The Coastal Alabama Business Chamber in Gulf Shores has been named as a finalist for 2015 Chamber of the Year by the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives (ACCE), according to a press release.

Chamber of the Year is a prestigious international award and the only one recognizing the dual roles chambers play in leading businesses and communities. Chambers receiving this designation have not only demonstrated organizational strength, but also have made an impact on key community priorities such as education, transportation, business development and quality of life.

“We are honored to be selected by ACCE for this distinction,” Chamber President Ed Rodriguez said. “To even be invited to apply is a high honor. We are an organization where over 50 percent of the membership serves on at least one active committee, task force or initiative. We are a chamber where 100 percent of our board leadership holds at least one and as many as four or five key leadership positions during their three-year terms.”

Three finalists were chosen from 33 applicants and participation was by invitation only. To qualify for the nomination, applicants were required to complete a survey and meet or exceed thresholds in key performance indicators including finances, membership retention and other internal benchmarks.

The Chamber of the Year award involves two additional stages beyond the initial benchmarking. Chambers are selected to compete with other chambers in their size categories. Once the top three are selected, the chambers must conduct personal interviews with ACCE’s awards committee before a “Chamber of the Year” winner is selected.

During the application process, chambers are asked to identify and elaborate on two specific project areas that exemplify their commitment to excellence both within their communities and within their membership. The Coastal Alabama Business Chamber’s two identified projects were Reef Development and its recent Re-Branding Initiative.

The two other finalists for 2015 Chamber of the Year award are Lake Houston Chamber of Commerce in Texas and Vail Valley Partnership in Colorado. The winner of the 2015 Chamber of the Year competition will be announced at ACCE’s Annual Convention August 11-14 in Montreal.

Commercial real estate moves
The Jeffries Family Law firm recently purchased a 2,800-square-foot building at 1706 Dauphin St. with plans to move its practice there in the near future. The building was bought from Bryant Bank while in foreclosure. According to Jeffries, staff will be expanded at the new location while the existing site at 2053 Dauphin St. will be leased.

Jeremy Milling with Milling Commercial Realty handled the listing for Bryant Bank and Martin Andrews with Guarantee Title handled the closing.

Some 2,800 square feet of office space was leased by HDR Engineering located at 63 S. Royal St. in the Riverview Plaza office tower. Gavin Bender Jr. of the Bender Real Estate Group managed the transaction.

Bay View Realty has leased a 1,000-square-foot freestanding office building located at 2055 Airport Blvd. in the Loop area. Shumer Consulting will also occupy the building. David Dexter of NAI Mobile handled the transaction.
Metro PCS leased a 1,400-square-foot, free-standing building at 460 South Broad St., at the corner of Broad and Texas, according to Amber Dedeaux of Vallas Realty, who worked for the landlord.

Some 1,700 square feet of studio space in the Olde Shell Square shopping center was leased by Grand Master Yoon’s Tae Kwon Do Academy. The academy has relocated from Cottage Hill Village Shopping Center after 26 years; a grand reopening is slated for late summer. Amber Dedeaux of Vallas Realty handled the transaction.

According to Jay O’Brien of J.L. O’Brien & Associates, $2.6 million was spent on three parcels of property encompassing 7.53 acres at the intersection of Theodore Dawes and Pascagoula roads in Theodore. The developer plans to build a retail center anchored by a grocery store, per O’Brien.

Tropical Smoothie sponsoring National Flip Flop Day fundraiser
On June 19th, Tropical Smoothie Café will hold its annual National Flip Flop Day fundraising efforts to encourage donations for Camp Sunshine. During the event, Tropical Smoothie will be offering a free 24-oz. Jetty Punch smoothie to any guest wearing flip flops between 2 and 7 p.m. at the Legacy Village location.

Currently in its ninth year of giving back, the National Flip Flop Day franchise is dedicated to helping children with life-threatening illnesses and their families by raising funds to benefit a resort that provides respite care and support to children and their families in times of need. The company has committed to reaching $1 million in donations this year. Donation boxes will be placed in stores nationwide throughout the month of June.

“Camp Sunshine is a place where families can have fun in a safe and welcoming environment, and one of our favorite times of year is National Flip Flop Day when we do our part to give back to our charity partner,” said Molly Phalan, manager of the Legacy Village Tropical Smoothie Café location.

“We are honored to be a part of this annual celebration and rally local residents to support this wonderful cause,” Nazmi Ozokur, owner of the Legacy Village and West Mobile Tropical stores, said.

Andy’s Music part of worldwide Make Music Day activities  
Andy’s Music is participating in the worldwide Make Music Day celebration for the second consecutive year, hosting live music, fun, food and prizes at its store from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. on Saturday, June 20.

The day of free live musical performances, opportunities to make music and other musical events is part of a global celebration in more than 700 cities in 120 countries around the world. It is inspired by France’s Fête de la Musique.

Andy’s Music has been selected four times as one of the Top 100 Dealers in the United States by the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM). The Top 100 Dealer Award recognizes outstanding NAMM retailers that exhibit passion, excellence and innovation in music retailing. Dealers are selected by a panel of industry-expert judges.