The Scenic Corridor Foundation presented its first Scenic Corridor Design Excellence Award to the Tom Thumb Food Store at 9595 U.S. Hwy. 98 in Miramar Beach.

The foundation instituted this award to recognize businesses and developers who build or renovate projects that best exemplify the intent of the Scenic Corridor Guidelines established in Chapter 13 of the Walton County Land Development Code. The recent renovations to this Tom Thumb location included building modifications, the relocation of the gas pumps off to the side of the property, a new easy to access parking surface and beautiful landscaping that also serves as a safety buffer to separate the convenience store parking and pump areas from the heavy traffic on U.S. Highway 98.

On hand for this inaugural presentation were members of the Tom Thumb organization, Walton County Planning and Development Services staff, Scenic Corridor Foundation board members and representatives for Walton County Commissioner, Chairwoman Cecilia Jones and Commissioner Melanie Nipper.

Sacred Heart Hospital on the Emerald Coast President Roger Hall presented the award to the president of the Tom Thumb food store chain, Jay Erickson. In his presentation, Hall, who also serves as the Scenic Corridor Foundation president said, “Our goal is to preserve the South Walton area making it business friendly and beautiful. Our area is going to grow and we just want it to grow in the right way.”

“We love serving the community," Erickson said. "We are very proud of this location and how it represents our company.”

Everyone attending the ceremony was excited that businesses such as Tom Thumb were being recognized for their efforts.

“Because of the pump relocation and how nice their store and the grounds look, I go out of my way to come here for gas,” said Scenic Corridor Foundation board member Ashley Vannoy of First Bank and Trust.

Scenic Corridor Foundation, a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization that champions initiatives to improve the U.S. 98/331 Scenic Corridor, will present more Scenic Corridor Design Excellence Awards on a quarterly basis.