News and Updates

Opportunity Zones designated in Gaston County

Monday, August 6, 2018

Seated with U.S. Rep. Patrick McHenry after the program are, Montcross Area Chamber Board Chair Carey Roberts (left) of Carey Roberts Design and Board Chair-elect Shannon Thomas of Creative Solutions Special Events. Standing (from left) are Gastonia City Manager Michael Peoples, Cramerton Commissioner Houston Helms and Cramerton Planning Director Josh Watkins, Belmont Mayor Charlie Martin, Cramerton Town Manager David Pugh, Chamber Board member Julie Roper of PSNC Energy, Dr. David Layne of Landmark MD and staff members Duwana Davis and Melissa McAtee, Lowell City Manager Kevin Krouse, Cramerton Commissioner Susan Neeley, Lowell Mayor Sandy Railey, Chamber Board member Robert Larrison of Atrium Health, Chamber Board Secretary Melia Lyerly of Lyerly Agency, Chamber Board Past Chair Bill Ingram of Regions Bank, Cramerton Commissioner Donald Rice and Stanley Town Manager Heath Jenkins.

9 Opportunity Zones identified in Gaston County

U.S. Rep. Patrick McHenry came to Belmont last week to talk with the Montcross Area Chamber Board of Directors and other guests about a new national “Opportunity Zones” program. 

The purpose of opportunity zones is to encourage growth in low-income and rural communities across America by providing a tax incentive for private investors to make long-term investments in communities which face economic hardships. To qualify as an opportunity zone, an area must have a poverty rate of 20 percent or higher or a median household income that is less than 80 percent of the surrounding area. 

The program provides a tax incentive for investors to reinvest unrealized capital gains into “opportunity funds,” which are dedicated to investing into small businesses and economic development in opportunity zones. 

Nine opportunity zones have been designated in Gaston County, including the FUSE District in Gastonia, zones in Lowell and Cramerton and a business park in Bessemer City. 

The meeting took place at the Kimbrell Campus of Gaston College, and Landmark MD of Belmont sponsored the lunch, which was provided by Nellie’s Southern Kitchen. Dr. David Layne of Landmark MD spoke also about his innovative direct primary care practice. (See related story on Landmark MD.)

Dr. David Layne and Landmark MD

Monday, August 6, 2018

Dr. David Layne is shown with information on direct primary care (DPC). 

Landmark MD office is in the Stowe Building in Belmont 

Landmark MD, an innovative direct primary care medical practice in Belmont, sponsored the Montcross Area Chamber Board of Director’s lunch with U.S. Rep. Patrick McHenry on Aug. 6, 2018, and Dr. David Layne made a presentation before the congressman spoke on a new national Opportunity Zone program. (See related story on Opportunity Zones.) 

Dr. Layne, who founded Riverwood Medical Associates of Gastonia in 1993, adopted the direct primary care model and opened a new office in Belmont’s Stowe Building three years ago. In direct primary care, the patient pays his or her physician directly, resulting in less time and money spent on insurances, leaving more time for the physician to focus on the patient. 

Landmark MD members pay monthly fees of $50 to $75, with a family maximum of $150. The fee covers a broad range of services such easy and fast access to care, unlimited office visits, annual physicals, routine lab and office procedures and more. 

The Landmark MD office is at 100 N. Main St., Belmont, NC 28012. For more information, call 704.461.8111, or visit

McLean Self Storage Grand Opening

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Tripp McLean cutting ribbon with members of his family and staff, Belmont Mayor Charlie Martin and Chamber members, including Board Chair Elect Shannon Thomas of Creative Solutions Special Events holding the ribbon at left, with 2018 Board Chair Carey Roberts of Carer Roberts Design. In the photo at right below, are Tripp McLean, left, with his father Les McLean and staff members of McLean Self Storage.

Ask about the "Refer A Friend" discount program

Chamber members and friends helped owner Tripp McLean and his family and staff celebrate the grand opening of McLean Self Storage on Thursday, Aug. 2, 2018. The new storage center is at 1322 South Point Road in Belmont. 

McLean Self Storage features 400 units from 5 X 5 feet to 10 X 30 feet, all behind a brick facade and monitored by 16 high-quality security cameras. About 70 percent of the units are temperature controlled with dehumidifiers. McLean Self Storage also offers RV and boat storage from 20 to 40 feet. 

Cherubs Cafe provided food for the grand opening, which attracted a large turnout of Chamber members and friends to welcome the new business to the Chamber and the community. Drop by and ask about the "Refer A Friend" policy, which can earn a new customer 50% off on first month's rent and a $25 credit for a current customer who refers a new customer. 

For more on McLean Self Storage, call 704.825.0669.

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Anatomywise Scoliosis & Spine Center Grand Opening

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

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Anatomywise owners Karen Kleiner and Karena Thek cut the ribbon with family members, Mount Holly city officials and Chamber members.

Former Miss NC, who has scoliosis, makes appearance

People are coming to Mount Holly from around the country for scoliosis therapy camps and one-on-one sessions at the new Anatomywise Scoliosis and Spine Center. The center is 115 N. Main Street, suite 212. 

Owners Karen Kleiner and Karena Thek, founder of Scolio-Pilates, celebrated their new Mount Holly location with an open house and Chamber ribbon-cutting ceremony on July 10, 2018. The Montcross Area Chamber and Gaston Regional Chamber partnered on the ribbon cutting. Catering was provided by Chamber member H&M Catering of Mount Holly.

Former Miss North Carolina and Miss Mount Holly Katherine Southard, who has scoliosis (curvature of the spine), made a special appearance at the event. As Miss North Carolina, she made helping others with scoliosis her mission.

For more information on Anatomywise, call 980.477.0508, or visit


Former Miss Mount Holly and Miss North Carolina Katherine Southard (in pink) with Anatomywise owners Karena Thek and Karen Kleiner and representatives of the Montcross Area and Gaston Regional Chambers of Commerce. 


New edition of Chamber Welcome magazine available now

Monday, June 25, 2018

Read the entire magazine online


Local children at the Cotton Candy Factory, a Holy Angels business in Belmont, made the cover of the latest Chamber Welcome magazine. Photo by Dodie Huffman of Image Source and Allure Wedding Photography. The photo below shows all previous covers of the Chamber's annual guide, which is published by Debbie Cole's Biz Well Corp.  

Cover features the Cotton Candy Factory in Belmont

A new edition of the Montcross Area Chamber's Visitor & Newcomer Welcome Guide hit the streets today, featuring a cover photo made at the Cotton Candy Factory in Belmont. Copies will be delivered this week to advertisers, city halls, the Gaston County Visitor Center and other locations. Magazines are available now at the The Cotton Candy Factory, Cherub's Cafe and at the Chamber office in the Stowe Building at 100 N. Main St., Belmont.

The cover photo, made by Dodie Huffman of Image Source and Allure Wedding Photography, shows Cotton Candy Factory staff member Erin Shepard helping four children spin their own cotton candy. Children in the photo are Eleana Khoury, Patrick Ian Khoury, Vaughn Nguyen and Liam Nguyen.

This is the 11th annual edition of the welcome guide, all published by Chamber member Debbie Cole's Biz Well Corporation. Thank you to the 57 advertisers whose support made the magazine possible and to Chamber member ImageMark Business Services for printing the 60-page, full-color publication.

Copies will be available free throughout the next 12 months for visitors and newcomers and long-time residents, who also find them useful.

Read the entire magazine online.


Chick-fil-A of Belmont wins 1st place in Chamber tournament

Thursday, June 21, 2018


1st-place team Chick-fil-A of Belmont, from left, Lee Dorn, Tommy Belcher, Jr., Benny Bowles, Tony Gilbert, with Donnie Loftis, chairman of the Board of Directors at presenting sponsor CaroMont Health. In the small photo below, is 3rd-place team Choice USA, with Greg Simmons, Craig Kinlaw, Rush Miller and Blake Bradshaw. 

CaroMont Health presenting sponsor for tournament

For the second time in five years, the Chick-fil-A of Belmont team took first-place honors at the Montcross Area Chamber Annual Golf Tournament at Cramer Mountain Club on June 21, 2018. CaroMont Health was the presenting sponsor. Chick-fil-A also won the tournament in 2014. The Chick-fil-A foursome this year included Tony Gilbert, Lee Dorn, Tommy Belcher, Jr. and Benny Bowles.

Finishing in second place was the MadVapes team of Bryan Hough, Chuck Newman, Kevin Collier and Wayne Kinley. Choice USA took third-place with the team of Greg Simmons, Craig Kinlaw, Rush Miller and Blake Bradshaw.

Also taking home trophies were: Rose Cook of the Carolinas HealthCare team for women’s longest drive; Lee Dorn of Chick-fil-A for men’s longest drive; and the three winners on closest to the pin holes were Lee Dorn and Benny Bowles of Chick-fil-A and Chuck Tomlinson of Carolinas HealthCare.

At the awards lunch, which was sponsored by Hillbilly’s BBQ, Chamber President Ted Hall thanked the players and sponsors, the donors of prizes and good bag items and the dozens of volunteers who helped with tournament preparations and at the course on the day of the event.

Donnie Loftis, chair of the CaroMont Health Board of Directors, spoke on behalf of the major sponsor and presented trophies to the winners.

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Taking 2nd-place was the MadVapes team of Bryan Hough, Kevin Collier, Chuck Newman and Wayne Kinley.   


New Hotel Coming To Mount Holly Near I-85 Exit 27

Monday, June 18, 2018

At the announcement in Mount Holly City Hall, are (from left) Gaston EDC Board Chairman Robert Browne, Mount Holly Hotel CEO Charles Saleh, Mount Holly Council member Carolyn Holbrook Breyare, Mayor Pro Tem Perry Toomey, County Commissioner Don Grant, City Manager Danny Jackson and Wes Bawab and Jay Kamdar of Mount Holly Hotel. 

Late 2019 opening projected for 91-room hotel  

A new 91-room hotel in Mount Holly was announced on Monday and ground was broken just off Highway 273 on Caldwell Drive at I-85 exit 27. Mount Holly LLC and Marriott International will construct the Fairfield Inn and Suites, beginning immediately. 

The new hotel, which will include meeting rooms, will mean 61 new jobs when in full operation, which is anticipated in late 2019.  “We are excited about our future at this new location in Mount Holly” said Charles Saleh, Wes Bawab and Jay Kamdar of Mt. Holly Hotel LLC. “Our company has a wonderful relationship with Marriott International and Midas Hospitality LLC to insure that our guests will have the very best lodging experience." 

The hotel executives were joined at the announcement and groundbreaking by Mount Holly City officials, Gaston County officials and representatives of the Gaston County Economic Development Commission.

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Mount Holly Hotel officials  joined by (from left) Gaston County Commission Chairman Chad Brown, Gaston EDC Chairman Robert Browne, County Commissioner Don Grant and Mount Holly City Council member Carolyn Holbrook Breyare at the groundbreaking for the new Fairfield Inn & Suites. 

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