News and Updates

Major Chamber awards presented at 57th Celebration

Thursday, February 2, 2017


CHAMBER AWARDS for 2016 - Presented Feb. 2, 2017, at 57th Celebration 

(Photos by Dodie Huffman of Image Gallery Photography)

Business of the Year: The Vintage Nest

Jeff Lee and his wife Tricia founded The Vintage Nest in 2011 in a 650-square-foot space in Mount Holly. Now in it's third location, The Vintage Nest occupies 7,000 square feet and is attracting customers from far and wide to downtown Mount Holly. Painted vintage furniture is the shops specialty, but the inventory includes a large line of other home accessories. The Vintage Nest is making a major contribution to improving customer traffic and building the economy of downtown Mount Holly. In the photo above, Janet Sarn of Park Sterling Bank is presenting the Business of the Year Award to Jeff Lee.)

EPIC Award: Jay Pithwa of Tastebuds Popcorn

Jay Pithwa founded Tastebuds Popcorn five years ago in a small space in downtown Belmont. From the beginning, he envisioned Tastebuds growing to many additional locations, and he has made that vision a reality. Today, there are six Tastebuds locations in North Carolina and Virginia, with more on the drawing board. A large production facility in North Belmont provides popcorn to serve all of the outlets, plus a large number of online customers. The Chamber's EPIC Award is given annually to a Chamber member who exhibits that he or she is Entrepreneurial, Progressive, Innovative and Collaborative. In the photo, Timothy Roberts (right) of Cottage Keepers is presenting the award to Jay Pithwa.

Public Service Award: Gaston EDC Director Donny Hicks

Donny Hicks has devoted his working life, more than 33 years, to serving Gaston County by recruiting new industry and other businesses to bring jobs here and by retaining existing local companies and helping them to expand and create new jobs. He has been responsible for bringing more than $600 million in investment to Gaston County. He has developed and recruited businesses to locate in two major business parks. Twice he has been named North Carolina's top economic development executive. For his deep commitment to serving his home county and his major contributions to economic development, he was named recipient of the Harley B. Gaston, Jr. Public Service Award for 2016. The award is named for the late Harley B. Gaston, Jr. of Belmont, a long-time attorney and judge who was a founder of the Chamber of Commerce. Presenting the Award to Donny Hicks is Shannon Thomas of Creative Solutions Special Events.

Bill Ingram to lead Chamber Board in 2017

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Bill Ingram (right) will lead the Chamber Board of Directors in 2017. Other officers elected are on the back row (from left) Past-Chair Walter Payne of ImageMark Business Services, Secretary Ryan Clarke of Allstate Insurance, Chair-Elect Carey Roberts of Carey Roberts Design, Treasurer Jim Crisp of Clearbrook Advisory Services. New Board members elected for 2017 are on the front row (from left) Robert Larrison of Carolinas HealthCare System, Clif Calvert of McKenney Family Dealerships and Chris Kennedy of Kennedy Business Solutions. Justin Hannon of Hannon Orthodontics also was elected to the Board. In the photo below are Bill Ingram (right) and Walter Payne at the Celebration. 

Major Chamber awards also were presented at celebration

(All Photos by Dodie Huffman of Image Gallery Photography)

A sellout crowd of more than 260 members and friends registered to attend the 57th Celebration and Annual Meeting of the Montcross Area Chamber of Commerce in the Grand Hall of the Mount Holly Municipal Complex on February 2. CaroMont Health was the presenting sponsor for the celebration, which included a reception, silent auction, award presentations, dinner and program. 

Officers and Board members were elected, and Bill Ingram, market president at Wells Fargo Bank in Gaston County, accepted the gavel as Board chair for the next year. Walter Payne, CEO of ImageMark Business Services received an appreciation plaque as the outgoing Board chair and will remain an officer as Board past-chair. Carey Roberts of Carey Roberts Design was named Board chair-elect, Ryan Clarke of Allstate Insurance became Board secretary, and Jim Crisp of Clearbrook Advisory Services was re-elected to a second term as treasurer. 

Four new members were elected to Board seats. They are Robert Larrison of Carolinas HealthCare System, Chris Kennedy of Kennedy Business Solutions, Clif Calvert of McKenney Family Dealerships and Justin Hannon of Hannon Orthodontics. 

Three major awards were presented. The Vintage Next of Mount Holly received the Business of the Year Award, which was accepted by owner Jeff Lee and presented by Janet Sarn for sponsor Park Sterling Bank. Jay Pithwa of Tastebuds Popcorn in Belmont received the EPIC Award for entrepreneurship, presented by sponsor Timothy Roberts of Cottage Keepers. Gaston County Economic Development Commission Executive Director Donny Hicks received the Harley B. Gaston, Jr. Public Service Award for more than 30 years of recruiting businesses to create jobs in Gaston County.


Smith Chiropractic & Nutrition open in Belmont

Friday, January 27, 2017

Dr. Llana Smith backed up by her husband Terry and staff member Lauren cut a ribbon celebrating opening of her new practiec in Belmont. Chamber members filled the hallway outside her office for the ceremony. Holding the ribbon are Elaine Dimeo of George Stowe Insurance (left) and Chamber Board member Dr. Rachael Wruble.

A historic downtown Belmont building has become the new home for Smith Chiropractic & Nutrition. Dr. Llana Call Smith relocated her practice from Matthews recently and celebrated on Jan. 27, 2017 with a Chamber ribbon-cutting and open house. 

Dr. Smith is a Clinical Master in Nutrition Response Testing and is one of only a handful of practitioners in North Carolina to have achieved this level of training. Nutrition Response Testing is a non-invasive technique that allows analyzing of the body to help patients regain good health naturally.

She opened her first office in Illinois in 2005 and practiced there 10 years until moving to North Carolina.

Dr. Smith chose to locate her Belmont office on the second floor, Suite 207, of the former Bank of Belmont Building at 32 North Main Street, where Wells Fargo Bank now is the largest tenant. Built in 1927, the building is noted for its beautiful architecture, marble entrance and its classic elevator complete with a wooden door and sliding metal grate.

For more on Smith Chiropractic & Nutrition, call 704.817.4745, or visit



2017 Chamber Member Directory Coming Soon

Sunday, January 22, 2017

To be published in The Gaston Gazette in February

The Montcross Area Chamber’s 2017 Member Directory will be published in the Gaston Gazette in early February. All Chamber members will have contact information listed free in the directory, which will be delivered to all Gazette readers and serve as a buyer resource throughout the next 12 months. 

In the photo is the cover of the 2016 Member Directory.

“Our annual Member Directory, published in partnership with the Gaston Gazette, is a major benefit to our 500-plus members,” said MACC President Ted Hall. “Many readers will keep the handy reference guide throughout the year and use it to locate businesses and organizations providing the products and services they need.” 

Display advertising space also is available in the directory. Gaston Gazette advertising representatives are available to assist businesses and organizations interested in buy ads in the publication. For rates and other information, call your Gazette advertising representative, or Natasha Alexander at (704) 869-3305, or



Wisteria Fine Florals and Exquisite Events

Thursday, January 12, 2017

 In the photo, from left, are Miles and Erin Braswell, partners in Babka Brothers Bread Company, whose products will be sold at Wisteria, Arin Weatherford, Wisteria Director Stephanie McMahan, Carmen and Brian Powers and Luke Manlove. In the photo below, a glimpse of two of the many beautiful displays inside Wisteria.

Wisteria is flagship project of REVIVAL Development & Design

Chamber members and friends were treated to a special preview of a unique new business opening next month in downtown Belmont, when Wisteria Fine Florals and Exquisite Events opened for the evening to host "Network After Work." The reception drew a big response from folks curious to learn what owners Luke Manlove and Carmen Powers have planned for the shop located in the heart of Belmont at 7 N. Main Street.

Wisteria is the flagship project of Manlove and Powers' REVIVAL Development & Design, also located in downtown Belmont. They describe REVIVAL as a company committed to creating, and helping other create, unique and exciting businesses that add character and meet consumer needs, first in Belmont and later in other communities.

Still weeks from its grand opening, guests at Wisteria's preview got a glimpse of the beauty and style Luke and Carmen have planned for the business that will help clients create special events and introduce them to new products coming into the marketplace. They introduced Stephanie McMahan, who will be the director at Wisteria.  

"Network After Work" is the Chamber's most popular regular event, providing members and friends an opportunity to make business contacts while enjoying refreshments and learning about the products and services offered by the host business or organization. Find out about future events on the Chamber Calendar at

To learn more about Wisteria, call REVIVAL at 704.461.8511. 

See more photos on Facebook 

Guests listen as Luke Manlove shares his vision for Wisteria and other REVIVAL projects.   

Blowe Family Dentistry opens Belmont office

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Drs. Jonathan and Abby Blowe, holding children Jennings and Juliette, cut a ribbon formally opening the Belmont office of Blowe Family Dentistry. With them are family and staff members and Belmont Mayor Charlie Martin along with Chamber representatives. Holding the ribbon are Belmont City Council member Martha Stowe (left) and Montcross Area Chamber Board member Geanina Neal of CommunityOne Bank in Mount Holly. In the photo below, Dr. Jonathan Blowe and members of his Belmont office team. 

Chamber ribbon-cutting celebrates opening of the new practice

Drs.Jonathan and Abby Blowe celebrated the opening in Belmont of a second Blowe Family Dentistry office with staff, family, friends and Chamber members on Jan. 5, 2017. Dr. Jonathan Blowe will practice in the Belmont office at 1030 McKee Farm Lane, off South Point Road near South Point High School. Dr. Abby Blowe opened the first Blowe Family Dental practice in Mount Holly in 2012. A Chamber ribbon-cutting ceremony marked the formal opening of the Belmont office in a beautiful new building just across from the Belmont Town Center project where a Harris Teeter supermarket and other commercial buildings are under construction. The office opened to patients on January 2. Chamber members and friends eager to welcome the new dental practice and the Blowe family to Belmont, enjoyed refreshments, tours and networking. Truly a "family practice," the lobby features photos of the Blowes' children, Jennings and Juliette, as infants posed atop large models of teeth. For more information on Blowe Family Dentistry, call 704.829.3700, or visit    

See more photos on Facebook

Tug Deason Gym dedicated in Stanley's Harper Park

Thursday, December 29, 2016

 Tug Deason and Mayor Andrew Quinley cut ribbon at dedication with members of Stanley Town Council. Below, Tug Deason with a framed copy of the proclamation. (Photos by Bill Ward photography)

Town pays tribute to an extraordinary public servant

When the Town of Stanley needed a new park a few years ago, it was Recreation Director Tug Deason who stepped up and led the charge to raise more than a million dollars through grants, donations and fund-raisers. The beautiful Harper Park, named for major donors Ron and Katherine Harper paid for without a dime of taxpayer funds, stands today as the result of that effort.

After the park opened with its ballfields, playground, picnic shelter and more, it was evident that the missing piece was a gymnasium to replace the town's aging Kiser Center facility. Once again, Tug Deason took charge. This time, he needed to come up with a half-million dollars.

After many more fund-raisers and grants and creative financing by the Town Council, the town's children took shovels in hand and broke ground for their gym on Jan. 16, 2016. Today, just before year-end, some of those same children were playing basketball in their gym just minutes after a dedication ceremony at which the facility was named in honor of Tug Deason.

Town, county and state officials joined a large number of local citizens at the dedication ceremony and for a ribbon-cutting coordinated by the Montcross Area Chamber. Mayor Andrew Quinley read a proclamation adopted by the Town Council officially declaring the name of the building to be the Tug Deason Gym. 

Tug Deason's infant grandson was among those witnessing the dedication. He and many future generations of Stanley's children will make memories that will last a lifetime in the Tug Deason Gym. A town can pay no greater tribute to an extraordinary recreation director, citizen and public servant.


 Stanley residents braved cold wind to witness dedication of Tug Deason Gym.

Events Calendar

List All Events
Add an Event

Subscribe To Our Email List

Belmont Christmas Parade
Parker Construction (start date 4.12.17)
network after work
2017 Member Directory
belmont NC
Buy Local
Member to Member Discounts