Pensacola, Florida
Monday July 22nd 2019

Archives

Rest of the Best 2015 —Featured Winners

Eat

Brother’s BBQ
3309 Gulf Beach Hwy., brothersbbqpensacola.com
How long have you been in business? 2 years
What inspired you to get started? We were inspired to open a restaurant after a strong response to our food at local events and festivals. They drive from all over the southeast to enjoy our home-cooked BBQ. Even world-famous Chef Curtis Stone has dropped in.
How many employees do you have? 10
How do you define being the “best”? For us, we get here early every day to put as much love into our recipes as we possibly can, because you can taste the difference.
What do you think sets you and your business apart? From the kitchen to the front-end staff, we strive every time you join us to make BBQ and customer service experiences you will always remember and want to tell your friends about.
Who or what inspires you to be your best? Our families, staff and clients; without them, we wouldn’t be here. Thank you to all.
Answers by: Owners Adam Rosenfield and Guy Gautney

Carmen’s Lunch Bar
407 S. Palafox, Ste. B, carmenslunchbar.com
How long have you been in business? Three years.
What inspired you to get started? I’ve always had dreams of owning my own restaurant. When Quint and Rishy Studer announced their plans for the Pensacola Business Challenge, I embraced the opportunity! The space is very small, so the design was inspired by small bars and restaurants in Europe and New Orleans.
How many employees do you have? 12
How do you define being the “best”? I think that being the “best” means that you have made an impression on your customer for doing something differently and, most importantly, consistently. There is a huge difference between good and great. We believe in being great, so we work hard for it every day.
What do you think sets you and your business apart? At Carmen’s we are known for our unique menu, warm service and intimate setting. I think it is the flavorful food and colorful presentation of our dishes that make our food stand out. Carmen’s has also become a meeting spot where there is a sense of community and camaraderie.
Who or what inspires you to be your best? My appetite and my desire to make people happy continually inspire me to do my best. I love great food! It drives me every day. My mother was the best caterer; the power her delicious cuisine had to make people happy made me want to follow her lead.
Answers by: MariCarmen Josephs, Chef/Owner

Chrisoula’s Cheesecake Shoppe & Cafe
236 W. Garden St., Ste. 2A, chrisoulascheesecakeshoppe.com
How long have you been in business? Over eight years
What inspired you to get started? I grew up in the restaurant business and have the knowledge of what it takes to keep a business running. I enjoy it very much!
How many employees do you have? Six
How do you define being the “best”? Customer satisfaction of food, service, and price
What do you think sets you and your business apart? We bake all our cheesecakes in house, we use the freshest and finest ingredients — always fresh, never frozen. Whole cheesecakes are made to order.
Who or what inspires you to be your best? My inspiration is my father, Spero Athanasios.
Answers by: Chrisoula Athanasios Hulion, Owner/Baker

Constant Coffee & Tea
615 Scenic Hwy., constantcoffeeandtea.com
How long have you been in business? Almost two years
What inspired you to get started? No one would let me do all the cool stuff floating around in my brain.
How many employees do you have? Five
How do you define being the “best”? Winning best of the coast. What else matters?
What do you think sets you and your business apart? Passion, creativity, and a love of research.
Who or what inspires you to be your best? My regulars. I want them to know their usual is always waiting.
Answers by: Philip Switzer, Boss

End of The Line Cafe
610 E. Wright St., eotlcafe.com
How long have you been in business? 13 years
What inspired you to get started? A longtime love of cooking. Creating modern healthy alternatives of our favorite foods was something I wanted to do professionally and hopefully change the way people looked at health food.
How many employees do you have? A small handful.
How do you define being the “best”? Honest efforts and compassionate decisions. Being humble yet professional. Hard work with continued passion for your field and a drive to work harder.
What do you think sets you and your business apart? Over the years End of The Line Cafe has grown and matured into an amazing family. Over the years I have grown and matured and have an amazing family of my own. Only difference is I get to go home and make monster costumes at the end of the day.
Who or what inspires you to be your best? My daughter. And the world that is consistently changing. Both of which keep me on my toes and constantly creative.
Answers by: Jen Knight-Shoemaker, Owner

The Fish House
600 S. Barracks St., greatsaouthernrestaurants.com
How long have you been in business? 17 years
What inspired you to get started? Collier Merrill formed Great Southern Restaurants with his brothers, Will and Burney Merrill, and Chef Jim Shirley in 1998. Their inspiration was to create a great hangout for the community serving up good fun along with good grits!
How many employees do you have? 200
How do you define being the “best”? It’s our goal each and every day to provide top-notch service and food. Our guests make us the best.
What do you think sets you and your business apart? Located on beautiful Pensacola Bay, overlooking Seville Harbor in downtown Pensacola. Locally owned and operated and a great staff.
Who or what inspires you to be your best? The community that we serve.
Answers by: Maria Goldberg, Director of Marketing, Public Relations and Events

Global Grill
25 and 27 S. Palafox, globalgrillpensacola.com
How long have you been in business? 12 great years and hoping for many more.
What inspired you to get started? Chef Frank’s passion for food and the yearning to be our own boss. Frank’s dad was in the military, so he lived in Europe during his high school years. He loved the tapas concept, where you can try many different flavors and dishes to comprise a meal. When we opened in 2003, we were the first tapas restaurant on the Gulf Coast. With his love of several styles of cooking–Mediterranean, Asian, Cajun, Southern–Frank didn’t want to be locked into one particular style of cooking. Global Grill was born.
How many employees do you have? Around 35. And we love every single one of them. Most of the time.
How do you define being the “best”? Serving an excellent product with consistency and love. Paying attention to details. Keeping our employees happy, which in turn leads to making our customers happy.
What do you think sets you and your business apart? It all starts with amazing food. All of our sauces, dressings, ice creams–everything is made from scratch to get the best flavors. Frank butchers our steaks in-house. We grind, stuff and smoke our own sausages. We cure and smoke our own bacon. The list goes on. Add to that our wonderful service and an upscale but laid-back atmosphere, and we think the combo works.
Who or what inspires you to be your best? Our customers, of course! We know that there are many dining options in Pensacola, and we are grateful they choose to dine with us. We want to keep improving, progressing and keeping it fresh and fun.
Answers by: Jane Taylor, Owner/Manager

Hopjacks Pizza Kitchen & Taproom
10 S. Palafox, hopjacks.com
How long have you been in business? Seven and a half years
What inspired you to get started? Pensacola was in desperate need of a late-night food venue that wasn’t a drive-through, fast-food place. Also, the craft beer movement needed to be in Pensacola.
How many employees do you have? 50
How do you define being the “best”? A team of hard workers striving for a common goal and putting in 100% effort consistently to achieve what we could not achieve alone.
What do you think sets you and your business apart? The diversity of our guests gave us the slogan “ties to tattoos”. Everyone is welcome.
Who or what inspires you to be your best? The voices in our heads.
Answers by: Joe Abston, Entrepreneur

Hot Spot Barbecue
901 E. La Rua St., facebook.com/HotSpotPensacola
How long have you been in business? Two and a quarter years
What inspired you to get started? We have a spirit-led desire to serve great barbecue.
How many employees do you have? 15
How do you define being the “best”? Truly blessed to have such a wonderful reputation. It is very humbling knowing that it takes a lot of people to like what we are doing and take their time to vote.
What do you think sets you and your business apart? A fun and friendly atmosphere where we truly appreciate that our guests can go anywhere to eat. We strive to prove ourselves worthy every day.
Who or what inspires you to be your best? Our faith in God’s word promising to prosper good work, and this great country, which allows us the freedom to work every day.
Answers by: Jim Hlubek, General Manager and Cheri Hlubek, Catering Manager

Ichiban
5555 N Davis Hwy., ichibanpensacola.com
How long have you been in business? 12 years
What inspired you to get started? We wanted to create sushi everybody feels comfortable ordering.
How many employees do you have? 25
Who or what inspires you to be your best? We like catering to individual tastes rather than insisting on our ideas only. We are always willing to go the extra mile to achieve high-quality food and excellent service with a welcoming ambiance.
Answers by: Lin and Jean Hyechin, Owners

Jackson’s Steakhouse
400 S. Palafox, greatsouthernrestaurants.com
How long have you been in business? 17 years
What inspired you to get started? In 1998, a group of entrepreneurs were inspired to renovate the old building and open a restaurant in historic downtown. The restaurant was inspired by Andrew Jackson who, in 1821, accepted the transfer of Florida from Spain to the United States in Ferdinand Plaza directly in front of the restaurant.
How many employees do you have? 45
How do you define being the “best”? It is the goal of the Merrill Brothers, Chef Irv Miller and Director of Operations Steve Ooms to provide the very best in service and food to our guests each and every day. Our customers make us the best.
What do you think sets you and your business apart? Located in historic downtown Pensacola overlooking Plaza Ferdinand, locally owned and operated and our staff.
Who or what inspires you to be your best? Our customers inspire us to be the best.
Answers by: Maria Goldberg, Director of Marketing, Public Relations and Events

Restaurant IRON
22 N. Palafox St., restaurantiron.com
How long have you been in business? We have been in business for a little over three years and at our new location since December.
What inspired you to get started? Chef Alex, after working in some of the best restaurants in New Orleans, wanted to return to his hometown of Pensacola. He had a desire to help evolve the Pensacola community by providing a fresh, artistic approach to the culinary scene.
How many employees do you have? 25
How do you define being the “best”? We think the best is defined by loving what you do and inviting other people to see that in your work.  For us, being the best means waking up every day and loving what you do.
What do you think sets you and your business apart? We try to obtain as many of our ingredients from a 200-mile radius as possible.  We focus on local, organic, non-GMO ingredients to ensure our food is as fresh as possible.
Who or what inspires you to be your best? Chef Alex draws his inspiration from other chefs, mainly Thomas Keller of The French Laundry.  The Restaurant IRON staff is inspired by offering healthy food to the Pensacola and surrounding communities.
Answers by: Nikki Nash, Owner

Ruby Slipper Cafe
509 S. Palafox, therubyslippercafe.net
How long have you been in business? Founded in May 2008, in New Orleans. Opened in Pensacola on July 4, 2015.
What inspired you to get started? The Ruby Slipper Cafe was inspired by a powerful sense of homecoming when we returned to New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.  The original location was built as part of returning buildings in our flooded neighborhood back into commerce.
How many employees do you have? Altogether we have 170 employees, 35 of them are in Pensacola.
How do you define being the “best”? Providing the best breakfast and brunch food, excellent coffee and cocktails, excellent service in a lively atmosphere.
What do you think sets you and your business apart? Fresh ingredients, unique menu items, items made in-house daily, fresh roasted and brewed coffee, great (strong) cocktails and a focus on excellent customer service.
Who or what inspires you to be your best? Our customers! The customers in Pensacola have been gracious in their positive feedback and grateful for our restaurant opening.
Answers by: Jennifer Weishaupt, Owner

SaBai Thai Café
4104 Gulf Breeze Pkwy., Gulf Breeze, facebook.com/SabaiThaiCafe
How long have you been in business? Since June 2015
What inspired you to get started? I wanted to make Thai food for the locals — delicious, fresh Thai food.  My family has great recipes, and I wanted to share them with other people. My family has enjoyed creating dishes for a long time.
How many employees do you have? Four team members
How do you define being the “best”? Being the best is when you know what you’re doing and you do it better than anyone else. In the restaurant field, it’s when you combine your talent and your passion with a driving desire to satisfy customers.
What do you think sets you and your business apart? We’re not a stuffy, overly-decorated Thai restaurant; we prefer to focus on the flavor, quality and presentation of our meals. We want our food to speak for itself; that it is authentic Thai food, and I think it does just that.
Who or what inspires you to be your best? Seeing reviews and hearing all the customers say our food was awesome! I’m also inspired by my mother who has given me not just her recipes, but her strong work ethic, as well. Finally, I love seeing the proud faces of my husband and daughter, who are my rocks!
Answers by: Pam VanNess, Owner

Sake Cafe
4795 N. 9th Ave., sakecafepensacola.com
How long have you been in business? Nine years
What inspired you to get started? We were inspired to offer fine quality Asian food, which this town needed.
How many employees do you have? 15 including full-time and part-time employees.
What do you think sets your business apart? Japanese and Asian food is a big part of our lives. Plus our food is always fresh and good quality.
Answers by: Wayan Sumadi, Chef

Shark Fin
5912 N. Davis Hwy., Ste. C, sharkfinpensacola.com
How long have you been in business? Five and a half years
What inspired you to get started? We wanted to provide quality Chinese food, not the usual fast-food options.
How many employees do you have? 20
How do you define being the “best”? We are focused on the dynamics of a well-balanced diet and also unique flavors. We also like to make everything from scratch.
Who or what inspires you to be your best? We are always looking for more ways to provide our customers with quality food. We take our business home with us each night.
Answers by: Lin and Jean Hyechin, Owners

Southern Ladle Cafe
2130 Summit Blvd., facebook.com/SouthernLadlePensacola
How long have you been in business? Since June 2015
What inspired you to get started? My grandmother. Her love of food and cooking always inspired me to be a good cook, to strive to be the best I could. She had southern charm to her core, and that is why I do what I do; to carry on her love of cooking.
How many employees do you have? Four including myself.
How do you define being the “best”? To me, it’s about believing in yourself and putting out the best product you can.
What do you think sets you and your business apart? I think I’m just like everyone else, maybe that’s what is so appealing. People connect with its simplicity.
Who or what inspires you to be your best? Identify and know your challenges, accept them and move past them.
Answers by: Christy Rushing, Owner

VooDoo BBQ & Grill
1741 E. Nine Mile Road, Unit 9, voodoobbqandgrill.com
How long have you been in business? VooDoo BBQ & Grill originally opened in New Orleans on Mardi Gras Day 2001. We opened in Pensacola on November 11, 2014.
What inspired you to get started? We love BBQ, and we love New Orleans.  When we found the opportunity to combine the two, we knew it was the right concept to bring to Pensacola.
How many employees do you have? 18
How do you define being the “best”? Being the best means to consistently provide outstanding food and exceptional customer service.
What do you think sets you and your business apart? The quality and variety of our menu, quality cuts of meat slow-smoked in house every day, made-from-scratch Louisiana legends and signature side items.
Who or what inspires you to be your best? Our guests inspire us to be our best.  People work hard for their money, and we view it as a true honor when our customers choose to spend their money with us.  We want to make sure they receive consistent quality food and great service on every visit.
Answers by: Rick West, Owner/General Manager

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Drink

The Cabaret
101 S. Jefferson St.
How long have you been in business? Six years
What inspired you to get started? Opportunity to preserve and grow a sector of Pensacola’s community.
How many employees do you have? Five
How do you define being the “best”? Holding a unique level of excellence that others seek to benchmark and improve themselves.
What do you think sets you and your business apart? Although business practices outside of the hospitality industry have been implemented, our customer and employee base would have to be the biggest, most enjoyable difference.
Who or what inspires you to be your best? The thirst and quest for knowledge and continued betterment.
Answers by: Paul Dye, Manager/Owner and Sean Sumpter, Trivia Master/Server

The Elbow Room
2213 W. Cervantes St.
How long have you been in business? 52 Years
How many employees do you have? Six
How do you define being the “best”? We strive at the Elbow Room to deliver the best pizza and coldest beer to the Elbow Room friends and family, and every day our family grows when a new friend comes for a visit.
What do you think sets you and your business apart? We aren’t the average restaurant. Most people are surprised on their first visit. Most of our new friends come to The Elbow Room because someone shared how unique of a place we are. Come and experience The Elbow Room, and you will see what sets us apart.
Who or what inspires you to be your best? Our founder, Jim Flynn, set the standard 52 Years ago, and we strive every day to maintain the experience and service for our friends and family members of The Elbow Room.
Answers by: Jonathan Owens and Lisa Touchettes, family members of The Elbow Room

Mellow Mushroom Pizza Baker
5100 Bayou Blvd., mellowmushroom.com/Pensacola
How long have you been in business? Inspired by the product and by a desire to work outside of a corporate structure, we opened our first location in 1994.
What inspired you to get started? My wife and I were inspired to own our own business so we could work outside of the corporate structure we had been in.  We wanted to be our own boss, so we took the leap. We really loved the product and Mellow atmosphere.
How many employees do you have? Approximately 50
How do you define being the “best”? The best has always meant hiring the best employees and creating an enjoyable atmosphere to serve the highest-quality food with a high regard to food safety.  The best in the food service industry is being the place your customers like to be.
What do you think sets you and your business apart? Our business is unique in the health conscious ingredients, the freshness, the organic products, the ability to serve special dietary needs and our made-to-order food by highly-trained staff. And we are funky!
Who or what inspires you to be your best? Our customers are the inspiration for all our aspirations.  After working in customer service in the corporate world, you realize that without your eye on the customer’s wants, needs, and safety, you are just a business; not “The Business” that earns repeat business and recommendations from your customers.
Answers by: Jim and Linda Livingston, Owners; Josh Flick, Supreme Manager

Seville Quarter
130 E. Government St., sevillequarter.com
How long have you been in business? Seville Quarter has been the Gulf Coast’s Entertainment Destination since 1967.  Home of the World Famous Rosie O’Grady’s.
What inspired you to get started? Seville Quarter was the dream of Bob Snow, who was a virtuoso trumpet player, Dixieland band leader, naturally-gifted designer, builder and energetic entrepreneur.  Snow fell in love with Pensacola while in Navy Flight training. Over several years, beautiful distinctive rooms have became Pensacola’s premier entertainment and dining complex.
How many employees do you have? Over the past 48 years, Seville Quarter has employed over 10,000 employees.  It used to be, in Pensacola, if you worked in the hospitality business, you started at Seville Quarter.  Currently, Seville Quarter has over 125 hardworking and dedicated employees.
How do you define being the “best”? Being the best is what Seville Quarter and our staff does every day!  Seville Quarter is only as good as the people who work here. We have the best team of loyal, long-term employees lead by a family of dedicated, hands-on owners.
What do you think sets you and your business apart? Seville Quarter and the Mitchell Family are devoted to providing each guest with the highest level of customer service as outlined in “The 5 F’s:” fine quality products served in a friendly atmosphere with fast service at a fair price in a family business.
Who or what inspires you to be your best? The locals of Pensacola who have made Seville Quarter their hometown Entertainment Destination for almost 50 years.  The customer that comes into Seville Quarter for the first time and realizes that they are in one of the greatest nightclubs in the world, and they can’t wait to tell their friends!
Answers by: Buck Mitchell, Marketing Director

Vinyl Music Hall
2 S. Palafox, vinylmusichall.com
How long have you been in business? Five years
What inspired you to get started? A desire to bring world-class entertainment from all over the world to downtown Pensacola.
How many employees do you have? Approximately 20
How do you define being the “best”? Providing a one-of-a-kind concert experience in the heart of our ever-growing downtown.
What do you think sets you and your business apart? Our efforts to bring not just quality, but musical diversity to downtown.
Who or what inspires you to be your best? The rabid live music fans in Pensacola and the surrounding areas.
Answers by: Chris Wilkes, Talent Buyer

World of Beer/Blend Lounge
200 S. Palafox, worldofbeer.com, blendlounge.com
How long have you been in business? Personally 10 years, WOB eight years and Blend six years.
What inspired you to get started? Creating something with my best friend.
How many employees do you have? 100
How do you define being the “best”? Doing your best.
What do you think sets you and your business apart? Culture of constant improvement.
Who or what inspires you to be your best? Family and friends; building relationships, creating opportunities and providing a great experience
Answers by: Scott Zepp, Co-Founder and Co-Owner

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Shop

Aragon Wine Market
27 S. Ninth Ave., aragonwinemarket.com
How long have you been in business? Seven years
What inspired you to get started? I always loved wine but never thought that it would be my career. I had no idea how much I would love not only being in the wine business, but how much I love the day-to-day running of a store. Having great customers makes it easy and fun.
How many employees do you have? It’s just me and Amber Solnick. I think it’s great that we have a small staff. We do have to work hard, but we really get to know our customers and their likes.
How do you define being the “best”? We try hard! We might not always do everything perfectly, but we have good intentions. And when we mess up, we take responsibility and try to make it right.
What do you think sets you and your business apart? Personal service. You can buy wine anywhere these days, from the grocery to the gas station. People come to us to support a local business and to get one-on-one help.
Who or what inspires you to be your best? Of course our customers inspire us. Because we have personal relationships with many of them, we try hard to keep them happy.  We recently added a wine bar to the store, because we had many customers wanting to hang out and share a glass of wine.
Answers by: Charlotte Gordon, Owner

Bambooze Fine Wine & Liquor
8084 N. Davis Hwy., bamboozefinewine.com
How long have you been in business? 11 years
What inspired you to get started? A “thirst” for better quality wine and spirits and the opportunity to expand the Pensacola palate.
How many employees do you have? Six
How do you define being the “best”? In our case, “the best” directly reflects our unrelenting effort to seek out top-quality spirits from around the world and introduce our customers to the pinnacle of flavor that many lesser-known, small production distilleries can offer.
What do you think sets you and your business apart? Selection, selection, selection.
Who or what inspires you to be your best? Family and friends.
Answers by: Stephen Loveless, President

Bluetique
212 S. Alcaniz St., bluetiquepensacola.com
How long have you been in business? We opened in March 2013
What inspired you to get started? I have always loved retail, and when my family and I moved back to Pensacola, I knew I wanted to get back into it. I felt there was a need for a coastal-inspired woman’s boutique, and I have enjoyed how our style has evolved over the years.
How many employees do you have? Three
How do you define being the “best”? To us, “the best” is about combining world-class hospitality with merchandise that is characterized by quality and craftsmanship. We are all about timeless pieces with unique details.
What do you think sets you and your business apart? The thing that is most important to us is our customer service. One of my favorite parts of owning Bluetique has been getting to know our customers. It’s the best when you feel like good friends are walking through your door all day long!
Who or what inspires you to be your best? Our customers. We feel so fortunate to have so many wonderful customers, and we are always trying to create an environment and inventory that we think they would like to shop.
Answers by: Laura Belsinger, Owner

Duh for Garden and Home
501 N. 9th Avenue, duhpensacola.com
How long have you been in business? Duh has been in business 15 years. But I suppose I have really been doing this my entire life. My father was an estate auctioneer, so I grew up in the business.
What inspired you to get started? Duh began in a 1,500sf cinder block liquor store, using garden and home elements from around the world.  We currently have 16,000sf of showrooms, courtyards and two restaurants. We really just wanted to create a shopping experience like no other with a fun and unpretentious atmosphere.
How many employees do you have? Our needs are constantly evolving. In many ways, I would say Duh is a lot like Santa’s workshop; we have as many elves, or Duh ninjas, as we like to call them, as we need to get the job at hand done.
How do you define being the “best”? I think it’s generally that we have a unique selection of home decor and gifts. We strive to select the best products on the market with the best value. We really want to offer our customers something that they won’t find anywhere else.
What do you think sets you and your business apart? Our experience, style, creativity and a splash of the unexpected. The concept of Duh was to create a place for each individual to have an adventure for the day. We really offer everything; gifts, home decor, men’s and women’s clothing, items for children and pets, garden, stationery and two restaurants.
Who or what inspires you to be your best? I think what inspires us is to see joy in the people we help, be it with home decor, garden, gifts or just with a personal relationship. We constantly strive to create an environment where it’s fun to shop.
Answers by: Jim Rigsbee, Co-Owner

Ever’man Cooperative Grocery & Café
315 W. Garden St., everman.org
How long have you been in business? 42
What inspired you to get started? Ever’man was founded in order for  the community to  have education about health, nutrition and environmental issues; access to healthy, natural food and products at the lowest-possible prices; support for responsible, local agriculture and small business; and an example of green business practices.
How many employees do you have? 80
How do you define being the “best”? At Ever’man, our policy is to provide healthier and more nutritious alternatives to conventional offerings, while providing our community with a wide variety of foods. Our buyers use a product evaluation form when bringing in new products. Items offered for sale will be expected to meet or exceed our standards.
What do you think sets you and your business apart? Ever’man is dedicated to providing education to members and the community on the importance of healthy foods, environmentally- friendly products and practices, and supporting local and small businesses that provide these types of products and services.
Who or what inspires you to be your best? We draw purpose from our mission; Ever’man  views food as part of the chain of life with an emphasis on nutritional value and holistic health.
Answers by: Maria Pinochet, Marketing Manager

Flora Bama Farms
6404 Mobile Hwy.
How long have you been in business? 31 years
What inspired you to get started? We are honored to continue the D’amico family tradition that started in 1984. It is our deep belief that one should be able to promote local farmers, share their hard work and create sustainability for our community.
How many employees do you have? 14 and growing!
How do you define being the “best”? Being able to make everyone a part of the adventure every day, farm-to-table is a seriously-enriching commitment that just has to be shared to grow.
What do you think sets you and your business apart? Our “farmily” motto is “peace, love and collard greens.” Enough said, right? But really, we dream big. We work hard. We grow people. We share, we teach, and we do it all over again every day!
Who or what inspires you to be your best? The “family”; every single person at the farm inspires daily; even our old running mates send words when the going gets tough, and farmers. Not a single person works harder than a farmer!
Answers by: Sandy Veilleux, CFO, Chef and Co-Owner

Mainline
422 S. Palafox, mainlinearthouse.com
How long have you been in business? One year
What inspired you to get started? As avid travelers, Jason and I sought to bring some of our favorite experiences to downtown Pensacola. We would constantly see shops filled with great products that we couldn’t find at home, and we wanted to share those experiences with the folks here.
How many employees do you have? Three
How do you define being the “best”? In today’s world, being the “best” is so often measured by who has the most likes on Facebook or Instagram. However, for us, it’s more about having great customer service and offering an experience and products that you won’t find anywhere else.
What do you think sets you and your business apart? I think what sets Mainline apart is the approach we take to creating it. Rather than attend markets and shows, we find many of our brands and products on social media and from our customers. And rather than try to force ourselves into one genre, we’ve embraced several different ones.
Who or what inspires you to be your best? Nothing is more inspiring than the look on a customer’s face when they discover a new product or find that perfect gift they’ve been searching for. It’s ultra-rewarding to know that we’ve brightened someone’s day and will continue to do so each time they see that product.
Answers by: Mikel Traffanstead, Co-Owner and Creative Director

Pensacola Pop Comics
909 N. 12th Ave., Pensacolapopcomics.com
How long have you been in business? Year and a half
What inspired you to get started? I love comics and missed the kind of shops we used to have; the kinds that only dealt in comics instead of toys and games.
How many employees do you have? Just me.
How do you define being the “best”? It’s not necessarily being the most popular — McDonald’s sells millions of Big Macs, but that doesn’t mean they’re the best thing to eat. I guess it’s more about being knowledge of my customers and my products and finding a nice meeting ground for the two.
What do you think sets you and your business apart? Comic shops can be unwelcoming sometimes. I’ve got a pretty friendly little shop where anyone can feel comfortable, and I’ve got a great selection of new comics each week.
Who or what inspires you to be your best? First off, my wife. She’s an incredible woman, and without her, I’d be living in my store.  And my customers, too. I’ve got a loyal fan base that could go anywhere else, or online, and if I don’t take care of them, someone else could.
Answers by: Harley Orr, Owner

Sandy Sansing Dealerships
6200 Pensacola Blvd.,sandysansing.com
How long have you been in business? The Sandy Sansing Dealership Group was founded in 1986 with the opening of Sandy Sansing Chevrolet.
What inspired you to get started? I was looking for a business opportunity and purchased Sandy Sansing Chevrolet in 1986. The rest is history!
How many employees do you have? Approximately 500
How do you define being the “best”? I had three main goals when opening the dealerships: to strive to hire the best, to treat customers as I would want to be treated, and to support our community. Winning this title is an acknowledgment that we are meeting the needs of our customers.
What do you think sets you and your business apart? One of the most important purchases a family will make is their vehicle. We have focused on customer satisfaction and community involvement since our founding in 1986. Our customers can be guaranteed the money they spend with our organization stays in the local community to support and enrich our area.
Who or what inspires you to be your best? We strive to provide the best experience to each and every customer. Whether they are just starting the search for a new vehicle or have been a customer for years, they are all treated as a part of our dealership family.
Answers by: Lindsay Fowler, Advertising Manager

The Sequined Magnolia Boutique
1208 N. 12th Ave. (Located inside of Angel’s Garden Unique Gifts), thesequinedmagnolia.com
How long have you been in business? One year
What inspired you to get started? After moving back to Pensacola, I found that the options for women’s boutiques were growing, but still limited.  I wanted a place where women of diverse ages and sizes could feel pretty and comfortable.
How many employees do you have? Currently it is myself, but being that I am located in Angel’s Garden Unique Gift Shop, my mother, Deborah Tracy, and grandmother, Rosalie Tracy, are also typically in the store, as well.  We work together to keep both The Sequined Magnolia and Angel’s Garden staffed.
How do you define being the “best”? Being able to have our clients happy at the end of their shopping experience. Every girl deserves to feel her best, and that is what we work toward with every client.
What do you think sets you and your business apart? Ensuring that our clients not only have fun shopping, but also feel great about their purchase and how to style their new items. I strive to have items that are classic, but still on trend, along with items that are handmade or have a cause behind them.
Who or what inspires you to be your best? The idea that The Sequined Magnolia started with one custom rolling rack and has grown to an entire room and a website is such a blessing.  My family, friends and clients continue to inspire me to continue to grow the business and offer more.
Answers by: Lauren Perry, Owner

Susan Campbell Jewelry
420 S. Palafox, susancampbelljewelry.com
How long have you been in business? 10 years in February
What inspired you to get started? At that time Pensacola was just beginning to feel the shift in young professionals, and revitalization was in the air.  We just left New Orleans after Katrina and felt the bubbling Pensacola energy.  It was time for me to go out on my own, and it was time for Pensacola.
How many employees do you have? Six lovely in-house ladies who work both full and part time, two contract employees who help with writing and graphic design, two contract jewelers and a fabulous connection with a local jeweler who does the mainstay of our trade work. It takes a village.
How do you define being the “best”? Balance, for me and my employees.  I need time, and they need time.  They also need to be active players in the business.  Their opinions count, their ideas count.  We work together as a team, and I think it makes our work place the best it can be. What do you think sets you and your business apart? We strive to bring new and different ideas to our community, to see art and design in new ways, and it is thrilling to us when a new friend “gets it.”  It’s fun! We have few rules (but lots of structure) and love to change it up.
Who or what inspires you to be your best? First it was my Aunt Susan traveling to Africa, India and China in search of special art pieces. Then it was the amazing group of female artists and designers who now show in our gallery. Now it is my daughter; may she blaze her own path.
Answers by: Susan Campbell Hatler, Owner

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Services

All Risk Insurance, Inc.
79 Baybridge Dr., Gulf Breeze, allriskins.com
How long have you been in business? Over 25 years.
What inspired you to get started? Independent Agents have offered insurance to the public for over 150 years. All Risk Insurance purposes to provide more than just insurance. All Risk aims to reduce your insurance cost and to reduce the gaps you may have in your coverage.
How many employees do you have? Over 15 in three convenient locations in Milton, Pensacola and Gulf Breeze.
How do you define being the “best”? The All Risk team is dedicated to offering you the best company, coverage and cost to meet your individual and professional needs.
What do you think sets you and your business apart? We take pride in our long-standing tradition of professional excellence. We are committed to providing quality insurance protection to both families and businesses. We have a wide array of excellent companies enabling us to give you the best value for your insurance dollar.
Who or what inspires you to be your best? All Risk Insurance is a family-oriented agency committed to a high standard of excellence in all that we do. We strive to meet the needs in our community and establish a firm relationship of mutual trust and service with each of our clients.
Answers by: Elizabeth Gibson, Vice President

Arrow Salon & Spa
3101 E. Cervantes St., facebook.com/pages/Arrow-Salon-spa
How long have you been in business? 11 months
What inspired you to get started? It has always been a dream to open a place that would feel like an extension of our homes, a place where we could build a team that would treat each guest with warmth and expertise. We’re passionate about offering education to all service providers, merging creativity and precision to better ourselves and better the experience we provide for our clients.
How many employees do you have? Eight
How do you define being the “best”? It means being on target in all areas of service. It’s being able to take what a person says they want and then making their vision a reality. At the end of the day, it is not about how we feel we have done, but how each guest feels when they leave our salon.
What do you think sets you and your business apart? At Arrow, we truly are a team and a family. We are constantly enhancing our educational skills, fine-tuning our processes and offerings and finding new ways to grow. We love helping out our teammates, sharing our knowledge and a smile with each person who walks through the door, building relationships throughout the community.
Who or what inspires you to be your best? Inspiration is all around us in the world of beauty. Working with Davines and Comfort Zone products makes the health and wellbeing of our clients’ skin and hair a top priority. These environmentally-friendly companies have off-the- charts sustainability practices and actually improve the health of hair and skin with each use.
Answers by: Maxine Lyvers and Simmi Taylor, Owners

Bikram Yoga Pensacola
1151 Office Woods Dr. Ste. C, bikramyogapensacola.com
How long have you been in business? 11 months.
What inspired you to get started? It takes more than a single moment to compel someone to open a business. At the top of my list are the people. I was inspired by the goals they accomplished, myself included, with a consistent Bikram Yoga Practice.  After seeing results, I knew I had to share the practice.
How many employees do you have? Three
How do you define being the “best”? Bikram Yoga Pensacola offers the highest quality and excellence in this specialty yoga method. We provide one of the healthiest, state-of- the art, hot yoga facilities in the country. We are a full-service studio complete with locker rooms, showers and full-time instructors dedicated to furthering your practice.
What do you think sets you and your business apart? It is in fact the Bikram Yoga Method. We are the only official Bikram Yoga studio on the Gulf Coast. All of our teachers have completed the world-renowned, nine-week, Bikram Yoga teacher training program.
Who or what inspires you to be your best? The students inspire me to be my personal best. They are my teachers. Whether I am teaching class or practicing next to them, they are the reason I continue to grow.  I would not be where I am today if it was not for them.
Answers by: Nicole Trboyevich, Owner/Studio Director/Bikram Yoga Instructor

Central Credit Union of Florida
6200 N. W St., ccufl.org
How long have you been in business? 53 years
What inspired you to get started? Credit Unions are financial cooperatives, and Central is inspired by our membership and our community.  We strive to serve the needs of our members beyond their expectations and be the credit union of choice providing financial opportunities that last a lifetime.
How many employees do you have? 67
How do you define being the “best”? We are defined by our members. We offer financial solutions in a challenging economy, the latest technology and outstanding community involvement. We maintain our 5-star Bauer Rating, along with other acknowledgments of the safety and soundness of Central Credit Union.
What do you think sets you and your business apart? We take pride in offering services and products in the best interest of our members.  We serve those who have had financial challenges in the past and provide them with alternatives to reach their financial goals. We are not just defined by our members, but also by our community outreach.
Who or what inspires you to be your best? We are inspired by our membership, and we will continue to serve our members and our community.

Fixed on Fitness
1218 E. Maxwell St., fixedonfitness.com
How long have you been in business? Seven years. We began with a location at Bayview Park. In 2011, we expanded into Perdido, and we opened a third location in Pace in 2012.  We are excited to expand into Cantonment in 2016.
What inspired you to get started? Josh and I have always had a passion for fitness and the outdoors.  We saw a need for a structured outdoor fitness program in Pensacola.  We have such beautiful parks in our city, and we knew that FOF could help people thrive in an encouraging and challenging outdoor environment.
How many employees do you have? Four
How do you define being the “best”? I think that being the best in the fitness business means that you give specific attention to each and every client.  We constantly strive to improve our program and help every client reach his or her fullest potential.
What do you think sets you and your business apart? From the beginning, our goal has been to make a difference in the life of each client.  We provide effective and challenging workouts each time we meet, but FOF is so much more than daily workouts.  It is an environment that brings out the best in each individual client.
Who or what inspires you to be your best? Simple…our clients! We love our clients, and many of them have been with us since the very first camp.  We want to continue to help them on their health and fitness journey.
Answers by: Kenzie Presnell, Owner and Certified Personal Trainer

Framing By Design
4718 N. W S., framingbydesignpensacola.com
How long have you been in business? 19 years now, but I have been framing since 1984.
What inspired you to get started? I graduated with a Bachelor’s degree from USA.  My major was art with a minor in business.  I started working with my previous employer in Mobile during my last quarter at USA and worked for him 11 years before buying his business in 1996.
How many employees do you have? Two besides myself
How do you define being the “best”? Caring about the client and making sure they have what they want, taking care of their precious memories or art so they are preserved for their future, and educating them on their choices so they can make informed decisions.
What do you think sets you and your business apart? Our quality and service.  With Certified Picture Framers on staff, we know what it takes to take care of the items/art the client wants framed.  We have over 80 years of combined experience between the three of us.
Who or what inspires you to be your best? Our clients inspire us. When they come to pick up their framing and we see their faces light up, or hear them say how great our work is or how wonderful their art looks, that makes our day and keeps us working to make everyone react this way.
Answers by: Gyna Sellers, CPF, Owner/ President

Gulf Coast Community Bank
40 N. Palafox St., mygulfbank.com
How long have you been in business? 12 Years
What inspired you to get started? With mergers of the larger commercial banks, mega-banks were being formed.  Many customers still wanted a local community bank and were looking for a banker who knew them personally.
How many employees do you have? 48 employees in five locations throughout Escambia and Santa Rosa counties.
How do you define being the “best”? Going above and beyond to serve customers with all of their financial needs by being friendly, service minded, trustworthy and professional.
What do you think sets you and your business apart? Personal customer service is our forte, and being locally owned and managed sets us apart from the larger corporate banks.
Who or what inspires you to be your best? The positive feedback we get from our customers inspires us to continue to strive to do all we can for them.
Answers by: Jean Nelson, SVP/ Marketing

Gulf Winds Federal Credit Union
400 W. Garden St., gogulfwinds.com
How long have you been in business? 61 years
What inspired you to get started? Gulf Winds began as the credit union for what was then the Chemstrand Plant. After time, as we saw the increased opportunity to serve even more people, we attained a community charter and opened up our membership to anyone who lives or works in the communities we serve.
How many employees do you have? 182
How do you define being the “best”? At Gulf Winds, being the best means constantly improving for our team and our members in order to raise the level of service we provide. We strive every day to deliver “Service that Soars Above.”
What do you think sets you and your business apart? The personal service that we provide is what sets us apart from other financial institutions. We hear over and over again from our members that they appreciate not just being an account number. The number one compliment we receive is that we greet them by name.
Who or what inspires you to be your best? In short, our members. Our number one goal is to provide our members with financial products and services that not only benefit them as individuals, but also the communities in which we live.
Answers by: Nick Johnson, AVP of Marketing

idgroup Branding
300 E. Intendencia St., idgroupbranding.com
How long have you been in business? 26 years
What inspired you to get started? We wanted to show that world-class creative work could be produced in Pensacola, Florida, and have fun doing it. Our goal was, and continues to be, to be a place where talented people and great clients are attracted.
How many employees do you have? Eight
How do you define being the “best”? Helping our clients succeed at building strong and sustainable brand reputations; supporting our employees in reaching their personal and professional goals; making a positive impact on our community and on the world.
What do you think sets you and your business apart? Our Whole Systems Branding from the Core process guides clients in building brand reputations by aligning who they say they are with customer experiences. This approach is anchored in research, strategy, performance metrics, and uncompromising creative execution.
Who or what inspires you to be your best? Our Whole Systems Branding from the Core process is built on the shoulders of some of the most amazing thinkers and researchers in the world: Wally Olins, Mary Jo Hatch, David Cooperrider and Ray Anderson. They inspire us every day to challenge our own thinking, take risks and resist mediocrity.
Answers by: Mona A. Amodeo, Ph.D., Founder/President

In Detail Interiors
1514 N. 9th Ave., indetailinteriors.com
How long have you been in business? 16 years
What inspired you to get started? An unfortunate divorce when my children were young meant I needed gainful employment. I did not want to miss many of their activities or school events, so starting my own business was the best option. Plus, I suck as an employee. I hung out my shingle and never looked back.
How many employees do you have? Five full-time team members and two part time.
How do you define being the “best”? I think being the best means having a passion for what you do and to do it well, whether being a school teacher, a fireman or a designer. The day I simply “agree” with a client just to be “done” is the day I quit.
What do you think sets you and your business apart? My retail shop is curated with unique treasures for anyone’s home; something different, something old or something new. Our interiors approach is to create spaces with form, function and wowza for the client’s specific needs and aesthetic. No cookie cutter. No catalog decorating. We do not follow trends. We lead them.
Who or what inspires you to be your best? I am inspired to be my best by family and friends who get me, especially my two daughters and husband, who tolerate the intensity and the often single-minded focus required for me to be authentic. They inspire me to never lose sight of my passion.
Answers by: Cheryl Kees Clendenon, Owner and Lead Designer

Izzo Cutter & Company
3435 N. 12th Ave. and 207 Gulf Breeze Pkw., izzocutter.com
How long have you been in business? Seven years Pensacola location. Three years Gulf Breeze location.
What inspired you to get started? Izzo and Cutter partnered to bring the best customer satisfaction a salon could offer in the area, priding ourselves on giving our staff every opportunity to continue to learn, grow and provide the best experience for our clients.
How many employees do you have? 17 between the two locations
How do you define being the “best”? Being the “best” is being recognized by our clients that we fulfilled their needs and expectations on a regular and continuing basis.
What do you think sets you and your business apart? Our continued desire to be giving our guests the best. Constantly evaluating our work and environment that keeps a smile on everyone’s face.
Who or what inspires you to be your best? Inspiration is brought to us on a regular basis whether it is from our guests or all of the team at Izzo Cutter & Company. We constantly look to our industry, as well, to keep up with where the trends are going to be innovative in the salon.
Answers by: Lauren Fennell-Cutter, Co-Owner

Joe Pace Insurance Agency
3276 Fordham Pkwy., Gulf Breeze, facebook.com/joepaceinsuranceagency
How long have you been in business? 33 years
What inspired you to get started? My dad was an insurance agent. Also, when I was younger we had our house catch on fire on Bay Street in Gulf Breeze, and I got to see how insurance helps people in terrible situations. “Nobody likes insurance until you need insurance.”
How many employees do you have? Four
How do you define being the “best”? Having a good balance in your life between your business and your family. Your best is not going to be others’ definition of being the best.
What do you think sets you and your business apart? The individual care that we put towards our clients.  We will never be a giant agency, nor do we want to be.  Think of the “Jerry Maguire” business model.
Who or what inspires you to be your best? Our clients and our families; if we don’t do our best, they are the ones who are hurt. In the area where we live, disasters are inevitable, and we have to do our best, because one day your client will call and say, “I need some help.”
Answers by: Joe Pace, Joe Pace Jr., or Joseph—depends on who’s calling. There are a lot of Joe Paces in this family.  But we are all insurance agents.

K9 Splash-N-Dash
2876 Gulf Breeze Pkwy., Gulf Breeze, k9splashndash.com
How long have you been in business? Two years
What inspired you to get started? The need of a facility in the area where the whole family can enjoy bathing their dog, or sit and wait in our comfortable waiting area while their dog is being groomed by our staff.
How many employees do you have? Four
How do you define being the “best”? Being the best is having a place where dogs can come for a true spa day, and the whole family can come and be a part of it, also.  Our customers and their dogs have become part of our K9 family.
What do you think sets you and your business apart? Definitely our six big tubs that easily accommodate dogs of any size, as well as elderly dogs or dogs with hip and back trouble.  We also have an open floor plan that allows the customer to see their dog being groomed.
Who or what inspires you to be your best? Our furry friends with their wagging tails that greet us every day is all the inspiration we need!  We enjoy seeing the smiling faces of our customers after their dogs are freshly groomed, and we will continue to offer top-notch service to all who visit.
Answers by: Rita Pattison, Owner

Lacy Phillips Designs
240 W. Garden St., lacyphillips.com
How long have you been in business? 10 years
What inspired you to get started? I had a passion for interior design early on but pursued an English degree in college. Shortly afterwards, living in Dallas, I acknowledged my career direction was off track. I enrolled in design school and became an assistant for a successful residential designer. It all made sense after that.
How many employees do you have? The best team ever: Junior Designer Lindsey Lay, Project Manager Bromli Breedlove and Stacey Langston, accounting.
How do you define being the “best”? I strive to provide a top-notch experience for every client. The end result should be a beautiful space where they feel at home, but also that the project was so seamless and easy, it was actually fun for them.
What do you think sets you and your business apart? We consider ourselves a “full service” design business. From new construction, remodels to redecorating, we like to get involved early on in the process, sometimes before plans have even been drawn, and we are often installing the toilet paper in the end.
Who or what inspires you to be your best? I have had some wonderful mentors who have taught me how to fuel my creativity while running a successful business at the same time. That is not always easy but certainly makes the job rewarding.
Answers by: Lacy Phillips, Allied ASID, Owner and Lead Designer

Levin, Papantonio, Thomas, Mitchell, Rafferty & Proctor, P.A.
316 S. Baylen St., Ste. 600, levinlaw.com
How long have you been in business? 60 years
What inspired you to get started? Wanting to provide the local community with world-class legal representation.
How many employees do you have? 130
How do you define being the “best”? Outworking your competition and getting the results to prove it.
What do you think sets you and your business apart? Our dedication is to not only work on our clients’ case, but also in communicating with our clients in a way that is consistent and meets the clients’ needs.
Who or what inspires you to be your best? Knowing that we are helping people in great need who need someone on their side to fight for them inspires us.
Answers by: Robert Blanchard,  Attorney Shareholder

Lindsey Friar Photography
24 W. Chase St., lindseyfriar.com
How long have you been in business? Five years
What inspired you to get started? My ultimate inspiration that catapulted my photography business was when I had my first child.  The need to capture his milestones and the joy that it brought was when I realized my passion for photography.
How many employees do you have? Two—one assistant and one other photographer
How do you define being the “best”? I think having strong customer service and staying authentic and fresh are the keys to being the best.
What do you think sets you and your business apart? Delivering genuine emotion in the most artistic, timely, professional way is what sets me apart from others.  I put my heart and soul into every session.
Who or what inspires you to be your best? Easy; my three children and husband, hands down. But a close runner up would be my amazing clients.
Answers by: Lindsey Friar, Owner

Morette Company
401 N. Baylen St., moretteco.com
How long have you been in business? Morette Company has been providing construction management, development, design-build and general contracting services since 1978.
What inspired you to get started? I grew up in the business watching my father, Rick. I got my BCN degree, worked for large, national firms then returned to Pensacola. When Rick passed away, it was a natural progression. Allowing the company he had dedicated his life to building to end was not an option.
How many employees do you have? Morette Company employs 31 people.
How do you define being the “best”? Morette Company constantly strives to keep our projects client-focused.  Delivering each of our projects safely, on time and under budget has allowed us to develop an extensive list of repeat clients, which we feel is a true testament to our success.
What do you think sets you and your business apart? Many of our team members have been with us for over 15 years and some over 30. The knowledge, experience and integrity they have, and the partnership approach they bring to each project we undertake, results in strong relationships with clients and the highest-quality projects.
Who or what inspires you to be your best? Each building we complete is a lasting legacy in the community. They are concrete testaments of Northwest Florida’s progression and growth, which we are proud to be a part of.
Answers by: Michael J. Morette, President

NAI HAlford
24 W. Chase St., naihalford.com
How long have you been in business? We have been serving the Northwest Florida business community since 1983.
What inspired you to get started? The company was founded in 1983 with the goal of meeting the real estate needs of the Northwest Florida business community. It was a desire to be a part of helping to build a stronger, prosperous and livable community.
How many employees do you have? 16
How do you define being the “best”? We are blessed to have a mix of agents who, through their professionalism, work ethic and market intelligence, align themselves to meet our customers’ goals. It’s peace of mind at the end of the day knowing we did our very best on our clients’ behalf.
What do you think sets you and your business apart? We absolutely love what we do and feel privileged at the opportunity afforded us by our clients.  Our focus is client-driven and so to best serve them, we continually work in a collaborative manner to meet their business goals. We want to always exceed their expectations.
Who or what inspires you to be your best? Our clients inspire us to be our best. Whether it’s a small star- up business or a large corporation, we are honored by the confidence they place in us. It’s a great feeling when you see a client’s new sign going up and our community flourishes.
Answers by: Teresa Wiseman- Director Operations & Marketing

Neal & Company, LLC
105 E. Garden St., nealcommercial.com
How long have you been in business? Seven years in January
What inspired you to get started? My partners and I saw an opportunity for a new commercial real estate firm at the height of the economic down turn.  We thought, “If we can make it work now, it’ll be a machine when the market comes back.”  Now we are one of the largest firms in town.
How many employees do you have? We have a total of three employees and eight agents.
How do you define being the “best”? We look at our volume of sales and leasing compared to other firms.  We rate ourselves on the feed-back we receive from clients.
What do you think sets you and your business apart? Our client relationships.
Who or what inspires you to be your best? My family
Answers by: Andy Terhaar, Broker Associate

Pen Air Federal Credit Union
1495 E. Nine Mile Road, penair.org
How long have you been in business? Since 1936 – 79 years.
What inspired you to get started? U.S. Naval Pensacola Air Station Federal Credit Union for Civil Service Employees was founded in 1936, at the start of World War II, aboard NAS Pensacola due to the need for low-cost financial services. In 1953, our name changed to Pen Air Federal Credit Union.
How many employees do you have? 330
How do you define being the “best”? Valuing and respecting our local community by providing superior service and strong community support.
What do you think sets you and your business apart? Our “Communerosity”. We are very generous when it comes to our community. Not only do we give back financially, we also volunteer for many organizations when needed and use our collective talents whenever we can.
Who or what inspires you to be your best? Respect is a guiding principle at Pen Air. We all have dreams, and having an unshakeable belief in those dreams, along with the can-do attitudes to make them happen for our members, is what inspires us.
Answers by: Pamela Hatt, Director of Marketing

Pilates Core Training
1310 Dunmire St., pilatescoretraining.com
How long have you been in business? 16 years
What inspired you to get started? Having come from a background of massage therapy with a degree in exercise science, I was amazed at how pilates integrated the benefits of both.  It made such a profound change in my body that I chose to immerse myself in the philosophy of Joseph Pilates’ work.
How many employees do you have? Six instructors
How do you define being the “best”? The best is not a popularity contest.  It means that you are always on the cutting edge of knowledge; in our case, movement science. It means having integrity while providing the service that is the best for that person for that time; not doing the same thing over and over.
What do you think sets you and your business apart? It’s our commitment to staying abreast of all new information coming from the leaders in our field and delivering it to our clients in a way that they feel safe and comfortable as we work with them.
Who or what inspires you to be your best? I do. I would never be satisfied with limiting myself and staying content with the status quo.  When there is new information that would make a difference in how a person lives, then I need to know it.  It is my philosophy—we are our brother’s keepers.
Answers by: Barbara Bruni, Owner/Instructor/LMT

ProHealth Medical Care
1100 Airport Blvd., prohealthfl.com
How long have you been in business? For 30 years, ProHealth has worked diligently for the health of the people of Northwest Florida with the vision to positively impact the wellness of our clients. Five years ago, ProHealth Medical Care opened in Pensacola, treating minor emergencies and primary care.
What inspired you to get started? When ProHealth owners (and sisters) Danette Krumel and Debbie DuFour saw a need for their self-pay ProHealth patients to also have a health care professional at a reasonable price, they set out to make it happen, thus launching ProHealth Medical Care locations.
How many employees do you have? 35
How do you define being the “best”? Five years ago, ProHealth expanded its doors to the community in the form of a cash-pay, insurance-free clinic.  We’ve been fortune enough to have the very BEST patients. Being the best means getting to offer the best healthcare for an affordable price to people who deserve the best.
What do you think sets you and your business apart? ProHealth achieves its vision by providing preventive, convenient medical services and wellness advice at comparable-to-lower cost than competitors for businesses and individuals.
Who or what inspires you to be your best? Our patients inspire us every day to do our best. Just last week, we received this from a patient dealing with depression: “My stress and anxiety levels have decreased tenfold. Thank you for your professionalism, care and concern.”
Answers by: Hannah Weinstein, Marketing Manager

Anissa Ottley DMD, Avalon Dental
4272 Avalon Blvd., Milton, avalondentalfl.com
How long have you been practicing? Since 2000
What inspired you to get started? I love working with people and helping them achieve a healthy beautiful smile.
How many employees do you have? Five
How do you define being the “best”? Exceeding a patient’s expectations and recognizing that each patient is an individual with unique concerns. I take time to get to know my patients personally, in addition to their dental health, in order to provide care customized to their needs.
What do you think sets you and your business apart? We take our time and make certain that patients’ needs are met. We do not schedule several patients at the same time.
Who or what inspires you to be your best? God, my family and my dental colleagues at the EscaRosa Dental Society and Seattle Study Club.
Answers by: Dr. Anissa Ottley, Dentist

Conna O’Donovan, Realtor / Associate
836 Gulf Breeze Pkwy., Gulf Breeze, connaodonovan.com
How long have you been in business? It has been a wonderful 25 years.
What inspired you to get started? After purchasing my first home, I was inspired to explore real estate as a new way of helping people. My prior experience was in nursing home care where I found fulfillment in serving others. Real Estate became a new way to experience that joy while helping many more people.
How many employees do you have? Conna O’Donovan Team Realty—The Premier Gulf Coast Real Estate Team from RE/MAX on the Coast—consists of six spectacular professionals, including Melissa Dohner, Buyer’s Agent, Lori Therrell, Buyer’s Agent, Catherine Schoonmaker, Administrative Assistant, Melody Overholt, Office Manager, Will Caulfield, Marketing Director, and D’Aun Johnson, Staging Director.
How do you define being the “best”? Being the best is covering all your bases, satisfying everyone’s needs, and providing excellent, above-and-beyond service that brings to the business what others do not.  It means providing the utmost care and professionalism and making sure that clients have a smooth, enjoyable experience when selling or buying homes.
What do you think sets you and your business apart? Beyond my extensive experience and reputation in the field and in the Gulf Coast, what sets me apart as an agent is the superior professionalism of our team. With them, I am able to provide first-class attention to details and ensure no one is lost in the shuffle.
Who or what inspires you to be your best? I am inspired by my family, my faith and the positive change I see my actions make in the world. Making sure that everyone has a pleasant experience with all aspects of this transition in their life and that they come out better is something I always strive for.
Answers by: Conna O’Donovan, Realtor/Associate/Team Leader of Conna O’Donovan Team Realty

Sacred Heart Health System
5151 N. 9th Ave., sacred-heart.org
How long have you been in business? 100 years
What inspired you to get started? A request from community leaders to the Daughters of Charity to build a hospital in Pensacola in 1915.
How many employees do you have? approximately 4,500
How do you define being the “best”? Providing the highest level of compassionate healthcare to all persons, with special attention to the needs of the poor and vulnerable
What do you think sets you and your business apart? Our 100-year mission of service to the community to meet the healthcare needs of all persons. We have special expertise in the care of women and children, and in cardiology and cancer care.
Who or what inspires you to be your best? Sacred Heart’s staff continues to be driven by our faith-based mission and dedication to providing the best care from the heart.
Answers by: Michael Burke, Director of Marketing and Public Relations

Serendipity Skincare Studio
433 E. Romana St., Ste.B, serendipitythespa.com
How long have you been in business? I’ve been in the business 10 years but opened Serendipity Skincare Studio only three months ago.
What inspired you to get started? Growing up, I always loved anything to do with makeup and beauty products. I loved making homemade masks, so I ended up dabbling in skincare products to learn how and why they work. I decided to get certified in skin and nail care, and the rest is history.
How many employees do you have? Just one
How do you define being the “best”? I feel that being “the best” is what happens when you are doing what you love, and I never stop trying to exceed expectations.
What do you think sets you and your business apart? Since I am a small skincare studio here in Pensacola, my services have to be unique and one-of-a-kind in order to stay on top of the competition. Clients can get one-of-a-kind spa treatments found in spa destinations around the world.
Who or what inspires you to be your best? My clients. I am always looking to “trump” the last appointment I had with them.
Answers by: Jenn Messer, Master Esthetician

Sparkplug Social
427 W. Garden St., sparkplugsocial.com
How long have you been in business? Less than one year
What inspired you to get started? I’ve always wanted to be able to take my ideas to the next level and not work for just one business but multiple businesses and promote and guide them in their marketing, public relations and social media plans.
How many employees do you have? One
How do you define being the “best”? Continuing to do your best and making clients shine to their best.
What do you think sets you and your business apart? As a one-person shop, Sparkplug Social definitely treats clients like family. My clients know that I’m always available to discuss projects and ideas. It’s easy to make those relationships flourish when you’re working with each other so closely.
Who or what inspires you to be your best? Taylor Swift. In all seriousness, she runs extremely-successful businesses and does it with grace. She’s a marketing-and-branding genius who always makes time for trivial things even though she’s selling out concerts every night.
Answers by: Whitney Fike, Founder and CEO

Stay The Spa
1010 N. 12th Ave., staythespa.com
How long have you been in business? We have been open for three fantastic years now.
What inspired you to get started? We envisioned a place in Pensacola where people could get world-class skin care and massage that are the industry’s best; nail care, hair removal and spa services equal to those in California and New York with a service model that assured each guest great results.
How many employees do you have? We have 12 great employees and counting. We value our employees and look at them as extended family.  We support them in the causes that matter to them, and we help them grow professionally.  Each one is empowered to do whatever it takes to put a smile on a customer’s face.
How do you define being the “best”? To us, being the best is not about which products you push but how you make people feel and what you are giving, not getting.  Are you helping them achieve their goals?  Are you supporting the causes that matter to your clients and employees?  If not, you’ve failed.
What do you think sets you and your business apart? We offer a world-class experience in a friendly, non-pretentious environment. Our people are the nicest and best trained. Our products are exclusive and the same ones that are offered in the finest spas in the world, and our prices are very reasonable.
Who or what inspires you to be your best? We are inspired every day by our clients.  They tell us what they need, what causes matter to them, what is going on in their lives and what stresses we can help with.  When they leave, they leave smiling, and that is our inspiration.  That smile.
Answers by: Jennifer W., Owner

Studer Group
350 W. Cedar St., Ste. 350, studergroup.com
How long have you been in business? Since 1999
What inspired you to get started? Quint Studer founded Studer Group to make a difference in healthcare. We work daily to improve organizational performance and, most importantly, patient care.
How many employees do you have? 250+
How do you define being the “best”? It’s about doing the right thing even when no one is watching. As Quint says, “When you know you have a solution to a problem that is causing pain for someone, you have a human responsibility to act, and to do so with all urgency.”
What do you think sets you and your business apart? We remain mission-focused in all that we do: To make healthcare a better place for employees to work, physicians to practice medicine and patients to receive care.
Who or what inspires you to be your best? We are inspired by the men and women of healthcare who’ve dedicated their lives to improving the lives of others.

Sweet Betsy Tattoos
1501 W. Garden St., sweetbetsytattoos.com
How long have you been in business? Seven years
What inspired you to get started? I was apprenticed by Andrew R. Trull, who encouraged me to express my artistic talents through tattooing.
How many employees do you have? Two
How do you define being the “best”? I do not compete with other artists in any way. Art isn’t a competition. My goal, always, is to keep learning and ensure that my clients are completely happy every time. Working this way doesn’t allow any ego.
What do you think sets you and your business apart? I have a background in teaching, counseling and book illustration, so my approach to tattooing is different than the typical. It’s most important to me to draw the ideas out of my clients rather than completely take over the project.
Who or what inspires you to be your best? I was born hardheaded and fearless. Daddy raised me as if I was his only son. I think that made me grow up to do everything all-the-way.
Answers by: Betsy Badwater, Tattoo Artist

Taylor, Warren, & Weidner, P.A.
1823 N. 9th Ave., twwlawfirm.com
How long have you been in business? Our firm has been proudly serving clients throughout the Gulf Coast and surrounding areas for nine years.
What inspired you to get started? We knew we could build a better practice if we focused on making our clients’ lives better for having hired us. That’s our mission today, and that was our mission when we started.
How many employees do you have? We have a great team of 12 people who work at our firm, including attorneys and support staff.
How do you define being the “best”? For us, being the “best” means that we helped carry or remove our clients’ burdens. Sometimes that means getting a great verdict at trial, sometimes that means standing up for them in a court of law, and sometimes that just means helping them understand their rights and their options.
What do you think sets you and your business apart? At our firm, we never forget that our clients are the focus of our practice, and that sets us apart. Our clients understand that we are passionate about how they are treated from the start, and they are never just a number.
Who or what inspires you to be your best? We love the law, and we love helping people. The fact that our clients consistently tell us we have given them peace of mind and helped restore their dignity during a tough time in their lives always inspires us to keep doing just that.
Answers by: Brooke Hardy, Marketing Coordinator

Volume ONE
7 W. Main St., volumeonesalon.com
How long have you been in business? Volume ONE was established in 2009
What inspired you to get started? I started out in this industry managing a salon daydreaming behind the front desk. Not much time passed before I realized that I wanted to be on the other side of the desk. I apprenticed outside of Boston and then brought my knowledge back to Pensacola.
How many employees do you have? We have a growing staff of 17.
How do you define being the “best”? Being the “best” is continuing and always working toward being better, perfecting your craft day by day. We maintain a team-like atmosphere here at Volume ONE. We take every opportunity to seek education, whether it is in salon training or across the globe.
What do you think sets you and your business apart? I think what sets Volume ONE apart is the fact that we all really enjoy our craft and coming to work. Working together side by side and day by day has really turned “team” into “family”. We love making people feel and look great.
Who or what inspires you to be your best? Mentors in the industry, family, friends ant, peers, art, music, architecture, food, travel are all the things that inspire what we do every day.  Also, being  a part of a growing community plays a big part in keeping Volume ONE moving forward. Pensacola is thriving.
Answers by: Hurst Butts, Owner and Brittany Carroll

Welch Skin Care
8333 N. Davis Hwy., kevinwelchmd.com
How long have you been practicing? 20 years
What inspired you to get started? There was a need in Pensacola for treatments such as Botox, fillers, lasers, and physician- grade cosmetic products and skin care services supervised and delivered by a board certified Dermatologist.
How many employees do you have? Approximately 40
How do you define being the “best”? Striving to be on the cutting edge of delivering cosmetic procedures in a professional and cost-effective way.
What do you think sets you and your business apart? I am a Cosmetic Dermatologist. We are part of a very specialized group which focuses on constantly improving the delivery of cutting-edge cosmetic solutions. Our staff is exceptional and extremely well trained.
Who or what inspires you to be your best? I am inspired by the rapid progress the field of Cosmetic Dermatology is making on a daily basis.  Almost every day brings a new and stimulating idea.
Answers by: Kevin Welch MD, Board Certified Dermatologist

The Women’s Group
2114 Airport Blvd., Ste., #1000, thewomensgroup.org
How long have you been practicing? 10 years
What inspired you to get started? Ever since I can remember, I wanted to become a physician in order to help others on a daily basis.  I’ve always been passionate about women’s health and was especially interested in pregnancy and gynecologic surgery. OB/GYN was a perfect fit!
How many employees do you have? 40
How do you define being the “best”? I define being the best as listening and focusing on the patient as a whole, and striving to make the best medical recommendations and treatment options possible.
What do you think sets you and your business apart? What sets the Women’s Group apart from other businesses is that we treat our patients as if they were members of our own family.
Who or what inspires you to be your best? I have always aspired to do my very best. It is a great responsibility to provide the best experience possible for such a life- changing event as the delivery of someone’s child.  It’s an amazing experience, and I’m honored to be a part of it.
Answers by: Julia Hoffman, MD

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Weddings

Alp & Isle
alpandisle.com
How long have you been in business? Six years
What inspired you to get started? I have always been an artist and use many mediums. Photography has been my favorite medium for communicating and immortalizing the beauty I see around me. The romantic in me looks for the love stories. My couples are like well-loved novels that I have the opportunity to illustrate.
How many employees do you have? Two
How do you define being the “best”? That definition is so subjective. I just set out to communicate how we, as humans, express love. My process is simple, humble really. It is an honor to have my work recognized and celebrated.
What do you think sets you and your business apart? I get to know my couples and their love stories. We build a close, trusted relationship, so I am able to capture real moments and interactions from the intimate perspective of a trusted friend. This trust allows me to commemorate the best day of their lives as art.
Who or what inspires you to be your best? I am ever so grateful for the perspective and talents God has gifted me. I am overjoyed that I can create something special and important for the families that have opened their lives to me. This inspires me. (1 Peter 4:10-11)
Answers by: Emily Dorman, Owner/ Artist

Classic City Catering
214 W. Intendencia St, classiccitycatering.com
How long have you been in business? I have been in the catering business for 31 years. I spent five years with a company in Athens, Georgia and 26 years here in Pensacola.
What inspired you to get started? I am inspired by the different aspects of catering. I love the challenge of being off site and making it happen. I enjoy the excitement of cooking food that people will love and the interaction with clients from start to finish.
How many employees do you have? We have up to 60 employees in our busy seasons.
How do you define being the “best”? Being the best is exceeding our client’s expectations every time and continually creating new things. The best is never being satisfied with yesterday and being on the quest for perfection.
What do you think sets you and your business apart? Our attentive employees who care and give 100% no matter what the day brings is what sets us apart from other companies.
Who or what inspires you to be your best? I am inspired by the challenge that I can always be better. I desire to make my client’s event an excellent experience; the best food, period, made from scratch and prepared fresh onsite with beautiful buffets made with décor fresh from our Heirloom Organic Gardens.
Answers by: David Penniman, Owner

Emerald Coast Custom Cakes
608 E. Wright St. (Opening Late 2015/ Jan. 2016), emeraldcoastcustomcakes.com
How long have you been in business? I have been creating all-occasion cakes and wedding cakes for many years. I have been in the Pensacola area for the past 2 years
What inspired you to get started? For many years, I brought baked goods into work for our clients. Due to the passing of our beloved owner, I found myself without a job. Through encouragement of my family and clients, I decided to turn my dream of baking into my career.
How many employees do you have? Me, myself and I
How do you define being the “best”? I would define being the “best” as loving what you do. I absolutely love taking a sweet couples’ vision for their cake into an edible work of art for their special day.
What do you think sets you and your business apart? I am a classically-trained French Pastry Chef with a degree in Culinary Arts. I continue to stay up-to-date on the latest trends and techniques.
Who or what inspires you to be your best? My family and my passion for baking and decorating.
Answers by: Heather Lester Pelham, Owner/ Executive Pastry Chef

First Day Entertainment
firstdayent.com
How long have you been in business? One year longer than last year.  We’ve always been in the performing arts in one way or another since we were young—from dance, to public speaking and playing music for people—but we’ve been in business in Pensacola since 2007.
What inspired you to get started? Knowing that the incredible couple we knew deserved better.  We work very hard to be that better alternative, and keeping the number of events we do low each year allows us time to train and practice, helping  us to work very hard to deliver ‘better’.
How many employees do you have? Two
How do you define being the “best”? Best is subjective, and we admit we aren’t always the ‘best’ choice.  For those who do choose us, we hope it’s because we’re the best choice for them.  We choose the couples we work with because we believe we can do our best work for them.
What do you think sets you and your business apart? A heart.  It’s not just a business. Our clients and their guests become our friends, and we stay in touch.  We genuinely care about these incredible people we have the honor of working with and are incredibly humbled they think so highly of us to consider us for this honor.
Who or what inspires you to be your best? Our clients and their guests. Getting calls years after a wedding from a bride telling us how much her guests still talk about her wedding warms our hearts more than anyone knows, and hearing that one of our previous couples is expecting their first child.  Our clients inspire us to greatness.
Answers by: Ed Spencer, Co-Owner

Jessi Field Photography
130 S. Palafox, iamjessifield.com
How long have you been in business? Five years
What inspired you to get started? I’ve always been the type to document things. When I became a Mom and realized just how quickly life happened, I knew that photography was what I was meant to do.  Photography has given me the opportunity to pause time for others and tell a bit of their story.
How many employees do you have? Myself + 1
How do you define being the “best”? Best: of the most excellent, effective, or desirable type or quality.  I got a little help from the dictionary on this one.
What do you think sets you and your business apart? I love being able to document life and love.  I aspire to tell people’s stories in an honest, emotive, and genuine way, and do my very best to not force people to be or do something that is not true to themselves.
Who or what inspires you to be your best? My tribe keeps me going and keeps me inspired, motivated and grounded.  I am lucky to be surrounded by peers, friends and family who inspire me to be my best every day.
Answers by: Jessi Field, Photographer and Visual Storyteller

London W1
120 S. Palafox, londonw1.net
How long have you been in business? Four Years
What inspired you to get started? I have been around this industry my whole life and love every aspect of it. When the opportunity came up for me to be able to open a salon and be part of this wonderful business, I just had to take a leap of faith and do it.
How many employees do you have? Five
How do you define being the “best”? Staying well educated on the newest trends, techniques and products in this industry. Going above and beyond to not only meet someone’s expectations but to exceed them. Dedicating 200% of yourself to the service or job you are doing at that time whether it’s a client’s hair or the laundry.
What do you think sets you and your business apart? We have a very personal connection with our clients. We try to give each customer our undivided attention during their service and have grown to form not only professional relationships but friendships, as well. Many clients have my personal cell contact and know they can call me if they need anything.
Who or what inspires you to be your best? The joy I get when we are able to change how someone feels about theirself by enhancing their natural beauty by simply changing their hair color or hair style.
Answers by: Billie Pearson, Owner/Manager

Melissa Wilson Photography
130 S. Palafox, melissawilsonphoto.com
How long have you been in business? I’ve been passionate about photography for almost 14 years now. My business has been in place full time for over four years.
What inspired you to get started? It’s really all about the love story. Everyone has a unique one to share, and I adore having the honor of capturing each and every couple I’m blessed to work with.
How many employees do you have? Me, myself and I. I’ve always enjoyed working on my own and giving my clients a truly personal experience.
How do you define being the “best”? I believe in order to deliver the very best experience possible to my sweet couples means there should be a constant passion for what I do. Capturing and preserving their love story is my passion.
What do you think sets you and your business apart? Every couple deserves a beautiful experience when it comes to their wedding journey, and that includes their photography. I strive to deliver a personalized experience that allows us to create a relationship, which in turn makes for a relaxed atmosphere during our time together. Then their uniqueness can shine through.
Who or what inspires you to be your best? I could talk about many inspiring photographers around the world, but when it comes right down to it,  my couples are what inspire me, heart and soul.
Answers by: Melissa Wilson, Owner/Photographer

Pensacola Beach Weddings
pensacolabeachweddings.com
How long have you been in business? 20 years
What inspired you to get started? With such a beautiful setting on the Gulf of Mexico and a life dedicated to sharing in the lives of others, it was a natural thing to offer wedding and vow renewal services to brides and grooms.
How many employees do you have? Two
How do you define being the “best”? Being the best is providing a service that meets the needs of brides and grooms and being attentive to their hopes for a “special” day.
What do you think sets you and your business apart? Careful attention to detail and personable, happy-filled responses.
Who or what inspires you to be your best? My daughter, who works with me in the business,  loves people and wants them to have a happy wedding experience, and one of which they can be proud.
Answers by: Chuck Randle, Owner

Sara Gillianne Weddings and Events
130 S. Palafox St., saragillianne.com
How long have you been in business? Collectively, we have been designing weddings, planning events and coordinating fundraisers for 20 years.
What inspired you to get started? We were inspired by the desire to create beautiful settings for our clients on their wedding day and being able to help alleviate stress for them during the planning process.
How many employees do you have? One
How do you define being the “best”? Constantly striving to better ourselves and learning every day, abiding by the “golden rule,” being humble, striving to be innovative, and putting our clients first.
What do you think sets you and your business apart? We form bonds with our clients to understand their needs so we can deliver the highest level of service possible. We create relationships with our vendors to create a sense of community within our industry. We specialize in weddings, which allow us to keep our focus on our clients.
Who or what inspires you to be your best? God, our families, and clients; we strive to provide the best service for each set of clients to make their day as memorable and special as possible.
Answers by: Sara Gillianne, Owner/Creative Director and Leia Triplett, Owner, Head Wedding Designer and Event Planner

Sarah Peake Makeup Artistry
How long have you been in business? I have been a professional and practicing make-up artist for six years.
What inspired you to get started? I grew up in the performing arts. Making myself up for productions was always something which I enjoyed and excelled in. That led to heading makeup for productions locally. I moved to New York early in my career and worked further with stage and beauty makeup.
How do you define being the “best”? I define being the “best” as someone who does not focus on being better than everyone else; rather, being better than himself. Ask yourself, “Did I give it my all? Could I have done more?” Be the best you. People will notice. No one does you like you.
What do you think sets you and your business apart? What sets me apart is that I’ve got years of experience in many facets of my craft, such as print, film, stage, beauty and editorial. I also carry a license to provide make-up and facial services with three years as a practicing esthetician under my belt.
Who or what inspires you to be your best? There is a look a bride gives when she looks in the mirror on her wedding day. There is a look a teenage girl gives when she sees herself done up for the first time for homecoming. The “first” look never gets old and inspires me very time.
Answers by: Sarah Peake, Makeup Artist

Vibe Inc.
236 W. Garden St., Ste. 1, thevibedowntown.com
How long have you been in business? In business 5 years; practicing my craft 10 years.
What inspired you to get started? The creative and personal aspect of what, as hair dressers, we get to do every day is what inspired me. We get the opportunity to give people their vision of themselves, using skillful hands to create and deliver beautiful hair. I love it.
How many employees do you have? Five
How do you define being the “best”? Being the best is not about coming in “first” every time. It is always putting your best foot forward and giving beyond yourself.
What do you think sets you and your business apart? I believe what sets Vibe apart is our attention to personal detail. It makes time spent with us a rejuvenating experience.
Who or what inspires you to be your best? Giving back inspires me to be my best; to do something bigger than you, creatively as well as philanthropy.
Answers by: Amber Ellis, Owner/Artistic Director, JPMS National Educator

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Community + Media/Music

Ballet Pensacola
400 S. Jefferson St., balletpensacola.com
How long have you been in business? Formerly Kaleidoscope Dance Theatre, Ballet Pensacola has been part of the community since 1978.
What inspired you to get started? Ballet Pensacola began as a children’s performing organization and has grown to include an academy for dance training and a professional performing company with dancers from around the world. At the heart of these operations is our mission of enhancing the cultural life of the community.
How many employees do you have? There are six full-time employees and an additional six dance instructors. For nine months out of the year, Ballet Pensacola also employs 13 professional dancers who participate in public performances and outreach programs to area elementary schools.
How do you define being the “best”? From the choreographers to the dancers and the scenic artists, there is an expectation within the organization that everyone involved should be the best that they can be. It’s a matter of civic and personal dedication and pride.
What do you think sets you and your business apart? As the only professional dance company in the area, Ballet Pensacola has a meaningful artistic vision that carries throughout both the academy and the performing company.
Who or what inspires you to be your best? Ballet Pensacola’s audiences and artists inspire the organization to be the best. From the youngest dancer to the seasoned professional, the artists inspire us to be innovative with our educational and artistic endeavors.
Answers by: Richard Steinert, Artistic Director and General Manager

Big Brothers Big Sisters of Northwest Florida
1149 Creighton Road, bbbsnwfl.org
How long have you been in business? 26 years
What inspired you to get started? When Navy Chaplain Elery Tyson received her orders to the NWFL area in 1989, she wanted to serve as a Big Sister.  However, there was no BBBS organization. She gathered volunteers in the fall of 1989.  The vision of these volunteers made possible the unparalleled success of our organization.
How many employees do you have? 15
How do you define being the “best”? Having the opportunity to help shape a child’s future for the better by empowering him or her to achieve. And the best part is, it’s actually a lot of fun.
What do you think sets you and your business apart? National research shows that positive relationships between Littles and their Bigs have a direct and measurable impact on children’s lives. By participating in our programs, they: are more confident in their schoolwork, get along better with their families, are less likely to begin using illegal drugs, and are less likely to skip school.
Who or what inspires you to be your best? Witnessing the success of a child graduating from high school and being the first in their family to do so; watching them experience community activities like going to the beach or a ballgame for the first time with their Big, something they may not be exposed to at home; these are things that inspire us to be our best.
Answers by: Natalie Chism, Director of Marketing & Development

Council on Aging of West Florida
875 Royce St., coawfla.org
How long have you been in business? Council on Aging of West Florida has served seniors and their families since 1972.
How many employees do you have? 60
How do you define being the “best”? For Council on Aging, the “best” is being a good steward of our resources and community partnerships to help local seniors live healthy and safe lives in their own familiar surroundings.
What do you think sets you and your business apart? Council on Aging is unique in that we are one of the few agencies offering comprehensive in-home and community-based services to the elderly in Escambia and Santa Rosa counties. We have compassionate team members and partners who genuinely care about the quality of life for seniors.
Who or what inspires you to be your best? We are inspired every day by those we are able to serve, not only the elderly, but the caregivers who make sacrifices to help their loved ones. We are also inspired by our donors and volunteers who invest in our mission through giving and their time.
Answers by: Rachael Cox, Marketing Communications Director

John B. Clark, President/CEO, Council on Aging of West Florida
875 Royce St., coawfla.org
How long have you been practicing? I have been “practicing” for 41 years; hopefully I will get it correct and no longer have to practice.
What inspired you to get started? Following a stint in the Air Force—with my first assignment being at Hurlburt Field—I decided to come back to this area and pursue a career in the helping profession, so I secured a MS Degree in Counseling and applied for work at the Council on Aging.
How many employees do you have? 60
How do you define being the “best”? Well, first of all, I would neither consider myself the best, nor the worst. Somehow saying or thinking you are the best just seems a tad offensive. Let’s just say being the best to me is doing what I can with the talents given to me.
What do you think sets you and your business apart? Obviously that is the employees of the Council on Aging. Employees make or break a business, organization and its leadership. How they do their jobs, their attitude, their professionalism, everything—it really is all about the employees.
Who or what inspires you to be your best? Frankly, I never want to “let down” the people who “make” the Council on Aging; my employees, the people we serve, our volunteers, and our donors. So it really is for all of them that I do what I can with the talents I have been given.
Answers by: John B. Clark, President/CEO, Council on Aging of West Florida

Emerald Coast Tours
5 W. Main St., emeraldcoasttours.net
How long have you been in business? Three and a half years
What inspired you to get started? Emerald Coast Tours began to help revitalize downtown Pensacola by offering historical cultural activities in a fun and exciting new way. I was frustrated seeing St. Augustine or Savannah or Charleston as historical cities, but Pensacola was being marketed as a beach town. We are both.
How many employees do you have? One full time; one part time and five tour guides.
How do you define being the “best”? Our guests define what is the “best.” We just try to have as much fun as possible with every guest and make sure they are having as much fun while with us. And learn something, too.
What do you think sets you and your business apart? We have a unique and fun way to experience downtown Pensacola. Segways and bikes always make learning more fun. And for those who like to drink while learning, we have combined a traditional pub crawl with a historical walk and created our Historical Walking Pub Tours.
Who or what inspires you to be your best? My wife and daughter, the city and community. I was born and raised in Pensacola and have always hated hearing people say that Pensacola has potential to be a great city. Enough with the potential; just be a great city, already.
Answers by: Nic Schuck, Owner

Clay Ingram
11000 University Pkwy., myfloridahouse.gov
How long have you been in business? I was elected to the Florida House of Representatives in 2010.
What inspired you to get started? I was inspired to run for office by a strong desire to improve the economic climate of Northwest Florida. Getting our neighbors back to work after the recession has been my focus.
How many employees do you have? I have two legislative employees.
How do you define being the “best”? Being the best is about giving the most effort possible while always working to improve your skill set. The combination of these two things, along with genuinely caring for others, is what has helped us to be successful.
What do you think sets you and your business apart? We try to put ourselves in the shoes of the constituents we are trying to help. We’ve all been trapped in governmental red tape, so that empathy for the constituent can make a real difference.
Who or what inspires you to be your best? Being in a position of trust with the citizens of District 1 is a huge responsibility. Earning that trust every day and trying to do the best that I can for them is my inspiration.
Answers by: Clay Ingram, State Representative, District 1

Magic 106
6565 N. W St., mymagic106.com
How long have you been in business? Bringing classic soul to the community for decades.
What inspired you to get started? Sonshine is a 26-year veteran of the radio business and has been entertaining the audience and bettering the community on Magic 106.1 for years.
How many employees do you have? Eight team members on air and many more behind the scenes at Cumulus Pensacola.
How do you define being the “best”? Sonshine not only talks, she’s hands-on in our community. She focuses on the issues and takes a personal part in making a difference. Sonshine’s influence does not stop at the listener’s level.  She does numerous appearances in the community to educate them on social issues.
What do you think sets you and your business apart? Sonshine’s ability to unite people for the greater good and connect the community while entertaining them at the same time.
Who or what inspires you to be your best? Bettering the community inspires Sonshine as an advocate for health-related issues and exercise. She has strong ties in the community with programs she originated, such as TAP (TeenAdvocacy Program), designed to instill educational values and to move people toward a rewarding future.
Answers by: Davey Willhoit, Vice President of Sales /Market Manager

Pensacola Beach Chamber of Commerce
7 Casino Beach Boardwalk, pensacolabeachchamber.com
How long have you been in business? Since 1984
What inspired you to get started? Our mission is to encourage, promote, help and contribute. With that, we stand by our members and our community. It is what keeps our chamber moving forward and striving to grow our area and surrounding areas.
How many employees do you have? Four
How do you define being the “best”? We are only as strong as our membership, and they are the ones that help us every day to make our events what they are. We love being able to showcase the world’s greatest beaches and having the support of our community.
What do you think sets you and your business apart? The Pensacola Beach Chamber of Commerce prides itself on giving back to our beach community and Escambia and Santa Rosa counties, as a whole. Tourism and representing our partners is our number- one priority. We know that the experience we have to offer our visitors is unlike any other.
Who or what inspires you to be your best? Our beach community and being able to invite people from all over to the best beaches in the world.
Answers by: Nicole Stacey, President/CEO

Pensacola Parks and Recreation
222 W. Main St., playpensacola.com
How long have you been in business? I have been a recreation professional since 1992, having held positions in Wilmington, NC, Birmingham, AL and Pensacola, FL.
What inspired you to get started? My inspiration was based on my interest in officiating sports. I began officiating at the age of 18 and followed it into recreation in college. This pursuit led me to a career in recreation.
How many employees do you have? 100
How do you define being the “best”? Pursuing excellence and catching it for a period of time. The longer the period of time, the more satisfying it is.
What do you think sets you and your business apart? Pensacola’s park system is unique, because we have 93 parks, one located within a half mile of every city residence. Not many cities are this committed to making their city parks so accessible to citizens.  It speaks to Pensacola’s commitment to being a great place to live, work and play.
Who or what inspires you to be your best? Our Parks and Recreation staff, fellow employees and the citizens of Pensacola.
Answers by: Brian Cooper, Director of Parks and Recreation

Pensacola State Kids’ College
1000 College Blvd., pensacolastate.edu/ce
How long have you been in business? Kids’ College program has been at Pensacola State College for 25 years.  I have been at PSC for six years.  Pensacola State College started as Pensacola Junior College (PJC) in 1948.
What inspired you to get started? I was not here for the start of this program but understand that this was a way to help parents with an option for their children in the summer that would keep them challenged mentally and physically while having fun.
How many employees do you have? The Continuing Education office staffs four to five people year-round for offering a variety of non-academic Recreation and Leisure courses throughout the year, as well as Kids’ College in the summer.  Approximately 35-40 additional teachers and support staff are hired for the 10 weeks of the Kids’ College program.
How do you define being the “best”? Participation from the community for 25 years.  The length of time this program has existed means that kids and parents want it.  Returning students bringing their friends means the kids enjoy being here, and their parents are recommending it to other parents.
What do you think sets you and your business apart? Our program is on a college campus.  This helps take away some of the intimidation factor of going to college later.  The structure is like college, in that students can take one class or a “full load” with classes all day. Parents like the flexibility and price structure.
Who or what inspires you to be your best? I love hearing the stories from the kids and parents.  My PTA experience has inspired me to value the concerns of parents, while focusing on the experience for the kids.  I want to create life-long pleasant memories for the kids, as we disguise learning in the fun, hands-on activities.
Answers by: Frances Yeo, Coordinator, Continuing Education, Recreation and Leisure

Santa Rosa Island Authority
1 Via DeLuna, visitpensacolabeach.com
How long have you been in business? The Santa Rosa Island Authority was created in 1947 by the Florida Legislature.
What inspired you to get started? The mission of the Santa Rosa Island Authority is to promote tourism, manage growth and provide entertainment in a safe, clean, eco-friendly environment.
How many employees do you have? 13
How do you define being the “best”? Being the best means consistently providing outstanding service to island residents and businesses, taking great care to preserve the resources and natural beauty of Santa Rosa Island and ensuring that our visitors can enjoy the beach safely.
What do you think sets you and your business apart? The Santa Rosa Island Authority team is solely dedicated to the preservation and carefully-managed progress on Pensacola Beach. Our highly-specialized team is unmatched at keeping our barrier island in top shape, while managing growth and development of the business and residential sectors.
Who or what inspires you to be your best? As custodians for this incredible island, SRIA leadership is inspired by the men and women on our team that strive to preserve this rare jewel. Our entire team truly loves Pensacola Beach. Their dedication inspires us to maintain excellence in all we do to serve the community.
Answers by: W.A. “Buck” Lee, Executive Director

SMP Architecture
40 S. Palafox, smp-arch.com
How long have you been in business? 30 years
What inspired you to get started? The capacity to improve our physical environment through design solutions continually motivates me to research successful projects throughout the world.
How many employees do you have? Seven
How do you define being the “best”? In this case, it obviously was an individual that is better suited for the title of best vs. finalist.
What do you think sets you and your business apart? Relentless passion for design excellence.
Who or what inspires you to be your best? I am inspired by skilled, experienced professionals from all fields who never abandon the opportunity to learn more.
Answers by: Brian Spencer, Founding Principal