News and Updates

Chronicle Millworks barbecue, brews and networking drew

Thursday, May 9, 2019


John Church (center) and Jennifer Church (right) were the hosts with Brian Hackett when Chronicle Millworks sponsored Network After Work on Thursday, May 9, 2019. A massive crowd of Chamber members and friends enjoyed barbecue and brews, seeing the beautiful furniture being created from wood salvaged from old textile mills and making business connections. Part of the event featured a raffle of a $1500 set of tables, which raised more than $500 for the Gaston County Public Library System. Library Director Laurel Morris (with mic) is thanking the group for the contribution. Others in the photo are Chamber Board Chair Shannon Thomas of Creative Solutions Special Events and Chamber President Ted Hall. 

Raffle raised more than $500 for Gaston County Library System

Barbecue and brews and the smell of centuries old wood will welcomed Chamber members and friends to the Network After Work at Chronicle Millworks Thursday evening. Chronicle Millworks is where owner John Church and Brian Hackett are reclaiming and bringing back to life beautiful wood that for the past century formed the floors and beams of the textile mills which drove the economy of our region. They’re designing and building tables, chairs and other furniture from old mill wood.

This was a unique Network After Work. An open house began at 4 p.m., and the Chamber event kicked off at 5:30 and continuing until 7. 
Participants were invited to purchase raffle tickets for a chance to win a coffee and end table set valued at $1,500, with proceeds going to the Gaston County Public Libraries. Each raffle ticket purchase also got the buyer a set of wooden Chronicle Mill coasters. Coasters also were given as door prizes. 

For more information on Chronicle Millworks, call 704.281.9713,,   

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MACC Fiesta "fun-raiser" was a real blast

Thursday, May 2, 2019

Representing MACC Fiesta sponsors are Brad and Shannon Thomas and Lauren Taylor of Creative Solutions Special Events; Raquel Cruz of Tex-Mex Back Road Grill; Sarah Duckworth of Sarah Duckworth Events; Troy Knight of the Gaston Jaycees; Claudina Ghianni-Toole; Brilliant Wilson of BB&T, Carly Caldwell of Riverside Marina, William Howe of Wilcox Real Estate Group, Maria Kolba, Paige Mixson and Mike Ray of BB&T, Brandon Kauffman of Wilcox Real Estate Group and MACC President Ted Hall. (Photo by John Jacob)

Chamber members and friends enjoyed food, fun and music  

Montcross Area Chamber members and friends warmed up for Cinco de Mayo with tacos, music, beverages and a cornhole contest at the Riverside Marina in Belmont on May 2, 2019. 

Major sponsors were Creative Solutions Special Events, Tex-Mex Back Road Grill and Riverside Marina. Also sponsoring were Wilcox Real Estate Group, sponsor of the music performed by Kevin Yeargin; BB&T, sponsor of the taco toss cornhole contest; beverage sponsors Standard Distributors and Choice USA; and table sponsors the Ghianni-Toole family and Sarah Duckworth Events. Volunteers from the Gaston Jaycees provided the beverage service and School Resources, the sound system. 

Chamber Board Chair Shannon Thomas of Creative Solutions Special events conceived the fiesta as a “fun-raiser” to show members a good time and provide opportunities for fellowship and networking. “The Fiesta exceeded all of my dreams,” she said at the end of a spectacular spring evening by the river. 

BB&T Mortgage Loan Officer Maria Kolba presents Jeff Davenport of Davenport Design & Print his prize as the top performer in the Taco-Toss cornhole competition. Beside Maria is Chamber Board Chair Shannon Thomas of Creative Solutions Special Events. Also representing BB&T are, from left Mike Ray, Brilliant Wilson and Paige Mixson. (Photo by John Jacob)

Taco-Toss cornhole winner Jeff Davenport 

A 34-way tie for last place with a score of zero didn’t keep everyone who participated in the Taco-Toss cornhole contest sponsored by BB&T from having a great time at the Montcross Area Chamber Fiesta celebrating Cinco de Mayo. 

Many contestants did score by landing one or more of their allotted four tosses in the hole, and a winner was declared after an hour of friendly competition. Jeff Davenport of Davenport Design & Print walked away with the cash prize. 

Others attending the fiesta took home piñata door prizes and some won paddle board rentals and sessions ranging from $50 to $250 donated by Riverside Marina.



Sakes Express in Belmont celebrates renovations

Wednesday, May 1, 2019

Sake Express owners Linda Park (left) and Lisa Nguyen cut the ribbon during a celebration of major renovations at their Japanese Steakhouse in Belmont. With them are managers Kelvin Vasquez (left) and Hau Nguyen. Holding the ribbon are MACC Board members Melia Lyerly of Lyerly Agency and Tony Marder of ASM Ventures. 

Chamber ribbon-cutting marks the occasion

Sake Express Japanese Steakhouse & Sushi at 675 Park Street in Belmont invites customers to see the new dining room and luxury restrooms added during a major interior renovation. A Chamber ribbon-cutting ceremony marked the occasion on May 1, 2019. The dining room reopened on April 16 after being closed a week to complete the renovations. The drive thru was open to serve customers throughout the remodel. 

Sisters Linda Nguyen Park and Lisa Nguyen own Sake Express Japanese Steakhouse & Sushi in Belmont and in Gastonia. The first Sake Express was started by their father Phat Nguyen in 1998 on North New Hope Road in Gastonia. Linda and Lisa took over the business after their father became ill. They expanded to Belmont in 2010 and later built a new home for the Gastonia restaurant at 1327 E. Franklin Boulevard. 

For more on Sake Express Japanese Steakhouse & Sushi, go to


Reserve your ad space today!

Saturday, April 13, 2019

Reserve ad space now in Chamber welcome magazine 

The 12th annual edition of the Montcross Area Chamber visitor and newcomer welcome guide and member directory will be published soon, and advertising sales are under way now. 

The full-color, glossy magazine will feature articles on all of the cities and towns of the Montcross area in eastern Gaston County, plus detailed information useful to every visitor and newcomer as well as to long-time residents. 

The magazines will be available free in dozens of locations, including visitor information centers, hotels, the Chamber office, city halls, the offices of advertisers and more sites throughout the next 12 months. 

Chamber member Biz Well Corporation publishes the magazine and returns a portion of the advertising sales income to the Chamber. Members of the Chamber receive a discount on advertising. 

To reserve ad space, or get more information, call Sandy Barnett at 704.491.9897, or email her at



DOWNLOAD the ad rates 

CLICK HERE to see the current edition online.



Gaston Arts Council hosts Network After Work

Thursday, April 11, 2019


At Network After Work, from left, are Gaston Arts Council Executive Director Kim George, "Loss World" author Mary London Szpara, singer/songwriter Kelly Z, Park Street United Methodist Church Pastor David Hiatt and Montcross Area Chamber President Ted Hall.    

Business, art, church communities come together

Gaston Arts Council Executive Director Kim George succeeded in bringing together the business community, arts community and church community in a single Chamber Network After Work event on April 11, 2019.

She arranged for the Arts Council to host the monthly Chamber networking reception in the Family Life Center at Park Street United Methodist Church in Belmont, where she also scheduled several artists to exhibit their work, and booked a theatrical performance of "The Loss World Monologues 2.0" immediately following the reception. 

Los Angeles singer/songwriter Kelly Z performed the one-woman play, adapted from a book by Mary London Szpara, who also attended and led a discussion after the performance. The book and play are based on her writings about the grief she experienced, and still experiences, after the death of her husband. More information available here:

For more on the Gaston Arts Council, call 704.853.2787, or visit

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Kelly Z performing following Chamber Network After Work reception.

Wilcox Realty Group & Wilcox Homes

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Owners Jeremy and Kerianne Wilcox are cutting the ribbon, with (from left) Cramerton Town Manager David Pugh, Cramerton Commissioner Susan Neeley, Kim Baker, Amy Maier and Chamber Board Chair Shannon Thomas of Creative Solutions Special Events.

Realty firm has grown to 19 agents in first year at new location

Just a year after opening its new offices, Wilcox Real Estate Group has grown to 19 agents. With its partner business Wilcox Homes, owners Kerianne and Jeremy Wilcox celebrated  the anniversary with an open house and  Chamber ribbon cutting ceremony on April 10, 2019, from noon until 1 p.m. A large crowd of Chamber members, clients, friends and guests turned out to celebrate the occasion and enjoy refreshments. The offices are at 4109 South New Hope Rd., Gastonia, NC 28056. For more on Wilcox Realty Group, call 704.909.8600, or visit; and for more on Wilcox Homes, call 704.771.1113, or visit

See more photos on Facebook.


TechWorks of Gaston County opens in Belmont

Friday, April 5, 2019


Cutting the ribbon at the TechWorks of Gaston grand opening today were (from left) Liz Crabill, deputy assistant secretary of commerce, for the state of North Carolina, TechWorks Executive Director Terry Cox, Gaston Innovation Group Board Chair Dr. Stephen Hannon, Gaston County Commission Chairman Tracy Philbeck, and N.C. Sen. Kathy Harrington. Beside them (at left) are Belmont Mayor Charlie Martin and Montcross Area Chamber President Ted Hall. At right, are Belmont City Manager Adrian Miller and Gaston Regional Chamber CEO Steve D'Avria. 

Four years of work took TechWorks from a vision to reality 

More than four years of hard work, long meetings and fundraising paid off in a big way for Gaston County today when the TechWorks innovation and technology center opened in downtown Belmont.

he center is furnished and ready to provide work space to attract and support present and future technology entrepreneurs and provide technical training to boost the job skills of people of all ages. 

More than 200 were on hand for a ribbon cutting and program and to see the beautifully renovated 14,000-square-foot space in a former textile building at 52A Ervin Street. Congressman Patrick McHenry spoke as did Liz Crabill of the N.C. Department of Commerce, N.C. Sen. Kathy Harrington, County Commission Chairman Tracy Philbeck and Belmont Mayor Charlie Martin. N.C. Rep. John Torbett also attended.  TechWorks Board Chairman Dr. Stephen Hannon and Executive Director Terry Cox cut the ribbon assisted by a robot built by local high school students, which delivered the scissors.

More than $2 million from the state, Gaston County, Belmont and corporate and foundation grants have brought TechWorks from a concept to reality. TechWorks already has made it possible for gigabit speed internet service in Belmont provided by Open Broadband, and for free public Wi-Fi downtown. Plans are being developed to spread the service to other cities and towns across the county.

This is the Iced Java robotics team from Mountain Island Charter, which built the robot that delivered a pair of 18-inch scissors for the ribbon cutting photo today. In the small photo above, Terry Cox and others react as the robot goes into spin cycle mode in celebration of the successful ribbon cutting.

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