News and Updates

Get Ready Gaston 2019

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

In the small photo below are: Charlotte Regional Business Alliance CEO Janet LaBar, left, with Belmont Abbey College President William Thierfelder, Atrium Health Director of Community Engagement and Corporate Responsibility Emily Wilson, and Atrium Health Vice President of Carolinas Rehabilitation Mount Holly Peter Cassidy.

Gaston elected officials meet on preparing for growth 

More than 100 elected officials, economic development professionals and business and community leaders attended the third annual Get Ready Gaston Forum on Preparing for Growth at Belmont Abbey College on Wednesday, Aug. 14, 2019. Candidates for elective office also were invited.

The forum is a public service project coordinated by the Montcross Area Chamber of Commerce in partnership with sponsor Atrium Health. The objective is to help Gaston County leaders prepare for projected rapid growth here stemming from Charlotte’s development to the west.

The first Get Ready Gaston in 2017 focused on learning from counties such as York and Union, how they have been impacted in recent years by Charlotte’s growth. The 2018 forum focused on learning about developments in Charlotte that will impact Gaston County. Topics included expansion plans for Charlotte Douglas International Airport, the River District project, community health issues and the potential for bringing light rail beyond the airport into Gaston County.

Light rail, the plans for which now include Gaston County, was a major topic on the agenda for Get Ready Gaston 2019. Charlotte Area Transit CEO John Lewis and CATS Senior Transportation Planner Jason Lawrence were the presenters. “Integrated Development: How the Next Generation of Workers is Impacting Economic Development” was addressed by Kathleen Rose, CEO of Rose & Associates SE. Pamela Atwood of the NC Housing Coalition spoke on “Workforce Housing: Preserving Diverse Communities Amid Rising Home Prices.”

Three presenters associated with TechWorks of Gaston County presented on “Developing An Entrepreneur Ecosystem.” They included TechWorks Executive Director Terry Cox, Alan Fitzpatrick, CEO of Open Broadband, which started at TechWorks and is connecting underserved communities with high-speed wireless internet service, and John Robinson, CEO of Wellzesta, a Belmont-based wellness software company helping senior citizens across the country maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Janet LaBar, president and CEO of the Charlotte Regional Business Alliance, was the speaker at a luncheon concluding the forum, which took place in the Haid Theater and Ballroom at Belmont Abbey College.

 From left, John Robinson, Alan Fitzpatrick and Terry Cox during their presentation at “Get Ready Gaston.”

Sellstate Premier opens real-estate office in Belmont

Friday, July 12, 2019

Owner Angelia Black cut the ribbon, with help from Broker in Charge of the Belmont office Sheryl Haigh. On the front row, from left, are Mary Carol Wright, Angela Anderson, Jason Morton, Evan and Samantha Black, Angela Preschel, Jan DePriest, Jodi Scates and Jim Hope. Holding the ribbon are Connie Gatlin of Gatlin Graphics and Adam Lee of Adam Lee State Farm in Mount Holly. Sellstate agents in the second row include Matt and Stacy Johnson, Christopher Barfield, Lynn Dellinger, Lynn Coffey, Greg Stokes, Kellie Ellis, Derek Jackson and Candice Wilson.

Sellstate also has an office in Huntersville

The former coin laundry never looked so good as it did Friday afternoon, when Sellstate Premier celebrated its grand opening with a Chamber ribbon cutting and an open house in the completely renovated building at 109 South Main Street in Belmont. 

Glass-walled offices, modern white desks and motivational messages on freshly painted walls have transformed the space. A single small drain intentionally retained in the center of the painted concrete floor provides the only clue to the building's former life. 

Angelia Black of Mount Holly is the owner of the full-service real-estate company, which also has a location in the Birkdale Business Park in Huntersville. Combined, the two offices have more than 40 agents. 

Broker in charge of the Belmont office is Sheryl Haigh, and other agents include Jodi Scates, Jan DePriest, Carole Ross, Matt Johnson, Stacy Johnson, Gregg Stokes, Lynn Coffey, Angela Anderson, Lynn Dellinger, Angela Pueschel, Christopher Barfield, Kellie Ellis, Derek Jackson and Candice Wilson..

More on Sellstate Premier in Belmont at 704.737.0659, or online at

Watch the ribbon-cutting video 

See more photos on Facebook


Watson Insurance - Belmont celebrates renovations

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Watson Insurance CEO Thomas C. Watson, Jr. (left) and Paul Hendricks, who heads the Watson office in Belmont, shake hands after the ribbon cutting to celebrate the new interior look at the Belmont office. Other Watson Insurance team members on the front row are Anita O'Donoughue, (third from left), Lisa Jones, Elaine Dimeo, Jenny Hope and Watson Insurance President Rob Watson. Holding the ribbon are Chamber Board Chair Shannon Thomas of Creative Solutions Special Events and Board member Dick Cromlish of School Resources.  (Photo by John Jacob)

New interior design greets customers at Belmont office 

Modern new cubicles with windows have replaced the dark wood teller counter and office panels leftover from when the Watson Insurance Belmont office once was a bank.

Paul Hendricks and his Belmont team celebrated the bright, upscale new interior design by hosting Chamber members, friends and customers for a Network After Work reception and ribbon cutting on Thursday, July 11, 2019. Refreshments were provided by Chamber member The Lodge Tavern & Tap.

Watson Insurance dates to 1934, and CEO Thomas C. Watson, Jr. attended the celebration along with Rob Watson, who is president of the company. The Belmont office is at 302 East Catawba Street. With its home office in Gastonia, Watson Insurance also has offices in Lincolnton and Lake Wylie.

For more information on Watson Insurance in Belmont, call 704.825.9642, or visit  

See more photos on Facebook.

Watch the ribbon-cutting video.  

Chamber members enjoyed networking, refreshments and getting a look at the bright new interior decor at the Belmont office of Watson Insurance. 





Fairfield Inn & Suites going up in Mount Holly

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

CEO Charles Saleh (left) and Wes Bawab of Mount Holly Hotel in front of the Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott under construction in Mount Holly. Rendering below shows the completed hotel.

Concrete and steel construction makes the hotel unique

When the new Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott opens with 91 rooms early in 2020, it will be unique among all of the more than 1,000 Fairfield Inns in operation and under construction. It will be the only Fairfield Inn built entirely of concrete and steel.  

The four-story hotel on Caldwell Drive in Mount Holly, just off Highway 273 at I-85 exit 27, will feature views of Charlotte from rooms on the top floor. 

Of interest to everyone in the business community, under construction on the ground floor is a large meeting room that can be divided to accommodate smaller groups.  

The Fairfield Inn will have many advantages because the owners used concrete and steel instead of the more common wood construction. A more solid structure and reduced fire risk are two advantages. But the one guests may appreciate most is better sound-proofing, assuring a quieter stay, said Mount Holly Hotel CEO Charles Saleh. 

The ground-breaking ceremony with Mount Holly Hotel and City of Mount Holly officials took place on June 18, 2018. Watch Chamber emails and the website for updates as construction progresses. 

In this photo made July 3, 2019, the fourth floor is still to come. When it's open, guests on the east side of the building will have a great view of Charlotte.  

Chamber's 12th Visitor & Newcomer Magazine

Monday, July 8, 2019

On the cover, Mount Holly artist Teresa Rench is carrying the Phoenix lantern for which she received an award for the best lantern. (Photo by Bob Leverone.) In the smaller photo below, Emily Andress (right) and Alison Pearce are holding framed magazine covers, presented by publisher Debbie Cole of the Biz Well Corp.

Read online or pick up a free copy at the Chamber;

Also available at city halls, visitor center, many other locations

The spectacular Lantern Parade through downtown Mount Holly last October made the cover of the Montcross Area Chamber's 12th annual Visitor and Newcomer Welcome magazine. 

The 2019-20 magazine was unveiled Monday, July 8, 2019, at the Mount Holly City Council meeting, where copies were presented to city officials, to Lantern Parade creator Emily Andress and to Alison Pearce, who represented Teresa Rench because she was unable to attend. Ms. Rench is featured in the cover photo carrying a Phoenix lantern she made, which was judged the parade's best lantern. 

Chamber member Biz Well Corp. has published all 12 editions of the magazine, and Biz Well owner Debbie Cole presented the first copies of the magazines and also framed copies of the cover to Ms. Andress and Ms. Pearce. 

The magazine is packed with useful information on Gaston County for visitors and newcomers and includes articles on the six cities and towns of the Montross area in eastern Gaston County -- Mount Holly, Belmont, Cramerton, Lowell, McAdenville and Stanley. Another Chamber member ImageMark Business Services printed the publication. 

The magazine will be distributed free throughout the next 12 months to visitors and newcomers and long-time residents, too, at city halls in the Montcross area, the Chamber office, the Gaston County Visitor Center, the offices and shops of advertisers and dozens of other locations.

Read The Entire Magazine Online


Holding framed copies of the cover are Emily Andress (right) and Alison Pearce, representing Teresa Rench. Others on the front row, from left, are Chamber Board Chair Shannon Thomas of Creative Solutions Special Events, magazine publisher Debbie Cole of the Biz Well Corp., and Mount Holly Mayor Bryan Hough. City Council members on the second row are, from left, David Moore, Lauren Shoemaker, Jeff Meadows, City Manager Danny Jackson, and council members Charles McCorkle and Perry Toomey.



Stanley breaks ground for town hall expansion

Friday, June 28, 2019

Stanley elected officials and several staff members break ground for the Town Hall addition.

New addition will double the size of Stanley Town Hall

When the Stanley Town Hall moved from its leased space on Main Street into a former bank building acquired by the town on Highway 27 South, town officials knew they would need to expand the building right away.

That project began Friday, June 28, 2019, with a ground-breaking ceremony for a 2,000-square-foot addition that will double the size of Town Hall. A new council chamber will be added, along with a conference room, more offices, a kitchen and restrooms.

Following a program under a tent on the site, town officials were first to break the ground, followed by several groups of staff members and members of the community.

Elected officials for neighboring cities and towns also attended, including Lowell Mayor Sandy Railey, McAdenville Mayor Jim Robinette, Belmont Mayor Charlie Martin and N.C. Sen. Ted Alexander from Cleveland County.

Watch the video on You Tube.

See more photos on Facebook.

Just Sew Happy celebrates grand opening

Thursday, June 27, 2019


Owner Pam Carter is ready to cut the ribbon, with (to her left) Sheila Thrower holding 'Stitches" and Pam's husband Paul Carter. To her right, are Melanie Stiwalt and Stephanie Russell. Holding the ribbon are former Chamber Board member Jennifer Church (left) of the Chronicle Mill and Chyrch Realty and Chamber Board Chair Shannon Thomas of Creative Solutions Special Events. 

The staff at this shop will be "Just Sew Happy" to see you

“Stitches,” the appropriately named rescue puppy mascot may have been the least excited participant at the Just Sew Happy grand opening and ribbon cutting celebration on Thursday, June 27, 2019.

Owner and self-described Chaos Creator Pam Carter, sure was overjoyed, as was Chaos Coordinator Sheila Thrower, co-worker Melanie Stiwalt and friend and volunteer Stephanie Russell.

The beautiful shop filled with colorful fabrics is in the South New Hope Business Center at 3826 S. New Hope Road in Gastonia. Just Sew Happy also stocks all kinds of sewing supplies and sells sewing machines, too. Customers packed the shop all day to take advantage of special prices that continue all weekend, to see demonstrations, enjoy refreshments and register for prizes.  

Go by and visit with the ladies and with “Stitches” and see all they have to offer. You’ll be “Just Sew Happy” you did. 

More information at 704.879.4121, or visit 

Watch the ribbon cutting video.

See more photos on Facebook.   



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