News and Updates

Chamber awards salute outstanding accomplishments in 2017

Thursday, February 1, 2018

On the left, accepting the Business of the Year Award, are Holy Angels Board Chair Rob Hinman and CEO Regina Moody with Janet Sarn of sponsor Park Sterling Bank. In the center, Cathy Cloninger accepts the Harley B. Gaston Jr. Public Service Award from Shannon Thomas of sponsor Creative Solutions Special Events. On the right, Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden COO Jim Hoffman and CEO Patrick Larkin receive the EPIC Award from sponsor Timothy Roberts of Cottage Keepers. (Photos by Dodie Huffman of Image Source)

Holy Angels - Cathy Cloninger - Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden 

Business of the Year: Developing new commercial and vocational enterprises such as the Cotton Candy Factory and Bliss Gallery in Belmont and Cherubs Market in Cramerton helped earn Holy Angels recognition as the Business of the Year for 2017. Cherubs Café and Candy Bouquets are two more Holy Angels enterprises that have been operating for years. The non-profit service organization for children and adults with fragile intellectual and physical conditions also was recognized for its impact on the area economy by providing more than 300 jobs and an annual budget of more than $15 million. The Business of the Year Award is sponsored by Park Sterling Bank and was presented by Janet Sarn.

Public Service Award: The Harley B. Gaston Jr. Public Service Award is named for a founder of the Chamber who spent his life in service to the community. It was presented to Cathy Cloninger, who retired in 2017 after 34 years working to prevent incidents of domestic violence and to protect victims. She created The Shelter of Gaston County and has worked tirelessly to develop services and find funds, sometimes from her own pocket, to help female and male victims of abuse and their families. In 2016, The Shelter answered 1,080 crisis calls and provided safe housing for 165 women and 171 children. The Public Service Award is sponsored by Creative Solutions Special Events and was presented by co-owner Shannon Thomas.

EPIC Award: EPIC stands for entrepreneurial, progressive, innovative and collaborative. The spectacular Chinese Lantern Festival hosted by Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden in 2017 met all of those criteria and more. The eight-week festival drew more than 100,000 visitors, with 85,000 coming from outside Gaston County, including visitors from 46 states, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico. Marketing for the festival reached coast to coast. The EPIC Award, which is sponsored by Cottage Keepers, was presented by owner Timothy Roberts in recognition of the leadership team and entire staff of the Botanical Garden for bringing the festival to Gaston County.



Carey Roberts leads Chamber Board in 2018

Thursday, February 1, 2018

2018 Board Chair Carey Roberts speaking to a full house at the Chamber's 58th Celebration.

"Members First" key to Chamber success

More than 270 chamber members and friends registered to attend the 58th Annual Celebration and Silent Auction on Feb. 1, 2018, in the Grand Hall of the Mount Holly Municipal Complex. Carey Roberts of Carey Roberts Design in Belmont was elected to chair the Chamber Board of Directors for 2018. Other officers elected are Chair-elect Shannon Thomas of Creative Solutions Special Events, Past Chair Bill Ingram of Regions Bank, Treasurer Dick Cromlish of School Resources and Secretary Ryan Clarke of Sherpa. Eighteen other voting directors and eight non-voting advisory directors also were elected. (See the list below.)

In her remarks, Carey Roberts told the audience:

“Members First" is the theme of our annual celebration because that philosophy has been key to the past success of the Montcross Area Chamber, and tonight we rededicate ourselves always to uphold that principle. The Board of Directors and I also pledge to uphold four additional core values that guide everything we do at the Chamber. We will continue our work to “Build Bridges” connecting people, businesses and communities, and to “Tear Down Walls” that divide people, businesses and communities. In everything we do, we will strive to “Make Business Fun,” and we always will “Look for Ways to Say Yes,” rather than excuses to say no."

CaroMont Health was the presenting sponsor for the celebration, and other major sponsors included: Cottage Keepers, Creative Solutions Special Events, H&M Catering, Park Sterling Bank and Wilbert Plastic Services. H&M Catering provided the dinner.

2017 Board Chair Bill Ingram presented the year in review and announced a 13th consecutive year of record-setting membership, ending the year with 535 members. He also highlighted new programs such as the Get Ready Gaston Forum on Preparing for Growth and the MACC Amazing Race and new partnerships such as the Regional Access Membership agreement that provides a substantial discount to MACC members also wishing to join the Charlotte Chamber. 

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Cramerton marks ABC Store #1 expansion

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Cramerton ABC Board Chairwoman Carolyn Helms is cutting the ribbon, with (from left) Town Manager and Chamber Board member David Pugh, Mayor Will Cauthen, Commissioner Susan Neeley, ABC Board General Manager Sam Carpenter, Store Manager Greg Matthew, Board CFO Gil Aguirre, Chamber Board member Dick Cromlish of School Resources and store staff members. 

Cramerton ABC Store #1 celebrates expansion

Almost 11 years after the Town of Cramerton opened its first ABC store with a Chamber ribbon cutting on March 26, 2007, the town celebrated a major expansion of the store in the Cramer Market Place shopping center on Jan. 23, 2018. The location at 202-C Market Street became known as Store #1 last year when Store #2 opened in an new brick building on South New Hope Road.

Store #1 was almost doubled in size and in inventory with an expansion into to an adjoining retail space that became available.

Cramerton ABC Board Chairwoman Carolyn Helms cut the ribbon and Mayor Will Cauthen spoke during the ceremony. A big crowd of Chamber members and Cramerton residents turned out to see the new store and enjoy refreshments by H&M Catering.

Others came because they held hopes of claiming the right to purchase a rare bottle of 23-year-old Pappy Van Winkle bourbon in a drawing that was the climax of the celebration. The happy winner wished to remain anonymous, since the bottle is reported to have brought several thousand dollars on the open market.

Store hours are Monday - Saturday, 9 a.m. - 9 p.m. For more information, call 704.461.8752.

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Watch the ribbon-cutting video.


On March 26, 2007, then Cramerton ABC Board Chairman Barry Smith prepares to cut the ribbon at the grand opening of the town's first ABC store, with ABC Board members Carolyn Helms, who now serves as Board chairwoman, and Board member Sam Carpenter. Former mayor Ronald Murphy is in the back behind then Town Commissioners Jacque Sumner and Sandra Ware. Holding the ribbon are Montcross Area Chamber Executive Director Ted Hall (left) and then President Paul Lowrance of Mckenney Family Dealerships. 

McAdenville Table & Market Ribbon Cutting

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Caroline Bailey cuts the ribbon at the grand opening celebration for McAdenville Table & Market, with husband Jim Bailey, McAdenville Mayor Jim Robinette, John Bailey, staff members and representatives of the Montcross Area Chamber and Gaston Regional Chamber. Holding the ribbon are Montcross Area Chamber President Ted Hall, left, and Gaston Regional Chamber CEO Steve D'Avria.  In the photos below addressing the large crowd, are Jim and Caroline Bailey and John Bailey. 

Restaurant honors rich textile history of McAdenville

Members of the Montcross Area Chamber and Gaston Regional Chamber descended on the new McAdenville Table & Market in large numbers for a grand opening celebration and ribbon cutting on Jan. 16, 2018.

Owners Jim and John Bailey, who also own Sammy's Neighborhood Pub in Belmont, renovated the building at 129 1/2 Main Street in McAdenville and created a unique restaurant that includes a meat, fish and provisions market and loads of history from the textile heritage of the town, which is home to Pharr Yarns.

Bill Carstarphen, CEO of Pharr Yarns, attended the grand opening, and Mrs. Carol Carstarphen, who's an artist, created a large mural in the restaurant depicting the town's historical timeline.

Caroline Bailey got the honor of cutting the ribbon, alongside McAdenville Mayor Jim Robinette.

McAdenville Table & Market is open Monday - Sunday, 11 a.m. - 10 p.m. For more information, call 704.879.9042, or visit    

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Watch the ribbon-cutting video


Famous Toastery open in Belmont

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

In the photo, Jessica is cutting the ribbon with Stephanie Riley, Mr. Toast, and Brandon Yocum. Among those attending are, from left, Robert Aldrich of Aldrich CFO Services, Brad and Shannon Thomas of Creative Solutions Special Events, Kevin Randall of Northwestern Mutual, Frank Cooke of Radco Roofing, Belmont Mayor Pro Tem Martha Stowe, Michael Carpenter of TPP Vending, Irl Dixon of Coldwell Banker MECA Realty, Scot Hughes of Brightway Insurance, Johanna Giese of Mary Kay Cosmetics, Adam Lee of State Farm Insurance, Cindy Miller of Brightway Insurance, Susan Ingram, Mike McKeever of Belmont Rotary Club, Jennifer Church of the Chronicle Mill, Belmont City Manager Adrian Miller and Gaston County Commissioner Ronnie Worley. 

Famous Toastery is in new South Fork Station retail center

Samples of French toast on a stick debuted to rave reviews as one of several delicious menu items served when the Famous Toastery celebrated its grand opening in Belmont with a Chamber ribbon cutting on January 9. Owner Jessica Cummis and her team welcomed a large turnout of Chamber members and friends to the Toastery, which is located in the new South Fork Station retail center at 6425 Wilkinson Boulevard. Famous Toastery is open daily, 7 a.m. until 3 p.m., for breakfast, brunch and lunch. For more on Famous Toaster, call 704.981.1135, or visit

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Watch the ribbon-cutting video.


Belmont's first ABC Store open for business

Friday, December 8, 2017

Belmont ABC Board members are shown with the designers of the new store. Board members (starting second from left) are Tom Olsen, Jonathan Taylor, Joe Stowe, Mike Pate and Tony Marder. In the photo below, are Store GM Bill Montgomery (left) and Assistant GM Ed Browning.

Belmont's first ABC Store is open just in time for holiday buying and celebrated with a grand opening and Chamber ribbon cutting on Friday, Dec. 8, 2017. The 4600-square-foot store is in the new South Fork Station retail center at 6425 Wilkinson Boulevard. A unique design theme features a customer service counter resembling the front porch of a Southern country home, and on the opposite wall, a large photo of a Belmont backyard as seen from a gazebo. ABC Board Chair Joe Stowe spoke at the ceremony along with Belmont Mayor Charlie Martin, store general manager Bill Montgomery and assistant manager Ed Browning.

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Holy Angels hosts Chamber members and friends

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Holy Angels CEO Regina Moody, center in red, with residents and leadership team.

Holy Angels hosted Chamber members and friends for a special Christmas edition of Network After Work on Dec. 7, 2017. The Push Place outdoor pavilion was tented and heated for the event, and food was provided by Cherub's Cafe. The grounds at Holy Angels are particularly beautiful at Christmas, decorated with dozens of lighted angels. Holy Angels CEO Regina Moody told those attending about the mission of the non-profit organization to serve children and adults with mental and physical challenges. Holy Angels has 350 employees and a budget of more than $15 million, much of which must be raised through contributions.

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Holy Angels residents who work at Cherub's Cafe helped serve guests at the event.

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