News and Updates

YMCA breaks ground for $17 million Robinwood Lake Y

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Some of the children who will play at the new Gaston Family YMCA planned at Robinwood Lake in Gastonia took center stage for the groundbreaking Wednesday, May 25, 2016,  by the 34-acre lake that makes this a unique and spectacular YMCA site. That's Gaston YMCA CEO Tony Sigmon relishing the significance of children helping start the work to build the community's new Y.

34-acre lake site makes new YMCA unique and spectacular

Project leaders say Gaston County will have the most spectacular YMCA on the East coast, and maybe in the entire country, when the $17 million facility on the shore of Robinwood Lake in Gastonia is completed. Fundraising is well under way, but many more gifts, large and small, will be needed to finish the project. Contact the Y at, or 704.865.8551, to find out how you can help make this dream come true for these children and tens of thousands of others.

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Artist's drawing of the entrance to the YMCA to be built at Robinwood Lake.

Addition to Cramer Woods community to total 112 homes

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Kevin Casner and Lesley Summerour (right) of LiveWell Homes tell Chamber members about The Enclave at Cramer Woods during "Network After Work" Tuesday. Among the large group of Chamber members gathered in the model home at the Peninsula at Bayshore community, are (from left) Chamber Board member Geanina Neal of CommunityOne Bank in Mount Holly, Elaine Dimeo of George Stowe Insurance, Pat Rivers and Chamber Board member Brad Rivers of Gaston College. 

LiveWell Homes to build The Enclave At Cramer Woods

A new addition to the popular Cramer Woods community off South New Hope Road in Gastonia eventually will have 112 all-brick homes, Montcross Area Chamber members and friends learned during "Network After Work" hosted by LiveWell Homes on Tuesday, May 24, 2016. 

Called the Enclave at Cramer Woods, the new neighborhood along Stowe Road will have its first homes ready for occupancy this fall. Site preparation has begun, and lot sales soon will begin.

Until a model is built in the new community, LiveWell Homes sales representatives will continue to work from the decorated model in the Peninsula at Bayshore community at 105 Bayshore Drive. That's where the Chamber networking reception was held, with a large turnout of Chamber members and friends eager to learn about Bayshore and The Enclave At Cramer Woods.

Kevin Casner and Lesley Summerour are the LiveWell representatives for Bayshore and the Enclave. Six homes and lots are all that remain to be sold in Bayshore, which features all-brick homes on lots of one acre or more. Chamber guests were impressed with the size of the lots and with the space and decor of the model home, which now is available for purchase.

Click here to learn more about The Enclave At Cramer Woods, or call Kevin Casner or Lesley Summerour at 803.820.0400. 

"Network After Work" receptions are hosted by Chamber member businesses at least once each month to give members opportunities to make business contacts and learn about the host business.

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Christi Falls Photography Open In Belmont

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Christi Falls cuts the ribbon, with her husband Jay standing behind her and Chamber members and friends in the background. On the front row, are (from left) Chamber Secretary Carey Roberts of Carey Roberts Design, Chamber Board member Geanina Neal of CommunityOne Bank - Mount Holly, Belmont Mayor Charlie Martin, Gaston County Commission Chairman Tom Keigher, Gaston County Sheriff Alan Cloninger, Andy Haynes and Natalie Tindol of Tindol Ford Subaru, and Chamber Board Chair Walter Payne of ImageMark Business Services.

Grand opening celebrated with Chamber ribbon-cutting

Chamber members, clients and friends turned out in large numbers at noon today to help Christi Falls celebrate the opening of her new wedding and portrait photography studio in downtown Belmont. In beautiful spring weather, the crowd spilled out of the studio at 27 Catawba Street and onto the sidewalk to enjoy refreshments, networking and learning about Christi Falls Photography. Formerly a photojournalist working for several area newspapers, Christi now works in studio photography focusing mainly on weddings and portraits. See examples of her work at For more information on Christi Falls Photography, call 980.522.2933.

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It was business and breakfast at BNI Chamber event this morning

Thursday, May 19, 2016

BNI members with Lowell Mayor Sandy Railey (center) and Chamber Board Chair Walter Payne (third from right) at Morning Spark networking breakfast today. Representing BNI (from left) are Chapter President Mike Claypool, Terry Knight, Jim Smith, (Mayor Railey), Diana Blair of CommunityOne Bank in Stanley, Crystal Armstrong, (Walter Payne), Bill Joles of International Minute Press and Phillip Poston. 

Business and breakfast mixed well today as the Twin Rivers Network Connectors of BNI (Business Networking International) hosted Chamber members for Morning Spark networking in Lowell. The dining room at Grits n Greens restaurant was filled with more than 40 Chamber members and BNI members all eager to make connections and do business with each other. BNI is a national referral network made up of local chapters. Members help each other by sharing business referrals with colleagues within the group. BNI president Mike Claypool presided and spoke about how BNI referral groups work and how effective they are in generating business for members. Montcross Area Chamber Board Chair Walter Payne of ImageMark Business Services spoke on behalf of the Chamber along with President  Ted Hall. For more information on Twin Rivers Connectors of BNI, call Mike Claypool at 704.689.1151. 

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Wee Houses a hit at Botanical Garden event with Lyerly Agency

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Wee Houses aren't for kids only, as event sponsors and Chamber representatives discovered during the "Network After Work" reception at the Botanical Garden. Here (and in the close-up below) trying out the Log Fort are (clockwise from bottom left) Botanical Garden Executive Director Kara Newport, co-hosts Elaine and Melia Lyerly of Lyerly Agency, Chamber President Ted Hall and Chamber Board Chair Walter Payne of ImageMark Business Services. 

Exhibit of forts, playhouses and treehouses open through Sept. 18

Wee Houses were a large attraction when Chamber members and friends descended on Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden for a "Network After Work" reception co-hosted by Lyerly Agency of Belmont. While making business connections is an important objective of these events, so, too, is learning about and the hosts. Chamber guests at the Botanical Garden event enjoyed excellent food and drink and learning about the work of Lyerly Agency, and afterward spent time outside in the beautiful gardens exploring the array of treehouses, forts and playhouses that make up the "Wee Houses: Places We Play" exhibit. The creatively designed structures are intended to evoke childhood memories of escaping outdoors to explore, dream and play. The exhibit, presented by PNC Bank, is open at the Garden through September 18. For more on Daniel Stowe Botanical Garden, call 704.825.4490, or visit For more on Lyerly Agency, call 704.525.3937, or visit

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Charlotte-Gaston economic development

Friday, April 22, 2016

Montcross Area mayors attending a Chamber breakfast today with Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts (center) are, from left, McAdenville Mayor Jim Robinette, Mount Holly Mayor Bryan Hough, Cramerton Mayor Ronnie Worley, Lowell Mayor Sandy Railey and Belmont Mayor Charlie Martin.

Economic development in Charlotte and Gaston County was the topic of the morning today, as more than 100 members and friends of the Chamber attended a Chamber Business Buzz breakfast to hear Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts say the region will near the 3 million population mark in just four years.  She called this a period of “transformative change.”  Mayor Roberts specifically addressed major economic growth expected around the Charlotte Douglas International Airport and in the “River District” between the airport and the Catawba River, just across from Gaston County.  Business Buzz breakfasts are sponsored by CaroMont Health and coordinated by the Chamber. 

In the photo with Mayor Roberts, are Chamber officers, from left, Board Chair Walter Payne of ImageMark Business Services, Chair-Elect Bill Ingram of Wells Fargo Bank and Past-Chair Melia Lyerly of Lyerly Agency.

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New art exhibit open at Chamber Gallery

Thursday, April 21, 2016


At the opening of the new art exhibit in the Chamber offices are the featured artist Sigrid Hice (in red) and behind her Steve Hice, whose photography also is in the exhibit. Opening reception sponsor Dr. David Layne and his wife Janet of LandMark MD are on the second row at left. In front, from left, are Chamber Board Past Chair Melia Lyerly of Lyerly Agency, LandMark MD Practice Manager Melissa McAtee, and at right, Executive Director of Gaston Arts Council Kim George, who coordinates exhibits at the Chamber.  

LandMark MD sponsors artist's reception to launch exhibit

An artist's reception marked the opening of a new exhibit in the Chamber of Commerce offices in the Stowe Building, 100 N. Main Street in Belmont. Book artist and photographer Sigrid Hice is the featured artist, with photography by her husband Steve Hice also on exhibit. The exhibit is open for viewing weekdays, 9 - 5, through July 5. 

The reception was sponsored by LandMark MD, the medical practice of Dr. David Layne, which also is located in the Stowe Building.

A native of the former West Germany, Sigrid Hice immigrated to North Carolina 38 years ago. She is a roster member of the Mountain Arts Program, the South Carolina Arts Commission’s Art in Education program, the Chatham County Arts Council, and the Arts & Science Council of Charlotte-Mecklenburg. For more than a dozen years, Sigrid has worked as a teaching artist in schools in North and South Carolina She also has taught numerous artist book workshops for organizations and institutions, including the Turchin Center in Boone, Hickory Museum of Art, Girl Scouts, 4-H, John C. Campbell Folk School, the NewArt School and many more.

Chamber art exhibitions are arranged and coordinated by Gaston Arts Council Director Kim George.

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