Brandon Marquis, co-owner of 30A Cottages and Concierge, moved to South Walton 15 years ago, at a time when the area looked quite a bit different than it does today.
Brandon and his wife, Brittany, lived in Tallahassee and then a few years in Panama City before becoming full-time 30A locals. He and Brittany would drive over for date nights at Angelina’s, the longstanding Italian joint in Seagrove Beach, when there was really nothing else around the then-quiet South Walton.
But, it was Rosemary Beach that really stole his heart.
“That’s what really made me fall in love with this area, the architecture over there, the inside of these fantastic houses,” said Brandon. “I was offered a job at Rosemary where I got to work right on the beach, and then I started exploring the rest of 30A. I was sold.”
Brandon said that it wasn’t just the high-end communities like Rosemary Beach, but everything down to the way the grass is kept and the people.
“I’ve met more interesting, laid-back and cool people here than I have known my entire life,” he said. “I don’t know everything about life, but I know a good thing when I see it.”
When he’s not working, Brandon loves to paddle board on his favorite spot, Western Lake.
“You can put in by Red Bar and go by the beach and back into the lake,” said Brandon, who looks forward to when his oldest son, Mikey (who is four), will be able to get out there with him. (His youngest son, Mason, is about to turn two.)
“He’s not ready for it right now, but the day that he is is going to be really cool,” he said.
A self-described “food junkie,” Brandon said he and his wife also love to get out and try all the great restaurants in the area.
His all-time favorite? Crabby Steve’s, a hidden spot in the Seacrest neighborhood that can be accessed only from the beach or if you live in the private High Pointe community (or are lucky enough to know someone who does).
“I’ve known Crabby Steve for quite some time,” Brandon said. ” He comes by his name honest, but you’re not going to meet a better guy or a better chef in the area.”
Given a free day on 30A, Brandon said that he and the family typically head out to the beach to hang out in the sand and the waves for a while. That’s often followed by nap time (for the kiddos, of course). Afterward, the family might stop by Crabby Steve’s for some lunch and a drink. The kids also love to play at Dave & Busters in Pier Park, followed by dinner at Restaurant Paradis or Shades Bar & Grill.
(Brandon mentioned the family has always lived on the east end of 30A, but recently moved to Point Washington, so they’re really looking forward to finding some new favorite spots on that end of town.)
But Brandon also has a secret desire.
“I’d love to learn how to surf,” he said. “It’s easy to paddle board, just takes some balance, but it takes some dedication to learn to surf, and I just haven’t made the time yet.”
“To be able to jump on a wave and go, I would love that.”
Brandon Marquis is co-owner of 30A Cottages and Concierge, where one of his proudest achievements has been creating a family atmosphere unlike what you might find in a big corporation. The company recently decided to expand its business from 50 to 150 properties, but plans to continue to offer the personal level of service they have provided homeowners and guests for years.