News and Updates

Tex-Mex Back Road Grill celebrates 1st anniversary

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Owners Raquel Cruz and Luis Romero cut ribbon with family members, staff members, customers and Chamber members. Holding the ribbon are Chamber Board member Robert Larrison of Carolinas HealthCare System and Chamber Board Chair-elect Shannon Thomas of Creative Solutions Special Events. 

Chamber ribbon cutting with great food and giveaways

Owners Raquel Cruz and Luis Romero made sure their customers, Chamber members and other guests were well fed as the Tex-Mex Back Road Grill celebrated its first anniversary on May 31, 2018. Food and giveaways were provided under tents in the parking lot. The address is 5316 Union Road in Gastonia. The restaurant is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner and also provides catering. For more information, call 704.890.9102.

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Signature Wellness Grand Opening in Belmont

Thursday, May 31, 2018


Dr. Deborah Matthew cut the ribbon with members of her staff. Holding the ribbon, are Chamber Board member Wil Neumann, left, of Gaston Capital Partners and former Chamber Board Chair Bryan Dalton of 321 Equipment Company.

Office in Sterling Professional Park on Park Street

Signature Wellness celebrated its grand opening at 1105 Spruce Street, Suite 102, in Belmont on May 31,2018. A Chamber ribbon-cutting ceremony was part of the festivities. Signature Wellness practices functional medicine, using a patient-centered approach to wellness. In addition to considering the overall health of the patient, functional medicine practitioners consider beliefs, attitudes and motivations as well as the physical, mental and emotional aspects of the patient. For more on Signature Wellness, call 704.752.9346, or visit

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Roads in Gaston County topic at Business Buzz breakfast

Thursday, May 31, 2018


This slide is from Randi Gates' presentation on Roads. See below to download the entire presentation. In the photo below, Randi Gates (front, left) and former Chamber Board Chair Melia Lyerly of Lyerly Agency, with (from left) Michael Carpenter of TPP Vending, and Chamber Board members Wil Neumann of Gaston Capital Partners and Robert Aldrich of Aldrich CFO Services.

Top regional transportation planner Randi Gates presents program 

Roads and traffic were top of mind when Montcross Area Chamber members and friends heard from the region’s leading transportation planner at a Business Buzz breakfast program on May 31, 2018. The program at the Kimbrell Campus of Gaston College in Belmont was sponsored by CaroMont Health. 

Randi Gates, principal transportation planner with the Gaston-Cleveland-Lincoln Metropolitan Planning Organization (MPO) shared information on highway projects, some of which already are under way, and others that are years, or even decades, in the future. Here are a few highlights: 

  • I-85/US 321 interchange improvements in Gastonia: Under construction … Completion Nov. 2019 … $22.8 million. 
  • NC 273 widening to 4 divided lanes in Mount Holly: Under construction … Completion 2020 … $19.5 million. 
  • I-85 widening to 8 lanes, exits 17 to 27, replacing 10 bridges: Construction 2021 … Completion 2024 … $257.5 million. 
  • US 74 Catawba River Bridge replacement and Wilkinson Blvd. improvements to NC 7: Construction 2022 … Completion and cost not yet available. 
  • US 74 intersection improvements at NC 273: Right of way and utilities 2020 … Construction 2021 … $700,000. 
  • NC 279 widening to 4 lanes, Titman Rd. to Union-New Hope: Construction 2021 … Completion 2023 … $57.6 million. 

More detail about these and many more highway, pedestrian and bikeway projects in Gaston County are available at this site: 

The group learned the long discussed highway and bridges project, now called Catawba Crossings, connecting southern Gaston County to Mecklenburg near the Charlotte Airport is years in the future. Feasibility studies and other planning completed when the project was proposed as a toll road will have to be repeated. There are no estimates on when the project might be revived.

Download the slide presentation in pdf format.


Principal Transportation Planner Randi Gates addressing Chamber members and friends at Business Buzz breakfast.



Belmont celebrates Improvements at Stowe Park

Friday, May 25, 2018


Mayor Charlie Martin speaking at celebration of new playground and other improvements at Stowe Park in Belmont.  

$75,000 state grant helped make the project possible

City of Belmont leaders, staff members and residents celebrated major improvements to Stowe Park with a ceremony and Chamber ribbon cutting. The project, which cost more than $127,000, was paid for in part by a state grant for $75,000. N.C. Rep. Dana Bumgardner, who spoke at the ceremony, received thanks from city officials for his assistance on the grant. Mayor Charlie Martin and City Manager Adrian Miller also thanked the city's public works department staff for doing much of the labor on the project. Improvements include new playground equipment, plus rubber mulch and border, improvements in drainage for the park and a major upgrade of the park's fountain and lighting system. The project included demolition of a large gazebo that will be replaced later by an amphitheater.

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Taking better photos, even with your phone,

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

 Image Source photographer Dodie Huffman during her presentation at Lunch & Learn.

When Chamber members and friends gathered for the May Lunch & Learn program, the subject was "how to take better photos, event with a phone or point-and-shoot camera." Photographer Dodie Huffman of Image Source and Allure Wedding Photography in Belmont was the speaker. Using examples, she demonstrated how to use light to your advantage, how to better frame subjects and covered many other tips to help amateur photographers improve their photos. The Chamber Lunch & Learn program will be on break over the summer and resume in the fall. Watch Chamber emails and the events calendar at for updates.

Holy Angels hosts Network After Work

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Holy Angels representatives in front of the giant gumball machine at the Cotton Candy Factory. From the left, are Dennis Kuhn, Sherry Collins, Sr. Nancy Nance, Shannon Childress, Sarah, Erin Johnson, Laurie Lewis and Chamber President Ted Hall. On the second row, are Erin Shepard, Patty Manger, Anne Bogen and Ben Dungan.

Businesses provide residents vocational opportunities

All three Holy Angels businesses on Main Street in Belmont were open to Chamber members and friends during Network After Work on Thursday, May 10, 2018. A threatening storm forced the event indoors after tents and tables already were in place on the Cherubs event lawn beside to the Cotton Candy Factory. But the last-minute change had no impact on the fun, fellowship and great food at the event.

Cherubs Cafe has been open more than 20 years, and the Cotton Candy Factory opened in 2017. Bliss Gallery is the newest of the three. The mission of Bliss Gallery is to offer persons with intellectual developmental disabilities the opportunity to enhance their vocational skills, develop their creative abilities and showcase their art alongside the works of local artists.

All three enterprises, plus the Cramerton Market and Cherubs Candy Bouquets in Cramerton, are operated to provide vocational opportunities for Holy Angels residents.

Network After Work receptions are scheduled at least once each month at a member location. They are free to attend, and non-members interested in the Chamber or in the host business or organization are welcome. Check the Chamber events calendar for for the date and location of the next Network After Work.


Belmont Business Builders

Thursday, May 10, 2018


Chapter President Phil Champion leads the cheer after cutting a ribbon at the launch for a new BNI chapter in Belmont.

New BNI referral group formed in Belmont

The Belmont Business Builders chapter of the world-wide Business Networking International (BNI) organization launched on Thursday, May 10, 2018 at Rivermen Brewing in Belmont. BNI chapters are closed referral groups, with one representative member from each business category. Phil Champion of State Farm Insurance in Belmont is the chapter president. The local chapter formed with more than 25 members, and a crowd of more than 80 attending the launch meeting and Chamber ribbon cutting ceremony. The Belmont group will meet weekly on Thursdays at 8 a.m. BNI has about 3,500 chapters around the world. For more information call (704) 461-8944.

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