News and Updates

Sammy's Pub hosts Chamber for Morning Spark networking

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Jim and John Bailey, new owners of Sammy's Neighborhood Pub, greeted a large crowd of Chamber members, friends and customers at a Morning Spark networking event today. The aroma of freshly brewed coffee and breakfast refreshments right out of the oven welcomed guests as they entered the door of the popular pub on South Main Street in Belmont. The Baileys recently acquired the restaurant from founder Sammy Balatsias. John Bailey introduced the outstanding Sammy's staff including general manager Alex East and Maria Balatsias, beloved hostess and mother of the founder. He said the new owners plan to maintain and build upon the high quality of food and service for which Sammy's is known. In the photo, from left, are Chamber Board Past-Chair Melia Lyerly of Lyerly Agency and from Sammy's Alex East, owners Jim and John Bailey, Ashley Franckewitz, Jessica Bradley, Chris Sorentino and Regan Weaver.  

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Ground broken for new Stanley Middle School

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

When the ground-breaking ceremony for a new Stanley Middle School took place on the morning of July 19, 2016, grading equipment already was turning the former athletic fields into a construction site for the $27.5 million facility that will open in the 2017-18 school year. The two-story, state-of-the-art school will have 135,000 square feet and more than 40 classrooms equipped with the latest technology, plus a modern media center, cafeteria and gymnasium. When completed, the present school will be demolished and the site used for new athletic fields. Gaston County School Board members, Town of Stanley officials and others joined Principal Rebecca Huffstetler and students for the ground-breaking. In the photo above, from left, are County Commissioner Joe Carpenter, Superintendent of Schools Jeffrey Booker, School Board members Dot Guthrie, Kevin Collier and Catherine Roberts, students Rachael Medici and AnnaMarie Clark, Principal Rebecca Huffstetler, School Board Chairman Kenneth Lutz, and  School Board members Jeff Ramsey, Dot Cherry and Lee Dedmon. (Montcross Area Chamber photo.)


Student art on exhibit at Chamber

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

An art exhibit featuring the work of local students opened with a meet-the-artists reception on July 19, 2016, in the offices of the Montcross Area Chamber at 100 N. Main St. in Belmont. Works by 18 local students of Art by J Studios are shown in the exhibit, which is free and open to the public weekdays 9 – 5. Belmont Mayor Charlie Martin and Dot Martin sponsored the reception. Art by J owner Jeaniene Dibble came dressed to match a figure in one of the exhibit’s featured pieces – an 8-by-12-foot interpretation of Georges Seurat’s “A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jette.” Students in the photo are (front row, from left) Alia Armstrong, Amy Fredette, Cheryl  Tiearney, Addison Aldrich. Back row: Sophie Hanafin, Ashley Williams, Jordan Truss, Olivia Hedrick and Luke Harmon, with Jeaniene Dibble (right) and, at left, Chamber President Ted Hall and Mayor Charlie Martin.

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Chamber Golf Tournament Scored High on Fun

Friday, June 17, 2016


 Click here for a larger view

Thirty teams, 37 sponsors, 120 players and about twice that many donors and volunteers ran up high scores for fun at the 11th annual Montcross Area Chamber golf tournament at Cramer Mountain Club Thursday. In addition to being a lot of fun, the tournament is one of the Chamber's major fund-raisers of the year. Thank you to presenting sponsor CaroMont Health and every other business, organization and individual who helped make this year's tournament a huge success.

  First-Place Team - Gaston Christian School. From left, Levi Kettlehutt, Rick Schields, Thomas Griffin and Head of School Dr. Marc Stout, — at  Cramer Mountain Club.


Shining Hope Farms & Hogzilla BBQ host Chamber

Friday, June 10, 2016

On the right in the photo, are Paul and Melinda Kirkpatrick and Kari Pilbeam, representing Shining Hope Farms. Melinda is a founder and executive director of SHF, Paul is a main supporter and Kari chairs the board of directors. In yellow, are Jo and Mark Magda, owners of Hogzilla BBQ, which co-sponsored and donated food for the event. At left, is Melia Lyerly of Lyerly Agency, immediate past chair of the Chamber board of directors. In front, are SHF staffers Emily Jones (left) with Maddie and McKenzie Huffman with Scarlet.

The irresistible combination of Shining Hope Farms country charm, Hogzilla BBQ, Catawba River Bluegrass Association music, a splendid spring afternoon and opportunities to make business contacts brought an astounding 168 Chamber members and friends to Networking After Work Thursday.

The beautiful horses might have had a little to do with it, too. Horses that had worked all day providing therapeutic rides for children with special needs were relaxing in the pasture, but miniature Shetlands Maddie and Scarlet were readily available for petting.

Thank you to Shining Hope Farms and Hogzilla BBQ for teaming up to host this outstanding Chamber event. Learn more about them at these sites:


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Nellie's Southern Kitchen open after VIP Preview

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Three years after the famous Jonas Brothers first took Belmont by storm when they dropped in to check out the building their parents had purchased on North Main Street, the dream of Nellie’s Southern Kitchen came true this week. 

Music celebrities Kevin, Nick and Joe Jonas, and their younger brother Frankie, returned to help their parents, Kevin Jonas, Sr. and Denise Jonas, host a sneak VIP preview of the restaurant they describe as both a tribute to the matriarch of their family, Nellie Jonas, and a gift to the community that is home to the Jonas family. 

Nellie’s opened for business on Monday, June 13, at 11 a.m. 

More than 165 members of the Jonas family and their friends and invited guests filled the main dining room of Nellie’s on Tuesday, June 7, for an evening of celebration, food and entertainment. Joe Jonas and his band DNCE were first to perform, before dashing off to play a concert in Charlotte. 

Long-time Jonas family friend Tony Orlando performed some of his greatest hits, and with his wife and daughters spent the evening visiting with almost every guest. 

Music will be a large part of the tradition at Nellie’s, which has a stage in the dining room, where the house band played and talented members of the staff took turns performing. A large roof-top lounge over the adjoining Nellie’s Pick Me Up building wasn’t open for the preview, but is expected to open soon. 

A floor-to-ceiling portrait of Kevin Jonas Sr.’s grandmother Nellie at the back of the dining room is the first thing visitors see as they enter the restaurant. Unique light fixtures include more than a dozen round chandeliers featuring songbirds, each custom designed and crafted. Lighting over the bar symbolizes cotton bolls. 

“Creating more than 100 permanent full-time and part-time jobs and even more temporary jobs for construction workers of every description is a major economic contribution to our community and to all of Gaston County,” said Montcross Area Chamber President Ted Hall in a statement to the media.

“It’s remarkable and commendable that a family with deep roots in the Belmont and Mount Holly area has come home and worked extremely hard, investing vast sums of money, to create a business that’s a tribute to the matriarch of their family and a gift to the community.”


Owner Kevin Jonas, Sr. in front of Nellie's just after the sign was installed on June 7, 2016.

Brothers Kevin (left) and Nick Jonas relaxing on the roof-top after posing for hundreds of photos with Nellie’s guests.

Kevin Sr., introducing his son Joe Jonas, who was the first to perform on the stage at Nellie’s.

Singer Tony Orlando was greeted by Belmont Mayor Charlie Martin as he arrived outside Nellie's with his family. 

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These ladies are MAJOR Jonas fans

The Jonas family donated four passes to the VIP preview of Nellie’s for the Montcross Area Chamber to sell at a silent auction during its Annual Banquet in February, and Mount Holly City Council member Carolyn Holbrook Breyare outbid many others to claim the coveted tickets. She used them to bring to the preview her daughter Carrie Breyare Bailey, who is a member of the McAdenville Town Council, and her granddaughters Cassidy and Chelsea. The four had a blast and got photos with all of the Jonas brothers. 


 At right, are Carolyn, Cassidy, Carrie and Chelsea, and above with Nick and Kevin Jonas.




Wednesday, June 1, 2016

The new Gaston Outside GO logo and images shown here are from the the new Facebook page. In the photo below, Belmont Mayor Charlie Martin adds his signature to a framed image of the new logo that soon will be covered with the names of those who sign on to help deliver Gaston County's  message.


"Gaston Outside is a celebration of the people, places, businesses and natural beauty that make Gaston County such an amazing place. From the mountains in the west to the rivers in the east, our county is woven together with a heritage of hard work and a love for the outdoors.

Nestled just outside of Charlotte, Gaston County is diverse, made up of charming small towns, plentiful natural resources and industrious people. We are proud ‘think-out-of-the-box-ers,’ makers and doers. We are Gaston Outside."

That's how a Gaston County marketing campaign launched June 1, 2016, is introduced on a new website and on new social media sites. (See links below.)

The campaign was unveiled at a kickoff rally at the Gastonia Conference Center. Greater Gaston Development Corporation raised funds from the county, municipalities, private businesses and other sources to finance the campaign to promote Gaston County's abundant outdoor attractions and many other advantages. 

You'll soon start seeing a lot of the new Gaston Outside GO logo on billboards, stickers, t-shirts, beverage holders and many other places, as Gaston County delivers a loud and clear message that there's an amazing array of people, small towns and natural resources to discover "nestled just outside of Charlotte." 

Learn more about the campaign on these sites: (Be sure to watch the LET'S GO video) 

A rally at Gastonia Conference Center kicked off Gaston Outside GO campaign.







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