As the holiday countdown accelerates, local retailers are bracing for the festive charge of shoppers, hunting for the perfect gifts and last-minute stocking stuffers. No one understands the pulse of the local business community better than Ted Corcoran, CEO of the Greater Fort Walton Beach Chamber of Commerce. Standing at the helm of one of Florida’s largest Chamber of Commerce organizations, Corcoran is a staunch advocate supporting local enterprises during the Christmas shopping frenzy.
“Those giant online platforms don’t contribute to our local community here. They’re not sponsoring any little league teams, they’re not backing dance teams, they’re not supporting the Fort Walton Beach or Choctaw bands,” Corcoran asserts. “However, you’ll see banners of local businesses at basketball games… that’s our community!”
In a recent feature on The B-Team Morning Show on 100.3 K-ROCK, Corcoran spotlighted the importance of shopping locally. Echoing this sentiment, Bobby Dewrell, another active community member, touted the Emerald Coast Connected app as a vital resource for keeping abreast of local happenings. Melding nostalgia with a contemporary twist, Corcoran and Dewrell fondly recollect how local shopping, akin to flipping through the Sears catalog, used to be a cherished holiday tradition.
This festive season also heralds a wave of local events, such as the Fort Long Beach High School Christmas concert and the toy drive on Saturday. Dewrell encourages residents to partake in these community events, arguing that “every single day, two or three things are going on.” Not to mention the added allure of the lit-up Christmas lights that bedeck the town post-sundown.
In essence, this holiday season, let’s prioritize our local businesses and make conscious choices to support them. As Corcoran wisely puts it, it’s about having “some fun in 2024, shall we?” So head out, explore local stores, participate in community events, and let’s revive the magic of local shopping this Christmas.
Bobby is a native of the Emerald Coast, born in Fort Walton Beach, FL. Although he left the area for a few years, and traveled the world, his heart always stay connected to the area. He returned with his family in 2010 and know resides in Shalimar.