00 for the cause. A DJ spun tunes while the ticket holders enjoyed not only the tournament, but also drinks, drawings, food, beverages, door prizes, a 50/50 raffle, and auction basket items, such as cakes and wine, yoga items, a Florida-shaped cutting board with cheese & wine, and dog goodies. Waffle House was on site serving waffles, hashbrowns, and sausage, along with the food truck, P’Cola Rolla, which featured gourmet Southern style eggrolls. First Tee Gulf Coast focuses on impacting the lives of youth by promoting character development through the game of golf. It was a fun evening for all who attended and played, volunteered, or even just watched the games.
photos & story by Kevin L Houghton
VIP Pensacola at Goofy Golf of Pensacola
Sarah Randolph & Joe Herron
James Denunzio & Jarryd Golden
Sean Harmon, Mark Charpentier & Natalie Leanzea
Thomas Leemon, Anna Towns, Crystal Wilson, Brooke Disalvo, September Dye, Robert Morales & Joey Shuttleworth
March 2023 | 33
Nancy Hagman & Rose Coon
VIP Pensacola at Communi-Tee Cup
Collen Timmons, Neil Tucker, Carrie Gaut & Ruben Timmons
Kevin Harmon, Melissa & Bob Sidoti & Jim Harmon
Mark Murphy, Sydney Dodson & Karin GarvinToni Smith & Jacky Danaher
Drew Lick, Katin Davis & Wisdom Renaud
Sheryl & Marty Stanovich, Sarah Dimitroﬀ
Karin Garvin, Scot Abel, Kelly Bowling & Joanna Abel
Sophie Rowe & Anthony Goodyear
Kat & Kyle Staples
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Becky Merlin & Rebecca Smith
850-994-1078 Family Owned and Operated Since 1976 • REROOF & COMMERCIAL SPECIALIST • GOVERNMENT CONTRACTS Licensed in Florida #CCC1334173 and Alabama #30269 FreemanRoofing.com | 4201 Auckland Road | Pace, FL 32571 1850 Boy Scout Drive, Suite 101A | Ft. Meyers, FL 33907 COMMERCIAL AND RESIDENTIAL ROOFING F R E E E S T I M AT E S BEST Specialty Contractor YOUR HURRICANE ROOFING SPECIALIST March 2023 | 35
Who is Crescent and Empact HR?
After working for a national payroll company for 10 years, Sanders Offner saw a need, a need to provide better customer service for his clients than what they were receiving from traditional national payroll services. So, in May of 2011, he took that desire to provide personalized care to his clients, and working from a closet in his house, created Crescent. Sanders was a le to uil a ouris ing usiness partnering it companies to elp t em create efficiencies in t eir payroll process In e roug t on a business partner, Justin Farrae, who was the top sales rep for another national payroll company. Sanders knew that to build a scalable business he needed help, and Justin was just the person for that job. The two have spent t e last years focusing on fin ing t e rig t talent to elp t em grow their business. Cresent’s culture, mission, and core values are what ri es t em e ery ay o ate t ey a e a staff of employees o er 1,100 clients in over 40 states, and are growing every day. However, what they are most proud of is the performance of their employees. Sanders feels they are the life blood of the company and without them, the company oul not e ere it is to ay Crescent is an employee first company t ey kno if t ey a e appy an engage employees t en t e client e perience ill re ect t at
Within Crescent lies Empact HR, born from a need to provide human resource services to clients that were it t e ar est y C I an ere force to lay off t eir HR staff is ser ice is a proacti e approac to elp companies with their compliance and strategy needs. The division has had huge success and businesses are coming to Crescent for their HR needs instead of having to hire an HR professional that typically comes with a large price tag.
The staff at Crescent isn’t just passionate about HR, they’re also passionate about giving back to the community t roug supporting nonprofits E ery year t e company c ooses a ifferent c arity to support an does fun events to raise money for the charity, including poker nights, bunco parties, scavenger hunts, and football pools, as well as volunteering their time.
Why should you leave your Professional Employer Organization (PEO)?
As companies grow, their needs change. To compete in today’s full-employment economy, organizations nee a cost effecti e HR program customi e to t eir specific nee s ec companies often a e ifferent HR an enefits re uirements t an life science or nonprofit companies ne reason firms outgro t eir E is t at E s are not ell suite to creating affor a le fully customi e enefit programs as firms e pan E s are effecti e in creating an out of t e o enefits package ut t eir one si e fits all approac may not ork as ell as companies scale an re uire more tailore programs not er reason to lea e your E is simply E cost E fees are often ase on a percentage of an employer’s total payroll. For organizations with a large and growing payroll, and/or highly compensated employees E fees can get ery e pensi e ike ise fees c arge y E s can e ig er t an t ose source t roug a retirement ser ices roker not er often o erlooke financial cost is ta cre its accrue to t e E an not your organi ation Crescent can elp put all t e pieces toget er to properly mo e a ay from a E so t at it’s a seamless transition for t e usiness Crescent as e tensi e e perience it t is an as sa e usinesses mo ing a ay from a E any ere from k to k in sa ings ey are an SOC compliant company and are bonded and insured.
Crescent by the Numbers
98% Client Retention Rate
Over 1100 Clients Across the U.S. One to One Customer Service Approach Technology and Resources to Services Companies as Small as Employee and as Large as 10,000 Employees.
National Payroll Companies Average Score of 8. Crescent averages a Net Promoter Score of 96*
*Net promoter score is a widely used market research metric that is based on a single survey question asking respondents to rate the likelihood that they would recommend a company, product, or a service to a friend or colleague. Range: negative 100 to 100.
Crescent plays a supportive role in the community by ensuring that businesses have all the resources they need to make sound decisions when it comes to making payroll/HR changes within their business. The cherry on top is the white glove customer service approach that Floridians are looking for. Rui Ramos has been in the community for close to 25 years, views Pensacola as his home, and will do anything and everything to help businesses.
10 Years of Experience in Industry
U.S. Navy Veteran
Award Winner in Service and Business Solutions
Pensacola Chamber of Commerce Ambassador
Member of Many Local Philanthropic Clubs
Proud Father of Two Daughters and One Spazzy
Rui Ramos, Sales Representative email@example.com • Crescent-HR.COM • 850-377-1477
We are passionate people who are passionate about people.
Crescent on the Panhandle
38 | VIPPensacola.com
PENSACOLA SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA GUILD
Cele ating 50th Anniversary
The Pensacola Symphony Orchestra Guild celebrated the 50th anniversary of the Guild with a luncheon on February 1. The anniversary gathering was held at the Pensacola Country Club. With ﬂowered centerpieces and white linen tablecloths, over 100 guests enjoyed the afternoon, chatting with friends and sharing ideas on how to continue their support of the Pensacola Symphony Orchestra. During the event, attendees were able to see memorabilia from the past that had been stored away for years, as well as a slide show full of pictures of the Guild through the years. Several past presidents spoke brieﬂy about their time in oﬃce. Pensacola Country Club chefs and staﬀ served a tea party buﬀet, complete with cucumber dill, chicken salad, pimento cheese sandwiches, boursin stuﬀed tomatoes, deviled eggs, pasta salad, fruit medley, and assorted mini desserts, along with fresh coﬀee and tea.
The Pensacola Symphony Orchestra Guild was established in 1973 to support the Pensacola Symphony Orchestra. The Guild hosts a number of fundraisers every year, the largest being Magnolias and White Linen.
VIP Pensacola at Pensacola Country Club
photos & story by Kevin L Houghton
Peter Rubardt & Joan Engel
Dona Usry, Maureen & Cris Orrantia
Sarah Martin, Suzanne Pfeﬄe & Tammy Chisenhall
Nan Harper, Mary Bedard & Ona Gilbert
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Crickett Ward & Marte Picker
VIP Pensacola at PSO Guild Celebrating 50th Anniversary
Jean Norman, Marcia Enquist & Sooz Cobb
Pam Schwartz, Ann Litvak & Pat Drlicka
Pam Thompson & Sue Sanders
Lynne Tobin & Margo Broxton
Roz Leahy & Kathy Miller
Kelly Slorahn, Diane Peterson & Jean Parker
Myrl Eisinger, Pat Griﬃn & Kat Villines
Sue Penfold & Sue-Sue Sherrill
Bonnie Bedics & Nancy McCort
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Monette Payne & Linda Dixon
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Bret Barrow, Ellen Vinson & Jessica Hyche
Carol Cooper, Dawn Cooper & Cynthia Boulton
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Connie Repp, Lyndi Kessler & Betty Whisnant
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Pensacola’s Leading Professionals in the Business of Luxury and Financial Matters
After spending the past decade in Denver, Colorado, Katie Beargie is thrilled to be back in her hometown of Pensacola where she joins her dad and the team at Alphastar Wealth Management as a Wealth Advisor.
Katie holds a Bachelor of Accounting from Loyola University in New Orleans and an MBA from the University of Colorado. She spent her early career working for large law and accounting ﬁrms, such as Levin Papantonio Law Firm. She went on to work for Northwestern Mutual as a Financial Planner and most recently, for Fidelity Investments as an Equity Trader and Wealth Transition Specialist. Katie has obtained numerous industry licenses, including the Series 7, as well as insurance licenses for life, longterm care, and annuities. Through her dynamic experience and specialized work, Katie learned the importance of comprehensive ﬁnancial and estate planning.
Katie brings a fresh perspective and enthusiasm to her work, with the goal of helping each client deﬁne and create their deﬁnition of success. She is insightful and genuine and believes in the value of building meaningful and personal relationships. When she’s not working, Katie enjoys attending local festivals, playing tennis, and trying her hand at golf.
Bob Beargie is passionate about helping his clients deﬁne their needs and accomplish their long-term goals. Through comprehensive, one-on-one planning, he and his team help clients prepare for the future they desire, while encouraging them to enjoy the journey. Bob has served as a ﬁduciary through the highs and lows of the 80’s and 90’s, the technology bubble of the early 2000’s, the ﬁnancial crisis of 2008, the global pandemic of 2020, and most recently, through the volatile, inﬂationary years of 2022 and 2023.
Before he became the Managing Partner at Alphastar Wealth Management, a local, independent ﬁduciary, Bob worked for SunTrust, Bank of Montreal, Synovus Trust Company, and Raymond James Investments. Bob attended the University of Kentucky and St. Thomas More University. He holds a law degree from the University of Louisville and an MBA from Miami University. With over 30 years of wealth management experience and a background in law, taxation, retirement, and estate planning, Bob offers a unique perspective and tremendous value to those he serves.
Bob says, “Serving my clients is an honor and a privilege. It is my most sincere goal to exceed expectations, to earn their trust and conﬁdence, and to provide them with exceptional service, professionalism, and expertise.”
E. Cervantes Street Pensacola, FL 32503
March 2023 | 43
E. Cervantes Street
Pensacola, FL 32503 (850) 437-3127
Luxury & Financial Profiles
Shannon Harrold is a Pensacola native with family roots dating back 400 years. She grew up and traveled throughout the world as a Navy brat in Europe, the Caribbean, and Florida. Due to her upbringing, Shannon developed a passion for traveling. Prior to the onset of Covid, she spent a month in South America. In addition to traveling, Shannon is involved with charitable organizations and positively impacts the greater Pensacola community.
As Shannon navigated a 15-year career in the medical ﬁeld as a single mother, she took on a second job in the tax and accounting industry in 2013 to better support her teenage sons. Shannon found over the next four years the new profession to be her calling and founded Let’s Get Fiscal in 2017. Her vision was to offer personalized tax and accounting services at an affordable cost. Let’s Get Fiscal offers individual, small business, and corporate tax prep, along with year-round accounting and incorporation services. Although Shannon’s business is anchored in Pensacola, she has stretched her personalized tax and accounting services throughout the Gulf Coast region. Furthermore, she has used technology to provide ﬁnancial preparation and consulting services remotely to clients throughout the United States.
A ﬁnance and economics major from the University of West Florida, Mal has lived on the Gulf Coast all his life. Mal is passionate about giving back to the community and has left an impression on Pensacola with his volunteer work through the Shriners organization. His time volunteering as a youth football coach has allowed him to use that same giving heart and coaching mentality to his practice at Iron Plan Solutions Group (IPS). Mal implements a process that provides peace of mind to business owners helping plan their exit strategy, business succession plan, as well as, protecting the owner from unforeseen pitfalls that come along in the daily functions of running a successful business.
Mal never dreamed he would meet so many amazing people along the way that have become clients, friends, or business associates. Mal’s company’s mission is and always will be about building solid relationships that bring meaningful transformations to his clients’ ﬁnancial future. In this day and time, the end goal is not always crystal clear, whether it is market volatility, your health, or a need to not sit still. Financial planning today requires more ﬂexibility. Mal’s goal at Iron Plan Solutions LLC is to make “work optional.”
Charles (Chip) Wood, Vice President of Sales for Avalon HR, believes his ability to understand problems and ﬁnd practical, economical, and fair solutions is what makes him a good leader. So, it’s no wonder this ability led him to the PEO or professional employer organization business. Chip ﬁnds his industry to be very rewarding and enjoys helping his clients ﬁnd answers and resolutions to their issues. Even throughout the tough business atmosphere of the pandemic, Chip and his company held a steady growth pattern and helped their clients maintain their businesses by helping them with retention credits and making sure they could succeed. He says his biggest challenge in the industry is the ever-changing business climate and regulations, although that is the exact reason clients reach out to them, to guide them through the maze and allow them to focus on their own business. He credits the success of his company with maintaining a client-ﬁrst philosophy and always making sure they speak with the client personally.
Chip and his wife Janet returned to the area 12 years ago from St. Petersburg. He is an active member of the Gulf Breeze Rotary and past board member for WSRE. Boats, cars, motorcycles, and RV’s keep Chip busy, along with spending time with his wife, children, friends, and pets.
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321 N. DeVillers St, Suite 221 Pensacola, FL 32501 (850) 686-2295
308 W Government Street Pensacola, FL 32502 (850) 607-6064
100 S. Pace Boulevard Pensacola, FL 32502
The streets were closed, the sun was out, the tents were decorated, and dogs and their owners were all dressed up for “Pawdi Gras” downtown on Sunday, February 5, 2023. This is WolfGang Pensacola’s 2nd Annual Pawdi Gras was presented by Perfect Plain Brewing Co. this year. The fun-filled block “Pawty” included: music, “Adopt Me Runway Show” plus adoptions from Northwest Florida Great Dane Rescue, Amazing Grace Bully Rescue, and The Rescued Rescuers: Dachshunds and Friends of the Emerald Coast, to name a few. During the “Pawty,” everyone enjoyed the costume contest (both human and canine), kids games including a giant Jenga, and Musical Chairs but with dogs! Additionally, food trucks offered the humans lunch and vendors were able to offer the dogs dog treats, dog outfits, dog grooming and shampoos, and tasty and colorful dog bakeries. There was even a dog stylist that, safely, “spotted” dogs with Mardi Gras colors of purple, green, and gold for the occasion. When the “Pawrade” finally commenced, there were over 400 dogs and their owners dressed in spectacular Mardi Gras fashion. The “Pawrade Route” spanned three entire city blocks and a park. The benefactor of this now annual event that is so popular was the Escambia County Department of Animal Welfare, a genuinely worthy cause. Krewe of Hip Huggers were on hand to help celebrate by bringing their Mardi Gras float for a specific purpose. They intend to “Load the Float” with items such as durable dog toys, plush dog toys, raised dog beds, fleece blankets and monetary donations to donate to this worthy cause. Over 300 dogs were registered for the parade, which helped them to raise more than $4800.00 just on the early registrations alone.
photos & story by Kevin L Houghton
Pensacola at Downtown Seville Quarter
Glenn & Allison Cole with Remy & Nessie
Chloe Lim with Mochi Ella Rickenbacker, Natalie Jenkins, Allie Morgan, Harper Weakley, Bronwynn Ellis & Addyson Creighton
Christina & Richard Cecchetti with Papi & Pablo
Aaron Godwin & Garrett Smith with Goldi & Clarkson
John & Michelle Kempf with Gru
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Matthew & Kayla Stanley with Millie & Lady
Heidi & Bernice Andre with Tyson
Caroline & Keith Solmonson with Cooper
David & Wendy Rutland with Honey & Paco
Zack & Tiﬀany Herrington with Knight & Sabine
Vickie Chapman with Morty, Stella & Mae
Leo Cobb, Katie Ballard & Charlie Cobb with Winnie Lucas Daniel & Holley Daniel with Samson
VIP Pensacola at Pawdi Gras 46 | VIPPensacola.com
Arianna Proulx, Beth Hamrick & Brittany Willie with Reggie
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story by Anna McGauley Stockton
The word caviar just exudes luxury and wealth, your mind automatically oes to a ancy dinner arty com lete ith ﬁne china a wait staff, and a harpist playing softly in the corner of the room, for good measure. And while that is a fairly accurate description, caviar is not to be dismissed by us common folk. It has a rich and interesting history that might just want to make you give it a try after all.
s ith many thin s o ten onder ho e actly as the ﬁrst one to decide to try caviar ho thou ht “hmmm that ﬁsh tasted so ood think ll try the eggs now?” But alas, someone did just that, and we are all better for it. Roe, or eggs, of the sturgeon, also known as caviar, were highly regarded by the Persians, so much so that the name is loosely translated to cake of strength or cake o o er due to the medical o ers the ersians elieved it held. The ﬁrst mention of caviar dates to the fourth century, where the Greek scholar Aristotle describes the eggs of the surgeon being brought into banquet halls with quite the an are includin trum ets and ﬂo ers. The ussian Tsars also enjoyed their caviar althou h may e a little too much as they ﬁshed the terlet stur eon to near e tinction. s caviar s o ularity s read throu hout countries across Europe, it remained a delicacy reserved only for the highest class of people. The caviar rage in America looked a little different. With sturgeon aplenty running the rivers in the states, it was common to see caviar served in saloons and restaurants across the country. Much like that salty pretzel mix that is strategically placed at the bar, the salt in the caviar kept patrons thirsty, thus they ou ht more drinks. n 18 3 a erman immi rant named enry chacht started a caviar business from the sturgeon in the Delaware River to distribute orld ide. y the 1 th century merica as res onsi le or o the orld s caviar, some of which was sold to Russia to be repackaged and sold back as rare ussian caviar. s time ent on stur eon in merica ecame overﬁshed yet the acceptance from the world of other types of roe, such as trout and salmon, has kept American caviar in high demand.
Classic Caviar Sturgeon Caviar
The fanciest of the fancy caviars. From the huso huso sturgeon, this caviar has large, shiny grey eggs and is known for being smooth, buttery, and rich and is sold at roughly $800/oz.
Taste wise, this caviar is just one teeny, tiny step do n rom elu a. t s one o the ﬁnest caviars in the world and comes in many assorted colors, although mostly ranging from golden to brown, and has a smooth, nutty, and briny taste at $90/oz.
If you are concerned about sustainability, Kaluga is the caviar for you. This variety of caviar is farm raised with high quality standards in place. Often compared to Beluga, this caviar also has a smooth, buttery taste. It comes in colors from greens to browns and sells for $160/oz.
This caviar comes from the Mississippi River itself, courtesy of the American shovelnose sturgeon. ackle ack s e s are dark brown to black and have a small ﬁrm te ture with a smooth, delicate, and nutty ﬂavor at $49/oz.
If you like a pop to your caviar and intense ﬂavor evru a is the caviar or you. These small grey to black eggs pack quite a pinch. Fortunately, these sturgeons reproduce at a far faster rate, so prices are a little lower for this caviar at $115/oz.
These roe are almost too pretty to eat, almost. Found in the cold waters of Alaska, salmon caviar has a much lower price tag with a fresh and juicy ﬂavor - $8/oz.
This caviar comes from our neighbors in Louisiana and is affectionately known as “Cajun Caviar.” The ﬁsh produces small, darkish red eggs with a rich, sea salt, and smoky ﬂavor - $14/oz.
Also, known as spoonbill, this caviar is a product of the South. Although it’s found in Kentucky, Mississippi, and Tennessee, this caviar tastes similar to those found in the Caspian Sea and is small and silver in color at $35/oz.
AlltogetHER Businesswomen’s Event
Over 100 women attended the Inaugural AlltogetHER Businesswomen’s Event at the Pensacola Country Club on February 2. This highly anticipated event was sold out in just one day. The title sponsor for the event was Carlan Consulting. The morning started with an amazing eight-minute mind mediation by McKenzie Burleigh. The AlltogetHER Businesswomen’s Event was for women to connect directly with influential women in all
sectors of the greater Pensacola community. This gathering allowed for open, productive conversations in an intimate group format, led by wellestablished professional women. Seven established businesswomen from our local area sat at different tables throughout the day and talked about their vast experiences in a variety of fields. Hot coffee, tea and other beverages were provided by Mrs. Jones Cold Brew and a lunch buffet was provided by the chefs and staff of the Pensacola Country Club.
photos & story by Kevin L Houghton
VIP Pensacola at Pensacola Country Club
Willa Licata, Carol Carlan, Sue Straughn, Dawn Rudolph, Sherry Hartnett, McKenzie Burleigh, Kristine Rushing, Amie Remington, Jen Kinsella, DeeDee Davis & Todd Thomson
Beth Skarda & Kathleen Shoop
Briana Wigley & Dawn Rudolph
Robin Zimmern, Whitney Fike, Kayla Stanley & Carolyn Grawi
Cindy Ritchie & Jeanine Fowler
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CJ Lydon & Erin Mayﬁeld
March 2023 | 51
Deb Corbin & Barbara Orth
Cara Green, Felicia Sheers & Cindy Ritchie
Cecily Kopytchak & Paula Andrews
Whitney Lee & Randi Lawrence
Heather Flowers & Whitney Lucas
Macu Mateo & Pamila Bolado
Kara Luckett & Crystal Berkley
Terry Mahoney & Briana Wigley
Florida’s Volatile Property Insurance Market
On December 14, 2022, Governor Ron DeSantis signed property insurance reform bill SB-2A into law, which was designed to bring longterm stabilization to an already volatile market and marks the third property insurance reform bill in one year. Why would it be necessary to pass three bills in one year? For Florida residents, it would be easy to look to recent hurricanes, speciﬁcally, urricane Ian which made landfall on the southwest coast in late September causing an estimated $40 to $70 billion in losses. The answer to this question lies within the condition of the current property insurance market in Florida and dates to urricane Irma. Below are facts showing the instability of insurance in Florida:
-Six carriers have become insolvent or left the state
-In August, over twenty carriers faced financial downgrade
-Homeowner rates are nearly three times the national average
-Commercial rates are at a 20-year high
-Citizens Property Insurance Corporation, the state-run insurance company of last resort, now insures more homes than any other carrier in Florida.
-Florida accounts for 76% of the nation’s homeowners’ insurance lawsuits but only 9% of the nation’s home insurance claims.
urricane Ian - eptember 29, 2022
We can’t change the weather in Florida and no one sees a mass exodus of residents due to storms; how does the reform bill change things going forward?
-Establish Florida Optional Reinsurance Assistance program (FORA): increases availability of reinsurance and allows eligible carriers to purchase reinsurance coverage at near-market rates to prevent carrier insolvency and slow the exodus of carriers.
-Build Financial Stability for Citizens Property Insurance Corporation: Policyholders are ineligible with Citizens Insurance if they receive an offer of coverage from an authorized carrier that is not more than 20% greater than Citizens’ premium. In a special ﬂood zone, the homeowner is required to purchase ﬂood insurance for eligibility from Citizens. By 2027,regardless of zone, all policyholders must carry ﬂood insurance.
-Address Fraud and Frivolous Litigation: Eliminates Assignment of Beneﬁts preventing policyholders from signing over insurance beneﬁts to a third party; roofer, plumber, contractor, etc. Eliminates One-way attorney fees where plaintiff attorneys collect compensation from insurance companies for their fees regardless of the outcome.
-Reduce Timelines for Claims: Insureds must submit new or reopened claims within 12 months of the property damage, with 18 months to submit a supplemental claim. Reduces the time for insurance companies to pay or deny a claim from 90 days to 60 days. Reduces the time for insurance companies to review and acknowledge a claim communication from 14 days to 7 days. Reduces the time for an insurance company to conduct a physical inspection from 45 days to 30 days and applies this requirement to hurricane claims. Requires an insurance company to send any adjuster’s report estimating the damage to the policyholder within 7 days after it is created.
Unfortunately, the bill does not address immediate home insurance rates. In turn, it hopes to address the root cause of the market’s current condition and stabilize the property insurance market by drawing capital back into Florida, increasing the number of available companies along with their capacity. More companies providing coverage equals more competition, reducing insurance premiums for Florida residents.
Carter Lackey Vice President/Agent
Thompson-Walden Insurance | MoreChoicesIns.com | Pensacola (850) 478-0401 | Pace (850) 994-9520
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Chappie James Museum 2023 Annual Gala Fundraiser
Sanders Beach-Corrine Jones Resource Center was all abuzz for the General Daniel “Chappie” James, Jr. Museum’s 2023 Annual Gala Fundraiser on February 4. Mistress of Ceremonies was Sue Straughn, and the keynote speaker was Captain Frank Berry III, the first-born grandson of General Chappie James, Jr. General Daniel “Chappie” James, Jr. was a highly decorated American hero and was the first Black four-star General in the U.S. Military, during his career he trained pilots for all black 99th Pursuit Squadron during World War II and flew 101 combat missions in Korea and 78 missions in Vietnam. A Pensacola native, his childhood home on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive is now home to the Chappie James Museum and General Chappie James Flight Academy. After the Color Guard presentation by the Pine Forest High School NJROTC and the musical presentation from the Booker T. Washington High Vocal Harmony, under the direction of Michelle Young, the celebration continued with a buffet dinner and an open auction and door prizes to more than 300 guests in attendance. As noted by large images on easels around the Gala, the Pensacola Bay Bridge, known locally as the Three-Mile Bridge, will be named in General Chappie James’ honor to include a memorial plaza and a statue of General James and a mounted fighter jet in the background.
photos & story by Kevin L Houghton
Pensacola at Sanders Beach-Corrine Jones Resource
Brandon & Andrea Sanderfur
Teresa & Kenneth Lee
Sharon Nation, Marcelle Davis, Angela Nicks & Marion Reed
Bernie Sise, Cli on Curtis, Michael & Paula Griﬃn
LCDR Rodney Bolling & Lumon May
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Sandy & Walter Lamerton
VIP Pensacola at Chappie James Museum 2023 Annual Gala Fundraiser
56 | VIPPensacola.com
Melvin Harris, Mamie Webb Hixon, Patricia Gregory & Allison Roberts Jerry & Carol McIntosh
Kelis, Kerrith & Karly Fiddler
Sadie Knight & Drucilia James
Emma & Isaias Vidal
Cyrus Blanco, Catalina Rios & Greg Hardy
Gordon Pike, Tammy Straughn & Sue Straughn
Patrick & Lori Dierig
Sharon Baker & Pearl Curtis
James Gonzalez & Anna Stockton
Troy Mims, Jr., Amy & Troy Mims, Sr.
Ella Warren, James Williams & Barbara Charles
Michael Roberts & Dr. Marion Williams
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Teniade Broughton, Gregory Thornhill, Jr. & Diane Robinson
We rarely think much about luggage, well, until we need it. But luggage is one of those things in life that you shouldn’t skimp on. A good piece of luggage can last you for years and choosing a classic and luxurious piece will ensure you look put together and stylish for all your jet-setting trips to come.
story by Anna McGauley Stockton
Attention fellow non-adventurers, just because you have a nice backpack for travel doesn’t mean you actually have to go backpacking, so you can keep reading. Now that I’ve gotten that out of the way, backpacks are a handy way to store all your needs for a quick trip or to bring everything you need onboard for a long ﬂight. There’s plenty of room for electronics, snacks, books, and even extra clothes in case you end up being forced into an overnight stay at your connecting airport, and if you traveled at all in the summer of 2022, you’ve probably had that pleasure. But just because it’s a backpack, does not mean it can’t be luxurious and stylish. Posh leather backpacks are always a nice, classic look that will stand the test of time.
We are all familiar with du el bags, they are great for going to the gym or an overnight stay at a friend’s house. One step up from a du el bag is a weekender. A weekender is basically a du el that is larger, roomier, has more pockets, and really likes to travel. Small enough to bring as a carry-on, yet large enough to bring everything you need for, you guessed it, a weekend away. This bag is versatile and a must-have for your luggage collection. Weekenders tend to be more colorful, a bit fancier than their du el cousins, and can be found in all price ranges, and by most designers. From Gucci to Louis Vuitton to Fendi, weekenders are a stylish way to pack for your weekend getaway.
Everyone needs a large suitcase for those long trips, family trips, or if you’re simply an over packer like me. Because even though I haven’t worn that sweater in 3 years, it might be just perfect for a night out during my beach vacation. The good news is that you don’t have to sacriﬁce luxury and style at the expense of functionality. Many luxury brands o er large suitcases in di erent styles to choose from, such as rolling suitcases, hard side, soft side, and the classic old-school non-rolling suitcases. Make sure you check the weight of the suitcase before you commit to buying though, some can be heavy and will allow less weight available for clothing, souvenirs, and of course, overpacking.
Hanging Garment Bag
Garment bags have come a long way, baby. They are sleeker and better designed than ever before. Disguised as a mini suitcase or weekender, these garment bags unfold before your eyes and show o your crisp, clean, and unwrinkled clothes. This, along with pockets and compartments for the rest of your gear, a garment bag may be all you need for a quick trip. Whether you go with a classic leather or something a little ﬂashier with a luxury logo, it is what’s on the inside that counts when it comes to modern day garment bags.
Having a matching set of luggage gives an unparalleled look of class and sophistication. Not only does it have a luxurious look, even if you did not actually spend that much, it gives the impression you have it all together (no one needs to know if you don’t). Building a matching set can also be done slowly by buying pieces over time, especially with luxury brands like Louis Vuitton or Gucci, as you can get the same classic print for years.
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KREWEOF AVANT GARDE 40th Anniversary
The Krewe of Avant Garde held their Mardi Gras Ball at the Hilton Garden Inn on February 3. Attendees were in full formal dress with black ties, gowns, and masks to celebrate the Krewe’s 40th anniversary. The evening was celebrated with beautifully decorated Mardi Gras tables, chairs, and centerpieces. A Louisiana style table setting complemented the dinner, which consisted of shrimp creole, Cajun blackened chicken, red beans and rice, garlic bread, and spring salad mix. Mr. Wilk McKean and company, a.k.a. the Dr. Breeze band, entertained this krewe and their guests.
Founded in 1983, the Krewe of Avant Garde was formed by military members, their spouses, and their families to support for all branches of the military, not only during the Mardi Gras season, but all year long.
photos & story by Kevin L Houghton
VIP Pensacola at Hilton Garden Inn
Merle Tidemann & Barbara Eager
Darrell Norris & Lauree Stetina
Santiago & Karen Marrero
Pat Davie & John Howard
Debbie Hinkley & Doug Krebs
Estelle & Dean Kirschner
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John Owens, Hattie Jansen, Linda Hawthorne & Ray Taylor
VIP Pensacola at Krewe of Avant Garde 40th Anniversary
Paco Burrell & Kathy Holmes
Angelo Pearson & Judy Lovelace
Janet & Tim Burchell
Sunshine & Bayre Lias
Pam Greene & Bill Yaremchuk
Wilk McKean, Jennifer Delgallo-Taylor, George & Susi Van Dyke, Larry Swartz & Mitzi Holt
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Mike & Sharon Gibson
Shawn & Leon McLaughlin, Patty Veal
Jackie Scrimpshire, Terry & Doris Mink, Fran Lee
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With about 19,000 children in foster care in Florida and many more families in crisis, services for these children and families are more important than ever. That’s where the nonproﬁt, Embrace Florida Kids comes in, serving the Florida Panhandle through three main programs. The Embrace Family Preservation Program focuses on keeping families intact whenever possible. The Embrace Foster Care Program helps provide loving, supportive, and safe foster homes to children in need. The Embrace Higher Education Program aids former foster children who have goals to attend college, by providing them with a supportive place to live while they succeed at higher learning.
With government funding at a decline, combined with conﬁdentiality issues that limit volunteer opportunities, Embrace Florida Kids relies on ﬁnancial donations from caring citizens who want to help foster children and families in crisis.
From the viewpoint of
Ramsey Lawrence, Director of Development and Community Relations
What is Embrace Florida Kids?
Embrace Florida Kids is a child welfare agency that works across the Florida Panhandle to provide programs and services to embrace children in foster care and families in crisis in Escambia County, Santa Rosa County, Okaloosa County, and Walton County.
How did this organization come about?
In 1890, over 130 plus years ago, an orphanage was opened that would later become Embrace Alabama Kids/Embrace Florida Kids, a Methodist ministry. This orphanage was eventually sold, and the agency would transform into multiple programs across Alabama and the Florida Panhandle.
What impact does Embrace Florida Kids have on the community?
We serve vulnerable children and families in crisis across the Florida Panhandle through our Embrace Family Preservation Program, Embrace Foster Care Program, and Embrace Higher Education Program.
What are some future goals?
We are in the process of opening our Higher Education Home in Pensacola, Florida. An HEH in Florida has been a long-term goal, and we are thrilled to be opening this home in Fall of 2023. This home will support students who wish to go to University of West Florida and Pensacola State College by providing a place to live, to grow, and to thrive where students have the spiritual and social support they need to maximize their academic opportunity and succeed.
Other future goals are to expand our programs to have the capacity to serve and support more children and families in crisis.
What are some challenges your organization faces?
State funding for children is in a steady decline. We are nonproﬁt and depend on our faithful donors.
GIVE | CARE | SHARE
photos provided by Embrace Florida Kids
What events does your organization host? Are any open to the public?
We are not an event-driven organization. We occasionally participate in nonproﬁt fairs that help raise awareness or have an open house or gathering to bring awareness to our agency
What is your role and how did you get involved with Embrace Florida Kids?
I am the Director of Development and Community Relations. I heard my (now) boss speak about EFK’s amazing ministry at my church and the impact EFK has on vulnerable children. I immediately knew I wanted to get involved. At that time, I was a special education teacher in Walton County. It took a few years, but in God’s timing, it all worked out. When I learned there was a job opening in the Panhandle, I knew I wanted to apply.
What’s your favorite thing about being involved with the organization?
The mission statement says it all! “In response to God’s Word, we embrace and nurture vulnerable children and families by providing homes, healing, and hope.” Part of my job is to speak in churches and
civic organizations to help spread the word of who we are and what we do. When I communicate that eﬀectively, it changes people—they want to help and get involved. Sharing our story is my favorite part of my job.
What would you like our readers to know about Embrace Florida Kids?
I would like them to know, if they are interested in helping families and children in need, we have proven programs that do just that. We have the data and statistics to show how eﬀective our programs are. We track our families in our Family Preservation Program for 3 years after the program is completed and have a 93% success rate in keeping those families together. Because of conﬁdentiality, there are not many volunteer opportunities with our agency. We need monetary support more than physical support. I would also like them to know that I love to tell our story and connect with donors and potential donors. I am always happy to meet for coﬀee or to speak to a large or small group where an individual may be involved.
For more information or if you’d like to donate to Embrace Florida Kids, please visit EmbraceFloridaKids.org or call 850-995-9600.
“In response to God’s Word, we embrace and nurture vulnerable children and families by providing homes, healing and hope.”
Pirates of Lost Treasure Mardi Gras Floti a
Boats were loaded with bounty, such as, moon pies, beads, toys, and doubloons, decked out in Mardi Gras colors, and waving their colored skull and crossbones pirate ﬂags for the Pirates of Lost Treasure Mardi Gras Flotilla on February
4. The ﬂeet of 24 plus vessels departed Holiday Harbor Marina and the Sunset Grill at around 11:00 a.m. to roam the seas. As the ﬂeet of pirate ships cruised, spectators watched the parade from the shore as the ﬂotilla went by, throwing bounty from dock-to-dock and ﬁnally making landfall at the iconic Flora-Bama’s beach on Old River. Nick Fleming from Gulf Shores, dressed up as Captain Jack Sparrow, dressed, walked, and talked the part. Awards were given out to participating boats, Lucky Enough took honorable mention. Head Hunters, Shipwrecked Pirates, and Perdido Key Chamber’s Dead Men Tell No Lies, came in 1st, 2nd, and 3rd places. Lucky Enough was decorated in honor of Joe Gilchrist who was the co-owner and founding father of Flora-Bama. His love of songwriters and music would earn him the title, “Patron Saint of Songwriters.”
photos & story by Kevin L Houghton
VIP Pensacola at Perdido Key
Johann Harris & Ellen Marinacc
Carrie & Dennis Proﬁtt
Merrie Henderson & Jimmie Sue Walters
Sean Stanton & Marcie Baldwin
Nick Fleming & Rachel McLarty
Glenda Tant & Dale Welty
Tim McLarty & Bruce Gentry
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Leslie Cole & Hannah Montgomery Deb Lundstrom & Julann Cather
Dave Jolly, Allison Strickland, Liz & Eugene Jackson
George & Lesley Pickar, Lynn & Don Cyr
Sam McKnight, Cyndie & David Legendre
Steve Payne, Ronnie Day & Chris Henderson
Jennifer Seengel, Wendye Washburn, Helena Joyner, Nancy Johnson & Nelda Windham
Lynda Day, Connie Walker & Vickie Payne
Glen Walters, Bill Kane & Todd Tipsword
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Brenda Jackson, Cory Anauer, Molly & John Plank
Tickets available now for Manna’s 2023 Clover Pick A Bowl Fill A Bowl
Tickets are now available to the general public for the 2023 Clover Pick A Bowl Fill A Bowl – Manna Food Bank’s only major annual fundraiser. This unique event with an artsy twist that features the work of local artists and the fare of local vendors will be held on Friday, March 17, from 6-8 p.m., at the Lou Ross Center of Pensacola State College.
Pre-sale tickets are $50 apiece ($60 day-of) and entitle the event-goer to their choice of a one-of-a-kind, handcrafted clay bowl thrown by a local potter, samples of some of the best soups in town, wine and beer (must be 21 or older), and a few new special features for 2023, as it is Manna’s 40th year in service to the Northwest Florida community and the “Clover” event falls on St. Patrick’s Day. Each ticket sold will provide 30 healthy meals for neighbors in need in Escambia and Santa Rosa counties.
Vice President of Administration; and Bill Clover, Visual Arts Professor. For the rst two years, the fundraiser was called Throw A Bowl, and guests were invited to make their own bowls under the guidance of the Visual Arts Department. In 2008, the fundraiser changed to two events - Pick A Bowl and Fill A Bowl – and in 2017, the two events became one, Pick A Bowl Fill A Bowl. Professor Bill Clover, his students, other faculty members, and local artists from First City Arts Center contributed thousands of hours and created thousands of bowls for the events. In 2018, after Bill Clover passed away, the event was renamed The Clover Pick A Bowl Fill A Bowl in honor and memory of his commitment to the fundraiser that combines his passion for art and his dedication to the community.
For event tickets, please visit www. mannahelps.org.
Pensacola Beach Chamber of Commerce Hosts St. Patrick’s Day Pub Crawl
“We invite everyone to dress in green and join in on the revelry and fun by crawling along Pensacola Beach and supporting our beach businesses,” said Beach Chamber President and CEO Meg Peltier.
The fun begins at 9 a.m. at Crabs We Got ‘Em where a free breakfast will be served from 9 to 10 a.m. with the purchase of a $10 drink. Each stop afterward will last 45 minutes. Revelers can jump in and join the fun mid-day at any of the locations and times listed below:
The event is made possible by the faculty, students and friends of the Pensacola State College Visual Arts Department and First City Art Center. Restaurants and food vendors represented this year include Classic City Catering, The Farm, The Grand Marlin, Mr. Pollo, Nouveau Pastries and Catering, Pensacola Yacht Club, Scenic Hills Country Club, Whataburger, and more.
The event was established in 2006 at Pensacola State College under the direction of Dona Usry, former Manna Guild Member and PSC Board Member; Krist Lien, District Department Head of the Visual Arts Department; Dr. Jim Martin, former PSC
The Pensacola Beach Chamber of Commerce invites one and all to “Go Irish on the Island” for the annual St. Paddy’s Day Pub Crawl on Friday, March 17. The annual pub crawl along Pensacola Beach features 12 participating beach bars, restaurants and hotels serving up Irish drink specials, music, mayhem and mischief.
2023 “Go Irish on the Island” St. Paddy’s Day Pub Crawl Schedule:
• 9 a.m. – Crabs We Got ‘Em (Breakfast served)
• 10 a.m. – The Dock
• 10:45 a.m. – Casino Beach Bar & Grill
• 11:30 a.m. – Landshark Landing Beach Bar & Grill
• 12:15 p.m. – Riptides Grill & Tiki Bar
• 1 p.m. – Paddy O’Leary’s
• 1:45 p.m. – Flounder’s Chowder House
• 2:30 p.m. – Whiskey Joe’s Bar & Grill
• 3:15 p.m. – Shaggy’s Harbor Bar & Grill
• 4 p.m. – Café Nola
• 4:45 p.m. – Bamboo Willie’s Beachside Bar
• 5:30 p.m. – The Sandshaker
The St. Paddy’s Day Pub Crawl t-shirts are $18 each and will be available at each participating location and the Visitor Information Center on Pensacola Beach.
While it’s a celebration of Irish culture and traditions, the St. Paddy’s Day Pub Crawl — in memory of event founder John Patrick “Paddy” Blake — is a fundraising event for the Pensacola Beach Chamber of Commerce, a non-pro t corporation. The Chamber will donate a portion of the t-shirt proceeds to Covenant Care in his name.
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Pensacola Mardi Gras and Seville Quarter teamed up with Mardi Gras krewes for a French Quarter Fat Tuesday celebration on February 21. Organizers celebrated with a “big easy style” party that included a crawfish boil, food trucks such as Wrighteous Eats, Who Cut the Grilled Cheese, and Cheesecake, plus king cakes and sweet beignets. Everyone was dancing and partying in both the bars and outdoor spaces of Seville. The party goers started around 11:00 am Tuesday to begin this annual experience with a jazz royalty brunch. Many of the Mardi Gras krewes and locals came together for the annual celebration with live entertainment, including the world-famous Rosie O’Grady’s Dueling Piano Show, the Carnaval Latin Sounds of Zona Libre Band, Ben Loftin & The Family, Melodius Allen and The Funk Heads, and Tyler Livingston & the Absolutes, plus DJ Mr. Lao and Latin Flavor’s Entertainment’s DJ David C. Later in the evening, Danny Zimmern, President of Pensacola Mardi Gras, presented awards for the 2023 Mardi Gras Season.
VIP Pensacola at Seville Quarter
photos & story by Kevin L Houghton
Ric Moore & Cathy Saunders
Mandi Pugh & Daniel Hamilton
Belinda Black, Heather Moore, Barbara Coﬀey, Pricilla Bode & Diva Marie Kuhn
Sabrina Rutledge, Billi Wilcox, Christina Mauldin & Dawn Rutledge
Kim & Mike Tonglet
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Rosy Carrion & Edward Johnson
VIP Pensacola at Fat Tuesday Celebration
Sheryl & Marty Stanovich
Ron Munarolo, Greg & Xochitl Nabers, Irene Munarolo
Sam Eckiss, Keli Patterson & Elizabeth Brown
Cheryl Maniscalco & Chad Herlehy
Kendra Hamilton, Christy Smith & Isaiah Pires
Audrey Preston & Randy Palmer
Michelle Rasmussen & Catie Traynom
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Reina Sang & William Panama
Raquel Rea Heart, Kendyll Michaels & Monica Heart
Shannon Harrold, Dana Wolf & John Jeglinski
Joe Wyer, Harriett & Brian Wyer
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Heather McKelvy, Wendy Werner & Amanda Lopez
What is your hometown and how did you end up in the Pensacola area?
I moved from Dothan, Alabama, for a teaching position at Escambia High School. I later followed Hazel Scales to Pine Forest High School where I served as English Department Chair for twenty years.
What is your profession?
With both B.S. and master’s degrees in English, I taught the Honors’ Junior Classes, as well as the Senior Advanced/Dual Enrollment students. I always believed that to be a teacher was my “mission” in life. I loved the profession and the ‘selling” of education to the students.
Several years ago, life took an unexpected turn when I lost my husband, Bob, to cancer. I then changed “hats” to manage the family business, Gulf Coast Trade Exchange, a network of several hundred local businesses - established in 1977. I’m still “selling” --- just a different product. I’m still helping --business owners rather than students.
What are some of your favorite things about Pensacola?
What makes it unique?
My avorite things about Pensacola include the beaches, the arts, the history, the Ice Flyers, the Wahoos, the Blue Angels, the museums, the special events, and the people. Pensacola is unique in that it offers a small town feel with big city amenities. Palafox has been named among the top twenty streets of America.
Three words that best describe you.
Gratitude, Grace, Grit.
Favorite place for dining and entertainment?
I especially enjoy George, The District, Global, Jackson’s, Rodizio, Tuscan Oven, Polonza Bistro, and Coach & Four. My favorite pastimes include attending the Saenger Theatre Broadway Shows and playing Ladies’ League tennis at our local facilities.
What is one thing that you do not go a day without?
Gratitude for the blessings including family, friends, and health. Finish this statement, I AM PENSACOLA because… Pensacola has provided opportunities for me to grow professionally and personally. I appreciate the mentors and the friends who have helped me serve the community as an Ambassador for the Pensacola Chamber, board member of BBB, and Rotary. Pensacola has had a dynamic in uence in my life; I now enjoy seeing many of my former students successful as business owners and leaders in the community.
Former Mayor Vince Whibbs said it best, “Pensacola is the Western Gate to the Sunshine State, where thousands live as millions wish they could!”
I AM PENSACOLA Fran Crumpton
photo by Nicole Partridge