Chamber Teacher PerksBy John Mullen

July 2, 2019 – Orange Beach, AL – (OBA®) – Two groups at the Coastal Alabama Business Chamber are pooling their resources to offer teachers on the island discounts at local businesses.

“We have 8 different councils here at the Chamber that focus on different areas of our community,” the Chamber’s Penny Hughey said. “Two of the councils that I’m responsible for are the Small Business Council and the Education Council. Both of those groups came together and decided we wanted to work on something we can do to show our teachers in the area how much we appreciate all that they do for the kids in our communities.”

The idea was to line up local businesses to give discounts to teachers. Hughey, the chamber’s Vice President For Member Services and Education, began recruiting businesses in a variety of ways including the First Friday Forum breakfast at LuLu’s on June 7.

“We created this program called Teacher Perks,” Hughey said. “Any business, whether they are a chamber member or not, can fill out our form and turn it into the chamber on what type of discount they would like to provide to our area teachers. If it is a restaurant, they might give a free appetizer or maybe 10 percent of their meal or something like that. Or if you’re a yard guy you might do a weed eat of your garden or it could be a haircut place giving a discount, oil change, etc. It really doesn’t matter what type business it is.”

So far, 21 businesses have signed onto the program and the chamber is reaching out in a variety of ways to get more on board. Interested businesses can sign up by filling out a form on the chamber’s website.

Penny Hughey of the Coastal Alabama Business Chamber covering Orange Beach and Gulf Shores, Alabama.“Our goal is to get to 50 are businesses on board before school starts in August,” Hughey said. “It’s going out in the Chamber newsletter and we are announcing it at various events. The Wharf sent out in their tenant email to all their businesses and several of those businesses have reached back and said they wanted to participate.”

They are reaching out directly to teachers as well and Teacher Perks Committee co-chair Reggie Pulliam went to a recent move-in day for Gulf Shores teachers to not only tell them about the program but to also help recruit more businesses. Pulliam represents Coastal Alabama Insurance and his committee co-chair is Cayne Harrelson of Goldwater Bank.

“Reggie, Cayne and I plan to go to the three Orange Beach schools and the three Gulf Shores schools and meet with all the teachers and staff before school starts to let them know about the program to let them know all they have to do is show their teacher ID at any participating business and then they get to take advantage of whatever discount that business provides,” Hughey said.

For the teachers, it works very simply. Participating businesses will have a sticker on their front doors much like the chamber stickers but with an apple logo on it. When teachers see the logo, they know that business is in the Teacher Perks program. Or they can go to the Chamber’s website at to find a list of participating businesses and the discounts or “perks” that they offer.

“Teachers just have to show their teacher ID cards, they should all have some sort of teacher or staff ID badges,” Hughey said. “They just show that badge at the restaurant or gift shop or whatever and they get whatever that discount is.”

New Orange Beach Middle School Principal Dr. Robbie Smith said the program will be welcomed and appreciated by educators on the island.

“From a personal standpoint it is wonderful,” Smith said. “I like to support local businesses because they are the foundation in helping the schools. So, to get a little perk while I am there is really great. And to see so many businesses willing to offer something to recognize the work of teachers is really cool.”