Wednesday, September 9, 2020
First-place winner: Chick-fil-A Belmont, with Tommy Belcher, Jr., Lee Dorn, Tony Gilbert and Benny Bowles.
Belmont Chick-fil-A team always finishes near top
The Chick-fil-A Belmont team has finished in the top three at the Montcross Area Chamber Golf Tournament for eight consecutive years, which is every year the team has played. They didn’t disappoint in 2020, taking first-place honors for the second time in the past three years.
The team of Tony Gilbert, Tommy Belcher, Jr., Lee Dorn and Benny Bowles came in three strokes better than the second-place winners Hillbilly’s BBQ & Steaks, and four strokes ahead of the Mellow Vapes team, which finished third.
CaroMont Health was the presenting sponsor of the tournament played at the Cramer Mountain Club course. The tournament was postponed from its usual June date until September because of the coronavirus conditions in spring. Hand washing and hand sanitizing stations were provided for the tournament by Creative Solutions Special Events, and Cramer Mountain Club installed plastic divider screens in carts to protect players.
Others taking honors at the tournament were: closest to pin winners Craig Kinlaw, NK Hargis and David Buffie. Andrea Sipka won the longest drive competition for women, and Connor McNeely won for men.
The tournament is a major source of financial support for the Chamber, helping make it possible to keep membership rates affordable for small businesses. Chamber officials thank all of the team and event sponsors, donors and volunteers who contributed to making the 2020 tournament another great success.
Second-place winner (left): Hillbilly’s BBQ & Steaks, with Rick Shields, Chad Carpenter, Ray McKenney and Gerald Duncan. Third-place winners (right): Mellow Vapes, with Craig Kinlaw, Wayne Kinley, Kevin Collier and Bryan Hough.
Tuesday, September 8, 2020
Michelle Dorosiewicz and Cohen Adkins are the paddle boarders in this year’s cover photo made on the Catawba River at Riverside Marina in Belmont. They’re accompanied by kayakers (from left) Mary Cannon Frye, Collin Frye, Anderson Gibbons, Claudia Frye and Michael Brunnemer. (Biz Well Corp. photo by Debbie Cole)
Free copies available next 12 months
Water activities are natural themes for promoting communities located between two rivers, and the Montcross Area Chamber went back to the water for the cover of its 2020-21 visitor and newcomer welcome magazine. In it’s 13th year, this is the first cover to feature paddle boarding.
Riverside Marina in Belmont, just visible in the background of the photo above, was the launch point for these Catawba River paddle boarders and kayakers on a gorgeous summer afternoon. The 10-acre marina at 1500 River Drive offers paddle boards, kayaks, canoes and pontoon boat rentals in addition to covered and uncovered boat slips and dry storage. The venue also is available for event rentals offering an outdoor kitchen, grills, bar and seating. More info on Riverside Marina at 704.813.4591, or www.riversidemarinanc.com.
Since 2008, the Chamber has published the magazine annually featuring all six cities and towns of the Montcross area in eastern Gaston County. Articles and information highlight the municipalities and also provide useful information for visitors and newcomers about all of Gaston County. Area attractions also are featured in the publication, along with a directory providing contact information for all members of the Montcross Area Chamber.
Chamber member Biz Well Corp. is the publisher, and Biz Well owner Debbie Cole is the designer and photographer. Biz Well has published all 13 editions of the magazine.
Copies of the magazine are free and will be available throughout the next 12 months. Magazines will be distributed to advertisers this week and to town halls and other locations as they re-open after COVID-19 closures.
Wednesday, August 12, 2020
Owners Jimmy Chapman and Kristy Rose celebrate after cutting the ribbon to open Twisted Sugar in downtown Belmont.
Belmont Twisted Sugar may be first of multiple locations
The new Twisted Sugar gourmet cookie and sodas franchise is unique on Main Street in Belmont, where most other businesses are independently owned and operated shops and restaurants.
But customers already are discovering the taste of the change is sweet. Twisted Sugar specializes in a wide variety of fresh-baked cookies loaded with icing and toppings and also serves custom sodas with flavors added.
Twisted Sugar is a small chain founded in 2015 and now with 6 stores in Utah and Arizona. Jimmy Chapman, who owns a fabrication business in Cherryville, and his fiancé Kristy Rose brought Twisted Sugar to the East Coast, with Belmont as the first of what they hope will grow to 10 locations in western North Carolina.
They celebrated the grand opening with a Chamber ribbon-cutting ceremony on Aug. 12, 2020.
In addition to the retail shop, they plan to offer mobile ordering and curbside pickup as well as catering for weddings and other special events. Open 7 a.m. until 9 p.m. daily. More information available on Facebook at: www.facebook.com/NCtwistedsugar, or at 704.829.3939.
Saturday, August 8, 2020
Owner Shannon Gouch prepares to cut the ribbon surrounded by family members and members of the BELLE team.
Shop in store or online at www.shopthebelle.com
A McAdenville boutique that originated with a mother telling her teen daughter about her dreams of opening a shop has now grown to a second location with the opening of BELLE in Belmont. Shannon Gouch is the mom in the story and the founder of BELLE, which means “beauty.”
The McAdenville BELLE at 109 Main Street has been a big success since opening just over two years ago. The Belmont BELLE opened with a Chamber ribbon-cutting on Aug. 8, 2020.
A passage from Proverbs 31:15 also is part of the inspiration. Shannon thinks women want to look their best, all the while believing they are “clothed in strength and dignity.”
The Belmont BELLE will be much like the McAdenville shop, offering stylish, modest and trendy clothes for women along with handbags, jewelry, shoes and other items.
In addition to a Main Street retail presence, BELLE offers a large e-commerce selection at www.shopthebelle.com. BELLE is open Tuesday through Saturday 10-4 in McAdenville and 10-5 in Belmont. More information online or at 704.266.0857.
Thursday, July 9, 2020
Making appointments and taking walk-ins now
The newest CaroMont Health Urgent Care opened for patients on Tuesday, July 14, at 8 a.m. in Belmont at 1223 Spruce Street, which is just off Highway 273 South (Park Street). The completely updated 4,950-square-foot facility has eight exam rooms, plus lab and X-ray rooms. CaroMont Health officials celebrated completion of the practice with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Thursday morning, July 9. Cutting the ribbon is Belmont Mayor Charlie Martin. Others (from left) are: CaroMont Health Vice President of Operations Ryan Campbell, Executive Vice President Dr. Costa Andreou, former Montcross Area Chamber President Ted Hall, Chamber Director of Member Services Julie Bowen, CaroMont Administrative Resident Tommy Roache and Director of Urgent Care Services Jared Dyson. Hours are 8 a.m. until 8 p.m., seven days a week. Appointments are being taken now online at www.caromonthealth.org/checkin.
Tuesday, June 30, 2020
The Montcross Area Chamber team posed with Hall in the Chamber office before the parade. They are (from left) Interim President Teresa Rankin, Chief Volunteer Elizabeth Atterberry, Member Services Director Julie Bowen and former Member Services Director Andrea Schrift. (John Jacob photo) Below, Teresa and Liz wave and ring bells as the parade passes. (GarlandBurks Marketing photo)
At 5 p.m. on June 30, 2020, a retiring Ted Hall left his office for the last time as president of the Montcross Area Chamber of Commerce and walked right into a surprise parade organized in his honor.
City of Belmont Police Department vehicles and a city fire truck escorted him through downtown, sirens screaming, with socially-distanced Chamber members and friends lining Main Street and waving signs and ringing bells in appreciation for his 15 years of service.
Chamber colleagues Teresa Rankin, who now is the interim president, Member Services Director Julie Bowen and Chief Volunteer Officer Elizabeth Atterberry pulled off the surprise parade as an alternative to a large indoor gathering because of COVID-19 restrictions.
Hall accepted the Chamber post on a part-time basis in 2005, planning also to continuing operating his management recruiting business. But the Chamber became his full-time passion and membership began to grow rapidly. Over the 15 years, MACC membership increased from 84 to 544 members, with members throughout Gaston County and western Mecklenburg County.
Of the parade, Hall said, “It was the honor of a lifetime to have so many Chamber friends stand on the street in the hot summer sun just to say thank you and wish me well in retirement. I will never forget that short ride, all of those masked faces with what I know were huge smiles underneath, and the waves and cheers and good wishes. An incredible end to what truly has been an incredible journey.”
Hall plans to continue helping out as a Chamber volunteer, especially during preparations for relocating Chamber office this month from the Stowe Building across Main Street to the Belmont City Hall building.
Leaving work at the Chamber on his last day as president, Hall responds to the crowd.
Hall family gathered in front of their business Belmont Realty. From left John Cottingham, Chase Chriscoe and Mollie Lund, Richard Atkinson, Allison Cottingham, Sybil Atkinson, Jeremy Hall and Eddie Serrano. (Wil Neumann photos)
Sunday, June 28, 2020
Making connections was on my mind in early 2005, when my wife Freda and I were thinking of moving to Belmont to be closer to our daughter and grandson.
I learned the value of connections as a rookie reporter in the early 1970s at the Morganton News Herald. Later, as editor and publisher at The Shelby Star, connections became even more important.
It was being in business for myself after leaving the newspaper field when I discovered connections often made the difference between survival and failure in the business world, and I had made many of those connections through my association with the Cleveland County Chamber of Commerce.
So, as we began learning about Belmont, I started looking for the Belmont Chamber, because that’s where I knew I could make connections quickly in a new community.
After a little searching, I found the Chamber and almost instantly connected with a small circle of dedicated Chamber officers who began connecting me to a rapidly growing group of equally enthusiastic community leaders.
Soon I began what would be the capstone to my 48-year career, and making connections for the Belmont (four years later to become Montcross Area) Chamber of Commerce became a full-time passion. Those connections grew from a handful to the 84 members of the Chamber in spring of 2005, to 169 by the end of that year, to 544 members today, and to thousands of individuals connected to those members, plus thousands of other friends of the Chamber and local, state and national leaders.
As I began to venture beyond Belmont to Cramerton, Lowell, McAdenville, Mount Holly and Stanley, it became clear to me that more needed to be done than just working to connect people and businesses. Our cities and towns weren’t talking with each other. Ancient grudges over forgotten incidents still were being harbored. If eastern Gaston County was going to withstand the influx of new residents stemming from Charlotte’s explosive growth, our communities had to be better connected so they could communicate, collaborate more and cooperate to solve their mutual challenges and seize their opportunities.
That’s when the Montcross Area Chamber found its mission. It wasn’t to have the most members, the fanciest offices, the fattest bank account. It was to be a champion for BUILDING BRIDGES; the kind of bridges that connect people, businesses and communities and enable them to trust each other, partner on projects, share ideas and succeed together.
We changed the Chamber logo to include the names of all six cities and towns in the Riverbend and South Point townships. We developed an annual visitor and newcomer welcome guide featuring all six towns on every cover and information on all of them inside. We created advisory director seats on the Chamber Board for the mayor or manager of all six municipalities, and scheduled time at every Board meeting to hear about the accomplishments and issues in every community. We scheduled periodic breakfast meetings where the mayors and managers held roundtable discussions, often identifying new ways they could work together to obtain better outcomes for their citizens.
It wasn’t long before the fences and defenses separating our communities began breaking down, and a new spirit of cooperation began to grow. The benefits of that we see every day in the tremendous vitality of all of our Montcross area communities today, even in the way they are supporting each other in the health and economic battle against the COVID-19 pandemic.
As I prepare to retire on June 30 for the sake of my health and love for my family, officially concluding this amazing chapter of my working life, it’s the bridges we’ve helped build and the fences we’ve helped break down that will mean the most to me and that I always will consider the greatest contribution of the Montcross Area Chamber of Commerce during the past 15 years.
Thank you to every Chamber member, former member, officer, Board member, volunteer, staff member, advisor and friend of the Chamber with whom I’ve had the honor of taking this incredible journey.
I’ve avoided mentioning names because I couldn’t list the thousands who should be recognized, but I cannot fail to thank Teresa Rankin and Elizabeth Atterberry.
Teresa has carried the VP title for the 13 years we have been teammates in this venture. And I’ve always known it is her love for Chamber work, her strength of character, her caring for people and her ability to see clearly the obvious solution to the thorniest of problems that has formed the bedrock of our organization.
And to Liz, who became my friend and greatest Chamber volunteer on my first day in Belmont in 2005, and has worked shoulder to shoulder with the Chamber staff on every major project and just about every event for all these years, we could not have done it without you.
I look forward now to becoming a loyal member of the Montcross Area Chamber volunteer team and helping build a few more bridges.
2005 - 2020