News and Updates

Elements of Empowerment organization debuts in Belmont

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Belmont Mayor Pro Tem Martha Stowe and City Manager Adrian Miller are presenting the check to Elements of Empowerment Board Chair Delta Sanders and Vice Chair Vince Hill. At left are group treasurer Lakisha Spears and secretary David Neeley. And at right is Hampton Inn-Belmont Sales Director Stephanie Prysiazniuk.

On the last day of Black History Month, a new non-profit organization that originated around a festival celebrating the end of slavery in America debuted by hosting a Montcross Area Chamber of Commerce “Network After Work” reception with the Hampton Inn in Belmont.

Elements of Empowerment started as a small group of volunteers working to coordinate the Juneteenth celebration in Belmont’s Stowe Park. Now with its non-profit status secured, the group was ready on Feb. 28, 2017, to celebrate, and many Chamber members and friends were eager to take part.

During the event, the new non-profit received a $2,300 check from the City of Belmont to reimburse some of the expenses for coordinating the next Juneteenth celebration on June 17.

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2017 Chamber Member Directory published today

Friday, February 24, 2017

Copies mailed or delivered to all Chamber members

Click to read the directory online

All members of the Montcross Area Chamber had their business contact information delivered today to the homes and offices of more than 23,000 subscribers to The Gaston Gazette. The Chamber's 2017 Member Directory, a 48-page, full-color publication, was produced and printed by the Gazette and published as part of today's issue of the newspaper.

Information about more than 530 Chamber members is organized by business category to make it easily accessible to consumers, who will use it throughout the year to find Chamber members providing needed products and services. 

The directory also includes a review of recent Chamber activities and accomplishments, a look ahead to 2017 and articles and photos on recent Chamber award recipients.

A copy of the directory has been mailed, or personally delivered, to every member of the Chamber. Copies also are available at the Chamber office in the Stowe Building at 100 N. Main St., Belmont.

The directory soon will be available on the Chamber website. 

Belmont Hearing Center celebrates Grand Opening

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Edward Grubbs cuts the ribbon with his wife Diane and grandson Edward to his right and his son Brandon and granddaughter Jessalyn to his left. Also on the front row, from left are Chamber Board member Melia Lyerly of Lyerly Agency, Chamber Board Chair Bill Ingram and Chamber Board member Chris Kennedy of Kennedy Business Solutions. 

Edward Grubbs, surrounded by family members and Chamber members, cut a ribbon on Thursday, Feb. 23, 2017, to symbolize the opening of Belmont Hearing Center in downtown Belmont. The Center is located in Suite 123 of the Stowe Building at 100 N. Main Street.

Chamber members and friends welcomed Belmont Hearing and enjoyed refreshments during a reception in the Stowe Building lobby. They also had an opportunity to visit the center and learn about the hearing testing and other services available there.  

Before he became a hearing aid specialist, Edward Grubbs was a patient, who was diagnosed with profound hearing loss at age 36. Hearing aids changed his life, and now he is in business at Belmont Hearing Center helping change the lives of others who are experiencing hearing loss. 

Edward has been in the hearing aid profession for 15 years and has owned his own practice since 2007. He relocated from Florida to Belmont last year to be near children and grandchildren.

At Belmont Hearing Center, services include hearing evaluations, ear canal examinations through video otoscopy, hearing aid fittings, follow up service, ear molds, wireless technology and tinnitus treatment. 

For more information, visit, or call 704.860.7795.

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Chic Boutique and Graphic Hound Studios host Chamber

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Heather and David Pierce are at right on the front row, with (at left) Chamber Board member Melia Lyerly of Lyerly Agency. On the back row, from (from left) are Chamber Board members Jeff Lee of The Vintage Nest, Jim Crisp of Clearbrook Advisory Services and Brad Rivers of Gaston College. (Photo by John Jacob.)

Chamber members and friends learned about two businesses while, making new business contacts and enjoying great food and beverages on Thursday, Feb. 9, 2017, when Chic Boutique and Graphic Hound Studios at 128 E. Central Ave., Mount Holly, hosted "Network After Work." Food for the reception was provided by H&M Catering of Mount Holly.

Heather and David Pierce own Chic Boutique, a clothing consignment shop for the full-figured female. At Graphic Hound Studios in the same building, David specializes in graphics and design, displaying his work on t-shits, car tags, signs banners and a wide variety of other applications. He does custom illustrations and design, logos, digital color separations, screen printing and embroidery, business cards, brochures, vinyl graphics, stickers and more. 

Heather says Chic Boutique offers gently used and new clothing starting at size 14 W and accessories are in stock. Shoes start at size 8. Aside from the large selection of clothing, from t-shirts to formals, the shop carries name brand purses, wallets, evening bags, scarves, jewelry, hats & handkerchiefs.and much more.

For more information on Chic Boutique, call 704.820.8635 or visit For more on Graphic Hound Studios, call David at 704.820.8429. 




Adam Lee's State Farm Agency Open House

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

Adam Lee and his wife Kristi, with their daughters Aubrey, Makenna and Brooke, cut a ribbon at the celebration of Adam's new State Farm office in Mount Holly. Also on the front row are agency team members (from left) Robert Nichols, Tony Merida and Davis Crawford. Holding the ribbon are Mount Holly Mayor Bryan Hough (right) and City Manager Danny Jackson. 

Chamber members and friends and Mount Holly city officials joined clients and family members to celebrate the opening of Adam Lee's new State Farm Agency at 247 W. Catawba Avenue in Mount Holly. A Chamber ribbon-cutting ceremony kicked off an open house featuring tours and refreshments and opportunities to meet the State Farm team and learn more about the business. Mount Holly Mayor Bryan Hough participated in the ribbon-cutting and welcomed the new business to Mount Holly.

The agency offers a wide variety of products and services including auto, home, property, business, life and health insurance. Adam Lee has been a State Farm agent since 2008 and opened his office in Mount Holly in November. For more information, call 980.277.2700, or visit

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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.


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