News and Updates

Mazda of Gastonia celebrates new dealership

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

The celebration is about to erupt as Mazda of Gastonia General Manager Stephen Simmons cuts the ribbon, with (from left) Lowell Councilman Ken Ervin, Gastonia Mayor Walker Reid, Lowell Mayor Pro-Tem Thomas Gillespie and Councilwoman Candy Funderburk, Jun Nagata (holding award) and Yogi Nukina. Holding the ribbon are Chamber Board member Natasha Gilbert of Chick-fil-A Belmont and Chamber Board Chair Heath Jenkins of the Town of Stanley. In the small photo below, is Mazda Gastonia GM Stephen Simmons.

Chamber member businesses played a big role in the event

Mazda of Gastonia unveiled a spectacular new dealership and showroom with a massive grand opening celebration and ribbon-cutting ceremony followed by a Chamber Network After Work reception on March 11, 2020.

General Manager Stephen Simmons welcomed Mazda representatives from around the country who came to Lowell to join in the celebration. Mazda North America Vice President of Sales Planning and Innovation Yogi Nukina spoke as did Jun Nagata, president of the group which owns the local Mazda dealership, and Regional General Manager Kimberly Walker of Jacksonville, FL.

Yogi Nukina said 2020 is the 100th anniversary of Mazda, which annually sells more than 1.5 million vehicles in more than 100 countries. He presented Jun Nagata a special award signifying prosperity in recognition of the dealership opening.

Local officials joined in the celebration, including Lowell Mayor Pro-Tem Thomas Gillespie and Lowell City Council members Candy Funderburk and Ken Ervin, and Gastonia Mayor Walker Reid, III.

Chamber member Sarah Duckworth Events coordinated the celebration, which included a DJ, large balloon displays, a red carpet and a photo booth. And Camber member H&M Catering provided an elaborate assortment of refreshments.

For more on Mazda of Gastonia, call 855.889.9834, or visit

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Jun Nagata is explaining the meaning of the award, which features a large, wooden, engraved rice spoon that in Japan is a symbol of prosperity, to local leaders (from left) Lowell Planning Director Scott Attaway, Mayor Pro-Tem Thomas Gillespie and Councilman Ken Ervin, Gastonia Mayor Walker Reid and Lowell Councilwoman Candy Funderburk. 





Friday, March 6, 2020

Are you up for the challenge of leading the region's fastest-growing and most dynamic Chamber of Commerce?
A search committee is accepting resumes through March 31, 2020, for the position of president of the Montcross Area Chamber of Commerce. The president is the chief executive officer of the Chamber reporting to a Board of Directors. Ted Hall, who has served in the position 15 years, has announced plans to retire. 
With roots in Belmont, N.C. dating to 1937, the Chamber’s primary service area encompasses the cities and towns of eastern Gaston County, including Belmont, Mount Holly, Cramerton, Lowell, McAdenville and Stanley. The Chamber has grown to more than 500 members in Gaston and Mecklenburg counties.
Chamber offices in downtown Belmont are just 10 minutes west of the Charlotte Airport and less than 20 minutes from Uptown Charlotte.
The area is growing in population and economic investment, propelled by the vitality and charm of its unique communities and proximity to the airport and Charlotte's westward development.
Some of the most important qualifications for the position are:
  • Passion for helping businesses and communities succeed
  • Leadership experience in a business or organization
  • Strong people and communication skills
  • Ability to develop and implement short-term and long-term plans
If you would like to know more about this opportunity,
use the link below to download the job description.
Please forward this information to anyone you know
who may be qualified and interested.
To apply for this position, send a confidential cover letter,
resume and salary requirements to: 
(or mail to)
Search Committee
Montcross Area Chamber of Commerce
PO Box 368
Belmont, NC 28012


Saqred Energy open in downtown Belmont

Thursday, March 5, 2020


Saqred Energy owner Marilyn Carpenter is at right, with team members, from left, energy medicine assistant James Witherspoon, Susan Reynolds of Alternative Wellness and Amber Pederson of The Healing Platform.

Saqred Energy located at 29 E. Woodrow Avenue 

Saqred Energy is open at 29 E. Woodrow Avenue in Belmont and helping those seeking to accelerate the body’s natural ability to heal from disease and illness, from chronic or injury-related pain and from emotional challenges and trauma with energy medicine, energy technologies and natural remedies.

Marilyn Carpenter is the owner of Saqred Energy and she’s added to her team Amber Pederson of the Healing Platform and Susan Reynolds of Alternative Wellness Center. They celebrated their grand opening with a Chamber ribbon-cutting ceremony on March 5, 2020.

Saqred Energy is in a former dental practice building that has been beautifully updated and renovated. The technology employed at Saqred Energy is based on quantum theory using resonance to increase energy in and between cells.

Learn more about Saqred Energy at For appointments or more information, call 704.561.6633, or email

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Marilyn Carpenter cuts the ribbon, officially opening Saqred Energy in Belmont, with Mayor Charlie Martin, Amber Pederson, Susan Reynolds and James Witherspoon and other Chamber members and friends. Holding the ribbon are Chamber Board member Andrea Sipka of Schooley Mitchell and Board Chair-elect Gordon Quarles of Blue Harbor Bank. 

Backporch Dispensary open on S. New Hope Road

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

Melanie Sotomayor has just cut the ribbon with her mom Cheryl Jones and surrounded by their family members, members of the Backporch Dispensary team and fellow Chamber members. Holding the ribbon are Chamber Board members Karen Kleiner of Anatomywise (left) and Paige Mixson of BB&T Bank. 

Mother-daughter business opening a Chamber and family affair

The Montcross Area Chamber member family and the family of mother and daughter business owners Cheryl Jones and Melanie Sotomayor came together for a reunion this week at the grand opening of Backporch Dispensary at 4007 S. New Hope Road in Gastonia. 

Dr. Sotomayor has been a local pharmacist for 13 years, and her mom Cheryl taught special needs students at the high school and middle school levels for 18 years. They share an interest in educating and helping patients and children achieve heath and wellness through the use of all-natural organic supplements and essential oils.

They describe Backporch Dispensary as a health and wellness boutique, selling only "the highest quality organic CBD tinctures, creams, salves, beauty, pre-rolls, flower and pet products from small, organic, local and national farms." 

They plan to hold classes to educate the community about CBD and other plant-based products and the importance of investigating the source of products they purchase, pointing out that 50 percent of the supplements on the market are substandard and not made from quality ingredients. 

For more on Backporch Dispensary, call 704.914.7185, or visit

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The Lodge Tavern & Tap and Landmark MD host Chamber

Thursday, February 13, 2020

2 hosts mean twice the fun and networking opportunities  

A “Network After Work” reception hosted by The Lodge Tavern & Tap and Landmark MD of Belmont introduced a large crowd of Montcross Area Chamber members to the Kenwood Room bar and event space inside The Lodge and to the unique direct pay family medical practice Landmark MD. The event was on Feb. 13, 2020.

The Kenwood Room features a separate bar and a distinctively different menu and is located at the back of the main dining area at the Lodge, which is at 101 Kenwood Street in Belmont.

Dr. David Layne’s direct primary care practice in Belmont partnered with The Lodge on the event. Landmark MD is located in the Stowe Building at 100 N. Main Street in Belmont. 

In the photo above are, from left, Dr. Layne, Landmark MD Practice Manager Melissa McAtee, The Lodge General Manager Allison Jennings, Bar Manager Brett Hughes and Chamber President Ted Hall.

In the photo at right, gift basket winner Tim Ingram of Belmont gladly accepts his prize from Allison Jennings (left) and Chamber Board Past-Chair Shannon Thomas of Creative Solutions Special Events. 

For more information on The Lodge, call 704.461.8044, or visit For more on Landmark MD, call 704.461.8111, or visit

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Caromont opens new medical practice in Cramerton

Monday, February 10, 2020

Cramerton Mayor Will Cauthen ready to cut the ribbon at CaroMont Health's new family medical office in Cramerton, with Town Commissioner Susan Neeley and Town Manager David Pugh , CaroMont officials and Chamber representatives.

Town of Cramerton goes large with its first medical practice

Cramerton landed its long-sought medical practice and CaroMont Health opened its newest family medicine office with the snip of a red ribbon by Dr. M. “Jay” Petruska on Feb. 10, 2020 at 4235 South New Hope Road in Gastonia. The Montcross Area Chamber partnered with CaroMont Health on the ribbon-cutting ceremony. 

The 15,493-square-foot facility near Cramerton Middle School is the first to be built in the commercial section of the Villages at Cramerton Mills community.  

Executive Vice President of CaroMont Health Dr. Costa Andreou welcomed friends, employees, elected officials and members of the community to the ceremony. Other speakers were CaroMont Health Board Chairman Donnie Loftis, Cramerton Mayor Will Cauthen and Montcross Area Chamber Board Chair Heath Jenkins of the Town of Stanley. 

“I can’t tell you what it means to our citizens,” said Mayor Cauthen. “CaroMont Health’s willingness to partner with us on this project has been incredible. We are so proud of everything happening here.” 

Dr. Petruska and Dr. Cristian Pantea, are relocating their CaroMont Family Medicine practice in Belmont to the new facility in Cramerton. They will be joined by Ann Marie Watts, RN, MSN, FNP-BC and Kani Smith, FNP-BC. The new practice includes 18 exam rooms; three procedure rooms and on-site x-ray and laboratory services, including point of care testing.

The practice is open Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. To make an appointment, call 704.825.4750.

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Dr. Jay Petruska cut the first ribbon to applause and cheers at the grand opening of the new CaroMont Health primary care practice in Carmerton on Monday, Feb. 10, 2020.


ROAR Business Services grand opening at TechWorks

Wednesday, February 5, 2020


Representing ROAR are, from the left, Rick and Gerda Arcia and their daughters Olivia Talley (cutting the ribbon), Anne Arcia and Julia Arcia. Also enjoying the celebration are grandchildren Saskia, Wolfgang (the bearded one) and Konrad. Holding the ribbon are, at left, Chamber board member Robert Aldrich of Aldrich CFO Services and Board Chair-Elect Gordon Quarles of Blue Harbor Bank. In the photos below, the grandchildren having fun at the celebration with Oliva Talley modeling the Batman costume. (Photos by Chase Photography)  

ROAR's business partners show support at ribbon cutting

At the grand opening of his offices in the TechWorks of Gaston County innovation center in Belmont on Feb. 5, 2020, ROAR Business Services powered by Proforma owner Rick Arcia organized a trade show exhibition featuring several of his business partner companies and involved the entire Arcia family. Rick's wife Gerda and their three daughters and four grandchildren participated in the celebration.

ROAR Business Services is a full-service marketing solutions provider for printing, promotional products, ecommerce and packaging solutions.

Chamber members and other guests qualified for prizes by visiting all of the trade show exhibits and learning about their products and services ranging from promotional apparel and printing to 3-D printing of promotional items from small custom nightlights to life-size action figure costumes.

For more on ROAR Business Services, call 980.550.3016, or visit

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Rick Arcia speaking at grand opening, supported by his wife Gerda and daughters, Olivia Talley and Anne and Julia Arcia.



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