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Destin Bound: Tallahassee Chamber Conference Coverage

chamber members mingle
Posted at 5:58 PM, Aug 14, 2015
and last updated 2015-08-16 13:59:46-04

AUGUST 16, 2014 (5:56 p.m.) 

DESTIN, Fla. (WTXL)--Business leaders return to Tallahassee with even more knowledge on making their businesses even better after hearing from keynote speakers, like a CEO who started selling his products out of the trunk of his car. Johnny Earle told a crowd how he was able to build a multi-million dollar company.

The name, Johnny Cupcakes, may sound like a bakery.

"We are T-shirt brand," said Johnny Earle.

Here's another twist.

"We set up our stores to look like bakeries," said Earle. "We don't sell real cupcakes. We display shirts in refrigerators and our retail stores even smell like frosting."

In 2001, he worked at a record store where he got all sorts of nicknames including Johnny Appleseed, but Johnny Cupcakes is the one that stuck. It inspired the original T-shirt that eventually launched his international brand.

One piece of advice for business owners out there is this: Make sure there are at least a dozen reasons why you are different than anyone else.

With so many options out there, he says you have to stand out and weird is good.

AUGUST 16, 2014 (5:42 p.m.)

DESTIN, Fla. (WTXL)--The final day of the chamber conference was filled with local start-ups that are bringing new and creative ideas to Tallahassee from a local shipping logistics company to a company that rents electric bicycles.

More than 100 start-ups have launched in Tallahassee over the last three years. 

Some of the final speakers were from Tallahassee Community College, Florida A&M University, and Florida State University. They were talking about the new and exciting trends in their schools. 

AUGUST 15, 2014 (12:00 p.m.)

DESTIN, Fla. (WTXL)--What's new and exciting in culture and arts in Tallahassee? Organizations reveal all sorts of events coming up this fall and beyond.

"An Evening of Music of Dance" is set for September in collaboration with the Tallahassee Ballet and FSU's College of Music.

You can also make plans to attend Leftover Salmon at Goodwood Museum on November 7.

August 15, 2015 (11:14 a.m.)

DESTIN, Fla. (WTXL)--Big announcements were made Saturday morning at the chamber conference Saturday morning.

The big reveal happened for the Power Forward Speaker Series. For many folks the wait is finally over to see what famous, influential entrepreneur they'll hear from this year.

Cecilia Homison told us in an interview holding this secret has been a hard one to keep. She's the CEO of First Commerce Union and in a special video the crowd at the chamber conference found out social media pioneer Randi Zuckerberg is the speaker for this year's series. Zuckerberg was part of the original startup team at Facebook, where she created and ran the social media marketing programs from 2005 to 2011. She is the Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg's sister. She owns her own company Zuckerberg Media.

"She comes from the Silicon Valley start-up culture," said Homison. "She obviously represents somebody that everybody in America knows when you talk about Facebook and she's a female so it's a different perspective on what goes on in the technology world and so when you put all that tighter it's a very powerful package."

Leon County school board member Alva Striplin says she plans to attend this year's series. 

"I look forward to hearing how they started an idea that never existed before I'm sure they had a lot of naysayers before and I'm sure it became something they never thought it was going to become," said Striplin.

This will be the third power forward speaker series. The event is at Ruby Diamond Hall this year on November fourth. Tickets are available now, click here to learn more

August 14, 2015 (7:56 p.m.)

DESTIN, Fla. (WTXL)--Chamber of Commerce President Sue Dick says attendance is up yet again at the annual event.

It's also the fourth straight year they've had more than 100 first time participants. More than 540 people registered for the conference, and 745 for the opening reception.

August 14, 2015 (5:21 p.m.)

DESTIN, Fla. (WTXL)--More than five hundred business, community, and elected leaders are in Destin this weekend for the 2015 Annual Chamber Community Conference.

A welcome reception is getting underway soon. Chamber members are already setting up their booths inside the exhibit hall. We talked to one of them, Charlie Strickland of Talon Range, who told us the importance of networking and credits the opportunities provided by the chamber with a lot of his success.

"Talon started as a small training company J.D. (Johnson) and I teaching a few people," said Strickland. "We then started manufacturing gun holsters on the internet and then we decided to build a facility and just a couple years ago we stepped off into Talon Range and by knowing some key people in the community, members of the chamber, members of the Leadership Tallahassee class, we were able to make this thing happen and it's gone off huge. We have close to 2,000 members now and a couple years ago we would've never dreamed it was possible."

Coming up at six, we have a live interview on Tallahassee's business environment.

August 14, 2015 (11:21 a.m.)

DESTIN, Fla. (WTXL)--We are on our way to the beautiful beaches of Destin to bring you coverage from the Greater Tallahassee Chamber of Commerce Annual Community Conference. 

That's where business and community leaders are gathering to talk about the future of Tallahassee and the region. I'm taking a look at the agenda right now as Evan Ziegelmann, the creative services director at WTXL, drives us to the Hilton Sandestin Resort where we will be gathering interviews for the evening newscasts. 

Sessions throughout the weekend include how to grow your business.  Florida State University will showcase researchers' efforts and economic innovations. 

Companies will also showcase their products at an exhibit hall at the resort. 

WTXL will be in Destin all weekend long. Stay tuned for more updates.