News and Updates

Spruced Goose Station open in McAdenville

Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Holy Angels celebrated the opening of Spruced Goose Station in McAdenville with a Chamber ribbon cutting and Network After Work event on Tuesday, Feb. 19, 2019, from 5:30 until 7:30 p.m.

The Spruced Goose Station, a partnership between Holy Angels and Pharr, opened for business on February 20, with the coffee, ice cream and restaurant section open 6:30 a.m. until 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday, serving breakfast items, salads, sandwiches, specialty coffees and desserts and more. An upstairs gift shop and art studio will be open 10 a.m. until 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday, with shirts, cards, candles art items made by Holy Angels residents and more. Customers will be served by supported Holy Angels employees.

Shannon Thomas chairs Chamber Board for 2019

Tuesday, February 5, 2019


Chamber officers (from left) Shannon Thomas, Melia Lyerly, Heath Jenkins, Paul Lowrance and Carey Roberts.

 More than 260 fill Grand Hall for the annual celebration

Shannon Thomas of Creative Solutions Special Events was elected to chair the Montcross Area Chamber Board of Directors during the 59th Annual Celebration and Membership Meeting on Feb. 5, 2019, in the Grand Hall of the Mount Holly Municipal Complex.

A sellout crowd of more than 260 Chamber members and friends attended the reception, silent auction, dinner and program. CaroMont Health was the presenting sponsor. 

Also elected to serve on the Executive Committee were Chair-Elect Heath Jenkins of the Town of Stanley, Secretary Melia Lyerly of Lyerly Agency, Treasurer Paul Lowrance of McKenney Business Management and Past-Chair Carey Roberts of Carey Roberts Design.

New members elected to the Board of Directors were Natasha Gilbert of Chick-fil-A of Belmont, Jonathan Yandle of BB&T - Mount Holly and Katy Windell of McLean Funeral Directors. 



From left, Shannon Thomas, Heath Jenkins, Katy Windell, Paul Lowrance, Carey Roberts, Jonathan Yandle, Natasha Gilbert and Melia Lyerly.


Chamber presents major awards at celebration

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

From left, Peter Cassidy receiving Business of the Year Award from Janet Sarn; Timothy Roberts (left) presenting EPIC Award to Mark Cramer, Vincent Ginski and Chris Peek; and Don Doctor (right) receiving Public Service Award from Brad Thomas. In the photo below, right, Ted Hall is receiving the Order of the Long Leaf Pine presented by Melia Lyerly.

NC Long Leaf Pine honor goes to Chamber president

Three major awards were presented by the Montcross Area Chamber during the 59th Annual Celebration on Feb. 5, 2019. And in a surprise addition to the program Chamber President Ted Hall was inducted into the Order of the Long Leaf Pine, an honor conferred by the Governor of North Carolina for distinguished community service.

Receiving the Chamber's Business of the Year Award was Carolinas Rehabilitation - Mount Holly. Presenting for award sponsor South State Bank was Market President Janet Sarn, and accepting was hospital Administrator and Atrium Health Vice President Peter Cassidy. CLICK HERE to read more about the award.

Greater Gaston Development Corporation (GGDC) was the recipient of the EPIC Award, which is presented by the Chamber to an individual, business or organization that is "Entrepreneurial, Progressive, Innovative and Collaborative." The award was sponsored by Cottage Keepers and presented by owner Timothy Roberts. Accepting were GGDC Executive Director Mark Cramer, Strategy and Operations Associate Vincent Ginski and Board Vice Chair Chris Peek. CLICK HERE for more on the award and the GGDC.

The Harley B. Gaston, Jr. Public Service Award was presented to Don Doctor of Cramerton in recognition of his service to the community and to the economy of Gaston County by conceiving the plan and leading the,campaign to restore Cramer Mountain Club after a long period in foreclosure.The award is named for a founder of the Chamber, who was a long time attorney, judge and public servant in Gaston County. CLICK HERE for more on the Public Service Award. 

At the conclusion of the celebration program, former Chamber Board Chair Melia Lyerly of Lyerly Agency, announced that N.C. Gov. Roy Cooper had conferred upon Chamber President Ted Hall the state's highest civilian honor the Order of the Long Leaf Pine in recognition of his commitment to community service throughout a 47-year career spanning journalism, self-employment in management recruiting and almost 14 years at the Chamber of Commerce.

N.C. Rep. John Torbett had planned to present the award but was unable to attend because the Legislature was in session in Raleigh. 


 Hall was joined on stage by other recipients of the Order of the Long Leaf Pine, from left, Brenda White of Belmont, Stanley Town Manager Heath Jenkins, CaroMont Health Board Chair Donnie Loftis, Gaston County Commissioner Ronnie Worley and Greater Gaston Development Corporation Executive Director Mark Cramer. 







Sageworks founder Brian Hamiilton speaks at Belmont Abbey

Tuesday, January 29, 2019


Brian Hamilton speaking to a large group of business people and students at Belmont Abbey College. In the smaller photo below, Hamilton (left) is at Gaston Christian School, where he spoke at lunch with a group of community leaders. With him are GCS Head of School Dr. Marc Stout, Chamber Board Chair Carey Roberts of Carey Roberts Design and Ray McKenney of McKenney Business Management. 

Brian Hamilton Foundation based in Raleigh but going nationwide

Almost 200 people eager to learn more about starting and operating successful businesses came to Belmont Abbey College on Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2019, to hear a highly successful entrepreneur speak on “Entrepreneurship: Unlocking the Door to Economic Opportunity."

Speaking at the free program was Brian Hamilton, who co-founded Sageworks, the first financial technology company in the nation and the largest provider of software to U.S. banks. He sold the company to a leading private equity firm in 2018 and has turned his attention to growing the Brain Hamilton Foundation, which helps bring entrepreneurship to people who would not otherwise have it, including veterans, students, and inmates. 

In this talk, he outlined why entrepreneurship is one of the best alternatives for building wealth and how you can do it with limited resources. Sponsors of the program were the Business Leadership Institute at Belmont Abbey, the Montcross Area Chamber of Commerce and TechWorks of Gaston County.

Hamilton made five presentations during his full day in Gaston County, speaking at Stanley Middle School in the morning, to a group of community and business leaders at Gaston Christian School during lunch, and to GCS middle-school and high--school students in the afternoon before the evening program at Belmont Abbey College.  

Brian Hamilton is a regular guest on Fox Business and CNBC and is a frequent contributor to many national media publications including Inc. and Entrepreneur magazines. The Brian Hamilton Foundation is based in Raleigh but is poised to grow nationwide. 

For more information, go to:


Students were eager to talk with entrepreneur Brian Hamilton after his presentation. 




The Long March: Herblock and the Civil Rights Era

Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Elements of Empowerment Board Chair Delta Sanders (left) and Vice Chair Vince Hill prepare to cut the ribbon with Montcross Area Chamber Board Chair-Elect Shannon Thomas of Creative Solutions Special Events. Holding the ribbon are Montcross Area Chamber Board members Nicole Flowers of Wilbert Plastic Services and Robert Larrison of Atrium Health.

Herblock editorial cartoons from Civil Rights era on exhibit here

The Elements of Empowerment organization is sponsoring an exhibition of the Civil Rights era works of three-time Pulitzer Prize winning editorial cartoonist Herblock at the Gaston County Public Library Main Branch in Gastonia. The exhibit is titled “The Long March: Herblock & the Civil Rights Era.”

A Chamber ribbon-cutting ceremony opened the exhibit to the public on Jan. 15, 2019. It is on display on the library third floor through February 28, 2019.

Herbert Block (1909 - 2001), better known as Herblock, was chief editorial cartoonist at The Washington Post for more than 50 years. The exhibit here features his cartoons during the Civil Rights era from the 1940s through the 1960s.

Elements of Empowerment Board Chair Delta Sanders pointed out in her remarks that the exhibit here was opening on the birthday of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and would be open throughout Black History Month in February.


Vince Hill and Delta Sanders in front of Herblock exhibit..

Holy Angels and Gaston Arts Council

Thursday, December 13, 2018

At left, representing the sponsors are Gaston Arts Council Executive Director Kim George, Chamber Board Chair Carey Roberts of Carey Roberts Design and Holy Angels CEO Regina Moody. At right are members of the Tenya Colemon Trio -- Vince Rivers, Tenya Colemon and Greg Cagle. 

Santa and Mrs. Clause were the special guests

Santa and Mrs. Claus were special guests when Holy Angels and Gaston Arts Council teamed up to host Chamber members and friends for Network After Work on Thursday evening in the tented and heated Push Place Pavilion. The grounds of the Holy Angels campus were ablaze with holiday decorations and dozens of beautifully lighted angels.

Celebrating its 40th anniversary Gaston Arts Council sponsored live entertainment by the Tenya Colemon Trio. Refreshments were provided by Cherubs Cafe. 

Lowell lands Sonic Automotive customer care center

Thursday, December 13, 2018


Lowell City Council members with Sonic Automotive CEO David Smith and Chief Deputy Secretary for the NC Department of Commerce Elizabeth Crabill (center). Lowell leaders, from left, are City Council members Ken Ervin and Candy Funderburk, Mayor Sandy Railey, Mayor Pro-Tem Thomas Gillespie and Council members DeWayne Chitwood and Phil Bonham. In the photo below, Lowell Mayor Sandy Railey is welcoming Sonic Automotive at the announcement ceremony.

Christmas came early for the City of Lowell  

The City of Lowell unwrapped an early Christmas present last week valued at more than $11 million, when Sonic Automotive announced it will bring 500 jobs over the next five years to a new building on Main Street in Lowell at I-85 exit 22. 

Sonic Automotive is a Fortune 500 company and is among the largest automotive retailers in the United States. The Lowell offices will house marketing and advanced customer care operations for the company. 

CEO David Bruton Smith made the announcement in a press conference coordinated by the Gaston County Economic Development Commission, which played a major role in bringing the jobs to Gaston County. Smith said the hiring process will begin in January 2019. The jobs are expected to pay an average of $53,000, which is $15,000 higher than the average annual wage in Gaston County. 

Lowell Mayor Sandy Railey welcomed Sonic Automotive. “This is truly a historic day for Lowell,” she said. “This will provide a tremendous boost for our local economy.” City of Lowell officials have worked hard in recent years to develop the exit 22 property. “We are excited you are here, and we greatly appreciate you choosing Lowell for your newest office facility,” Mayor Railey said. 

Gaston County Economic Development Commission Board Chairman Robert Browne welcomed Sonic Automotive, and Commissioners Ronnie Worley and Tracy Philbeck spoke on behalf of Gaston County. The state was represented by Chief Deputy Secretary of the N.C. Department of Commerce Elizabeth Crabill.


Rendering of the Sonic Automotive Lowell facility.






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