Company: Deck The Chairs
Website Address: deckthechairs.org
Interviewee: Kurtis Loftus
Short company description: Deck The Chairs is a non profit founded in 2013 to fill a void for the Beaches area during the holiday season. DTC promotes the arts and art education through development of a nationally recognized holiday display featuring decorated lifeguard chairs. Jax Beach Deck The Chairs is produced through public/private collaborations with strong volunteer support in an accessible family-friendly environment.
What inspired Deck the Chairs?
For whatever reason, about eight years ago we had no Christmas in Jax beach. I mean the place went dark and I’m talking no lights anywhere. The following summer I was running on the beach and looking at lifeguard chairs, one every half mile, and the lifeguard chair was hitting me as a beautiful symbol for Jax beach. Thinking back on the Christmas before and imagining what we could do in a decorative way, displaying those lifeguard chairs and putting something together for a Christmas event.
How do you keep the momentum going with it being an annual event?
A great question and I didn’t do a good job in the beginning. The first thing I had to do is just figure out how to run a nonprofit. We did that work a couple years, growing slowly and making mistakes. I did some more things with marketing. I mean I bought traditional marketing and that’s expensive. We still are learning the whole social media business. It’s kind of interesting. It’s interesting to look at last year and what we do with social media and what I started to do earlier in the year with the story of deck chairs. But simultaneously this big cultural experience that we’re putting on in the park that’s free
So what’s your biggest challenge and what are your pressing needs?
The bigger one is keeping the event fresh. We have a huge park space and we’re lighting you know lots of trees lighting space and we want the exhibits better. So you have to encourage people to invest a little more time and energy. And then there’s a whole build and decorate aspect, it’s a lot of fun.