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  • Small Business of the Year - Destroyer Media & Marketing

    ​Destroyer Media & Marketing was honored with the 2023 Small Business of the Year Award!​ Chris and Amy Sexson’s business, Destroyer Media & Marketing, was nominated for this award for their continued investment in making Winter Haven the coolest place to live and work. You can’t visit Winter Haven without finding their fingerprints around town! Every Saturday, you can find them downtown hosting the Winter Haven Farmers Market. This isn’t your average farmer’s market. Many vendors got their start at the farmers market and from there, took their businesses to brick and mortar. Small businesses and local favorites like Haven Coffee Roasters and Honeycomb Bread Bakers had their start at the Winter Haven Farmers Market. You can also experience Chris and Amy’s innovation through other events like the Slow Roll & Ski Show, Bandit Market and their monthly Shuffle event. All of these events were created through community collaboration and a genuine love for our community. We can’t forget LKLD and Haven Magazine. Haven Magazine has been a wonderful addition to local publications, putting a strong, future-focused voice behind our community. Haven Magazine has amplified why Winter Haven is the perfect place to put down roots. They’ve also used this platform to help other businesses and non-profits market their businesses. They love downtown so much that they moved their office in 2022 to the very heart of it, spending their time supporting as many local businesses as they can. They’ve also embraced a boots-on-the ground mentality by getting involved with organizations like the Winter Haven Chamber of Commerce and Main Street Winter Haven. Without small businesses like Destroyer Media & Marketing, we wouldn’t have that special “cool” factor that so many people are looking for in a downtown. A community is only as good as the people who live and work there!

  • First Friday Winter Haven

    Everyone’s talking about it! Are you going? First Friday, launching Friday, February 2, will be a monthly family-friendly, can’t-miss event to bring the community downtown for dinner, drinks, live music, shopping, and vibes. First Friday is brought to you by Destroyer Media & Marketing. “The idea is to support local business and promote downtown,” said Destroyer Media & Marketing Partner and Publisher Chris Sexson. “Winter Haven is growing; things are happening. First Friday seems like a no-brainer for a city that’s the hub of activity. Winter Haven is becoming a hub of activity for shopping, dining, and events.” Centered around the downtown corridor, First Friday will become a flagship event for the community. Patrons can enjoy food and drink specials from downtown restaurants while dining al fresco under market lights or at our new sidewalk cafes (coming soon). They can shop with downtown businesses that stay open late for the event, and there will be live musicians and other entertainment at multiple venues. “With all of the improvements and new businesses coming to downtown – the sidewalk cafes, Bowen Yard, and more – we want to have an event for people to experience all of that downtown,” said Lyndsey Venrick, Events Director for Destroyer. “Walk around town, see some live music, grab a bite, have a drink, see a show. There’s a lot to do from a comedy club that wasn’t here a few years ago, the Ritz is active now, live music from Grove Roots, The Social, Union Taproom, soon to be Bowen Yard – there’s just a lot to do,” added Sexson. First Friday won’t be the typical tent and table market where vendors come downtown and take that money back out. This event is a celebration of all things local – a heartbeat in the pulse of downtown. “We want people to enter the retailers, the restaurants, and support the local businesses,” said Sexson. With many local retailers closing at 5, those on the 9-5 grind can’t always make it in time to shop the stores they love. First Friday gives the opportunity to patronize businesses beyond their usual hours so you can shop ‘til you drop from 5-9 pm. “Every participating business is encouraged to offer something unique for First Friday, whether it’s a drink special, a special menu item, a sale, an interactive activity, or a live performer,” noted Venrick. A complete list of participating businesses and their specials can be found at Over time, Destroyer looks to grow First Friday. They hope to have a spacious outdoor stage for live music and approval to carry alcoholic beverages around downtown so you can cheers from Avenue C NW to SW. Events like First Friday are the lifeblood of a community, spotlighting local businesses and providing entertainment for the whole family. “Events are an invitation. We’re inviting people to come downtown. We want to give them a reason to do so. It takes a lot to get people out of their routine,” said Sexson. “Creating First Friday generates more excitement. There’s something extra for you to come down. Whether that’s food and drink specials or the retailers open late, it supports local. Supporting local matters, and I think that light is shining brighter than ever. First Friday adds a little stardust on all those topics. Hopefully, you have such a good time you come back the next day, the next week.” In addition to weekly and monthly events like the Winter Haven Farmers Market, Slow Roll & Ski Show, and First Friday, Destroyer Media & Marketing plans to launch more festivals and individual events throughout the year. “We will also be active in the new Bowen Yard development that’s opening – doing some programming and some events there,” said Sexson. Venrick added, “Any future events we schedule will be hyperlocal and a celebration of everything here. That’s always what we try to do with our events.” FB & IG @whfirstfriday

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