News and Updates

4 Montcross area city manages make career moves

Sunday, November 8, 2020



New positions for Miles Braswell, Kevin Krouse, Scott Attaway 

Four Montcross area city managers have made career moves recently, including long-time Mount Holly City Manager Danny Jackson. Jackson, who worked for the City of Mount Holly 33 years, the past 10 years as city manager, retired effective November 1. 

After a month off, he plans to continue serving the city as a consultant working on special projects. He also will continue teaching leadership principles to young people through the non-profit Danny Jackson Leadership Institute. 

Mount Holly Assistant City Manager Miles Braswell has been named to the city manager position. 

Lowell City Manager Kevin Krouse recently accepted a new position in Belmont as assistant city manager. And Scott Attaway, who served Lowell previously as development services administrator, has been named Lowell city manager. 

Danny Jackson: Shortly before announcing his resignation, Jackson received North Carolina’s highest civilian honor, The Order of The Long Leaf Pine, in recognition for decades of service in the Tar Heel state. The award was presented by his former basketball coach at Appalachian State University Bobby Cremins.  

In addition to serving the City of Mount Holly in several positions before being named city manager in 2010, Jackson also has served many community organizations, including: Gaston United Way, Mount Holly Rotary Club, Mount Holly Community Relief Organization, Mount Holly Black History Committee and others. He was Mount Holly’s Man of the Year in 2016 and is a recipient of both the Martin Luther King, Jr. Unity Award and the Jessie Mae Robinson Humanitarian Award. 

Miles Braswell: Before joining the City of Mount Holly in 2014 as director of the streets & solid waste department, Braswell worked for the City of Charlotte and for Gaston County Schools. He was promoted to assistant city manager in 2016. 

Kevin Krouse: Before being named city manager in Lowell in 2016, Krouse worked three years as planning director in the Town of Cramerton and 11 years as planning director, and one year as assistant city manager, in Bessemer City. In his new role as assistant city manager in Belmont, he will work with City Manager Adrian Miller. 

Scott Attaway: After several years working fulltime as president of his own business S&A Landscaping, Attaway returned to the City of Lowell in 2019 as development services administrator. He previously had worked for the city as planning director.  


2nd Sammy's Neighborhood Pub now open in Dallas

Friday, October 30, 2020

Jim and Caroline Bailey, with Town of Dallas and Chamber leaders, prepare to cut the ribbon at Sammy’s Restaurant & Pub in Dallas just before the grand opening on Oct. 30, 2020. From the left are Montcross Area Chamber Past Board Chair Shannon Thomas of Creative Solutions Special Events, Sammy’s General Manager Graham Benford, Chamber Board Chair Heath Jenkins of the Town of Stanley, owners Caroline and Jim Bailey, Dallas Alderman E. Hoyle Withers, Mayor Pro-Tem Jerry Cearley, Alderwoman Darlene Morrow, Town Manager Maria Stroupe and former Chamber Board Chair Brad Thomas of Creative Solutions Special Events.

The small photo below shows the building before renovations began. 

Owner Jim Bailey turned a vision into reality 

More than 18 months ago, Jim Bailey predicted the restaurant he planned to open in a vacant building he had just acquired in downtown Dallas would “be a success from day one.” 

His vision was realized on Friday, Oct. 30, 2020, when moments after a ribbon was cut to open Sammy’s Neighborhood Pub of Dallas eager customers began flooding through the doors for lunch. A huge grand-opening weekend followed and business has been strong every day since. 

The Montcross Area Chamber of Commerce coordinated the ribbon-cutting ceremony, which was attended by a large crowd of Dallas officials, Chamber members and friends. 

Sammy’s of Dallas is at 130 W. Trade Street in what previously was known as the Setzer Building, which dates to the 1870s. Originally three stories, the top floor was lost to fire, but more than 45,000 square feet remain.  Vacant since 2015, it appeared at one time the building might be demolished, but Bailey was committed to renovating the historic structure. 

The restaurant and bar occupy the front of the first floor, and a large deck has been added at the rear. Offices and a meeting/party room that can accommodate up to 34 are on the second floor. 

The Dallas restaurant is similar to the original Sammy’s Neighborhood Pub, which is owned by Jim’s son John Bailey, in Belmont.  

Sammy’s in Dallas is open seven days a week, 11 a.m. until 10 p.m. Sunday – Thursday and 11 until 11 on Friday and Saturday. For more information, call 704.215.7461.

1870s building made new again at 130 W. Trade St. in downtown Dallas. 


Sunday, October 25, 2020

Rule #2 in the Montcross Area Chamber playbook is “MAKE BUSINESS FUN.” Teresa Rankin inspired the rule, and no one has lived up to it over the past 13 years with more passion and pure delight than Teresa. She embraced making business fun just as completely as she did Rule #1: “PUT MEMBERS FIRST.” 

Reflecting on Teresa’s recent retirement, every member, friend, board member and staff member recognizes what an enormous gift to the Chamber were Teresa’s own 1000-watt smiles and those she ignited among others at every small and large event and every individual encounter. 

So we share with you a small sample of the fun and the smiles Teresa shared with all of us during her service as vice president of the Chamber from 2007 until 2020.

Published on the Chamber Business Update page in the Gaston Gazette on Oct. 25, 2020


#1: Teresa is a natural parade director because she loves putting everyone in his place, even the chief of police. 

#2: Decorating the window for Christmas with her smile in 2009 at the then Chamber office at 32 N. Main Street.

#3: Teresa embraced any idea for promoting Chamber membership. 

#4 and #5: UNC vs NCSU game rivalry in the Chamber office always was a blast.

#6: Teresa faces every situation with a smile, even printer repairs.

#7: She suited up and went to bat to promote the Grizzlies, though her grip needs work. 

#8: She never saw a Santa suit she didn’t want to try on. 

#9 and 10: Nothing made Teresa smile more than a parade with Larry Sprinkle in it. This one was in 2017. 

#11: Dumping ice water on the president’s head in 2014 was a dream come true for Teresa.


Chamber announces leadership changes

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Paul Lowrance named provisional president 

Recent leadership changes at the Montcross Area Chamber of Commerce position the organization to continue its record-setting growth in membership and service to members. 

Chamber Board Chair Heath Jenkins announced the changes, including the recent retirement of Vice President Teresa Rankin. Rankin served in the position for 13 years. 

“Teresa helped shape our Chamber into one of the fastest growing chambers in the region, stated Ted Hall, retired Montcross Area Chamber president. “Her knowledge, enthusiasm and dedication to our members have been invaluable.” 

Chamber leadership promoted Member Services Director Julie Bowen to Vice President of Member Services and Events. Said Jenkins, “Julie is a dedicated and hard-working member of our leadership team who has tremendous insight as to what it takes to continue serving our members and growing our organization.” 

Long-time Chamber member and former Board Chair Paul Lowrance of McKenney Family Dealerships was named Provisional President, temporarily filling the vacancy created by the retirement of Ted Hall on June 30. The search for a permanent president has just begun.  

A third staff position has been created but is not yet filled. Jenkins added, “The Montcross Area Chamber looks forward to the future as we continue to build bridges and tear down walls to bring people together.”

Pinnacle Insurance Partners celebrates grand opening

Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Brittany Haynes is cutting the ribbon between Karla Barber (left) and Jill Leitner, with Belmont Mayor Charlie Martin (left) and City Council member Marc Seelinger. Holding the ribbon are Chamber Board members Carey Roberts (left) of Carey Roberts Design and Julie Roper of Dominion Energy.  

Specializing in property and casualty insurance products

Pinnacle Insurance Partners celebrated their grand opening with tours, refreshments and a Chamber ribbon-cutting ceremony on Oct. 7, 2020. Now located at 203 Glenway Street in Belmont, the business made a short move from its previous offices just a block away in the TechWorks of Gaston County innovation center.

Pinnacle team members Brittany Haynes, Karla Barber and Jill Leitner specialize in personal and commercial lines of property and casualty insurance products.

Brittany Haynes spoke about Pinnacle Insurance services and introduced the team. Belmont Mayor Charlie Martin welcomed the business to Belmont and Montcross Area Chamber Board Chair-elect Gordon Quarles of Blue Harbor Bank welcomed the new Chamber member.

For more information on Pinnacle Insurance, call 704.970.1804, or visit

Chamber, Atrium Health present “Get Ready Gaston” 2020

Thursday, October 1, 2020


Webinar screenshot of “Get Ready Gaston” speakers (L-R from top left) Heath Jenkins, Joe Albright, Melia Lyerly, Dr. John Hauser, Randi Gates, Dr. Catherine Passaretti, Michael Peoples, Donny Hicks and Brandon Bellamy.

All elected officials, candidates, planning professionals invited  

Every elected official in Gaston County and every candidate for office in the November election were the primary audience when the Montcross Area Chamber and Atrium Health presented the fourth-annual “Get Ready Gaston Forum on Preparing for Growth” on Oct. 1, 2020. Others participating included local government managers, planners, economic development professionals and business and community leaders. 

Because of the coronavirus pandemic, the forum this year was presented online. Traditionally, the half-day program has been in an auditorium and included a lunch with keynote speaker. 

The Montcross Area Chamber developed and presented the first “Get Ready Gaston” forum in 2017. Atrium Health has been the sponsor of all four forums. Previous forums focused on factors in and around Charlotte impacting growth in Gaston County. This year was a time for Gaston County self-analysis, serving as a checkup on where the county is and where it needs to improve in meeting the challenges and opportunities that come with growth. 

Topics covered during the forum were: an update on the coronavirus pandemic, economic development in the county, all modes of transportation, water and sewer infrastructure, major projects under way in the City of Gastonia and the role of Gaston College in economic and workforce development and preparing for growth. 

Chamber Board Chair Health Jenkins, Stanley Town Manager, kicked off the forum and presented closing comments. Former Chamber Board Chair Melia Lyerly, COO of Lyerly Agency in Belmont, hosted the program and introduced speakers, including: 

  • Dr. Catherine Passaretti, Atrium Health Medical Director for Infection Prevention.
  • Donny Hicks, Gaston County Economic Development Executive Director.
  • Randi Gates, Senior Planner and Administrator at Gaston-Cleveland-Lincoln Metropolitan Planning Organization.
  • Joe Albright, Director of Public Utilities at Two Rivers Utilities.
  • Michael Peoples, Gastonia City Manger
  • Dr. John Hauser, President of Gaston College


Velocity Companies CEO Brandon Bellamy during his presentation showing an image of how the baseball stadium will look with nearby buildings overlooking the ballpark.

Brandon Bellamy, CEO of Velocity Companies and majority owner of the new Gastonia professional baseball team, was a surprise special guest speaker. He talked about the team, plans for the stadium, which his company will manage, and also plans his company has for economic development involving several buildings adjoining the baseball park in the FUSE District. 

The entire program was recorded and is available online. To request a link to the recording, email Montcross Area Chamber Vice President Julie Bowen at




Kinetix Physiotherapy open in Mount Holly

Thursday, September 24, 2020

Kinetix owner Chris Lewis cuts the ribbon, with Megan Foland (holding baby Beckett) and Dr. Garrett Foland, joined by Mount Holly Mayor Bryan Hough and  City Council member Christina Pawlish. Assistant City Manager Miles Braswell and Economic Development Director Greg Beal are behind Mrs. Pawlish. Holding the ribbon are Chamber Board Chair-elect Gordon Quarles of Blue Harbor Bank and Chamber Board member Paige Kilburn of BB&T Bank. 

Offering physical therapy - sports rehab - personal training

Mount Holly city officials, community leaders, Chamber members and friends helped celebrate the recent grand opening of Kinetix Physiotherapy & Performance in the Mount Holly Municipal Complex at 420 E. Central Avenue. 

Specializing in physical therapy, sports rehabilitation and online and individual personal training, Kinetix occupies a large space that formerly was home to Discover You. 

Chris Lewis is the owner of Kinetix, Dr. Garrett Foland is a physical therapist and Megan Foland is a personal trainer. 

Mount Holly Mayor Bryan Hough welcomed Kinetix to the city, and Chris Lewis spoke about the wide variety of services offered. “Kinetix is not your typical physical therapy office,” he said.  “Our goal is to improve the health, wellness, and performance of the active population in the Montcross Area. Kinetix will bridge the gap between rehabilitation and performance.” 

After the remarks and ribbon cutting, guests toured the facility and enjoyed refreshments. For more information on Kinetix, call 980.277.2770, or visit  

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