News and Updates

Art by J hosts Chamber for Network After Work

Thursday, August 11, 2016


Art by J students (from left) are Jordan Truss, Elizabeth Capps, Addison Aldrich and Paul Harris, \ith studio owner Jeaniene Dibble. With them are members of the Chamber Board of Directors (from left) Robert Aldrich of Aldrich CFO Services, Jeff Lee of The Vintage Nest, and Moses Nueman of NB Technology.

Members and friends enjoyed a fun and colorful visit to a working art studio

Students and teachers at Jeaniene Dibble's Art by J Studios hosted a fun and colorful Chamber "Network After Work" at their 4,000-square-foot working art studio on Wilkinson Boulevard in Belmont on August 11. With many new Chamber members and many first-time visitors attending, the networking was profitable. Members even got a chance to test their artistic talent by doing some drawing. Jeaniene has been teaching art for more than three decades to students from first through 12th grade. And she has a few spots remaining for her fall classes. For information, go to

Art by J teachers Trudy Johnson, Morgan Mathieu, Susan Allran,

Sarah Monteleone and Jeaniene Dibble.

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Allstate Insurance - Ryan Clarke Grand Opening

Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Ryan Clarke is cutting the ribbon, which is being held by Chamber Board Secretary Carey Roberts of Carey Roberts Design and Board member Doug Luckett, who is CEO at CaroMont Health. Also in front are, from left, Chamber Board member Geanina Neal of CommunityOne Bank in Mount Holly, Allstate staff members Leslie Turner, Judy Clarke, who is Ryan’s mother, and Ashlee Dangerfield, Chamber Vice President Teresa Rankin, Belmont City Council member Martha Stowe and behind her Belmont Mayor Charlie Martin. They’re joined by other Chamber members, friends and family, including Ryan’s father Bill Clarke, brother Will Clarke and friend Josh Drennon

New Allstate agency open at 305 Belmont-Mt. Holly Road

A cookout with hot dogs, beverages and all of the trimmings greeted customers, Chamber members, friends and family as Ryan Clarke celebrated the Grand Opening of her new Allstate Insurance office at 305 Belmont – Mount Holly Road on Tuesday, Aug. 9, 2016. Visitors toured the business, made business contacts and enjoyed the refreshments. Ryan thanked her family and friends and loyal local customers for their support and said she looks forward to many years of success at the new Allstate location. For more information on Allstate Insurance – Ryan Clarke, call (704) 827-8433, or visit the website:

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Bangz Salon & Spa Grand Opening

Friday, August 5, 2016

Brittany and Jake Farr are cutting the ribbon surrounded by members of the Bangz team, Chamber members, family and friends. Bangz staff (dressed in black) are, from left, Ann Watlington, Tracy Roberts, Kylie Wrenn, Caleb Grisdale, Katie Smith, Bangz founder and former owner Rita Lewis, Hannah Foster, Kaelee Scruggs, and Susan Foster, who is not visible in the photo. Holding the ribbon are Chamber Board members Jennifer Church (left) of the Chronicle Mill and Chyrch Realty and Geanina Neal of CommunityOne Bank. 

Celebrating new owners Brittany and Jake Farr

Bangz Salon & Spa celebrated in style with a grand re-opening to welcome new owners Brittany and Jacob Farr. Bangz is at 169 W. Main Ave., in downtown Gastonia, and the celebration was timed to coincide with a Gastonia Friday night concert featuring the Fantastic Shakers. Before the concert kicked off, Bangz welcomed Chamber members, customers, family and friends to the beautiful salon for refreshments, prizes and a ribbon-cutting ceremony. Drop by soon to congratulate the Bangz team. Be sure to ask about grand opening specials. You can call Bangz at 704.867.8311, or visit their website at

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Kevin Loftin Riverfront Park Dedicated

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Kevin Loftin's cousin Tom Weathers cut the ribbon at the entrance to a large observation deck and canoe and kayak launch. Other family members with him include Tom Weathers, Jr. and Abby Weathers, and their children Jillian and Rachael. Also in the photo are Belmont Mayor Charlie Martin along with other past mayors, members of the local legislative delegation, Belmont City Council members, representatives of the Parks and Recreation Board and other city officials.


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Hundreds turned out Saturday, July 23, 2016, for the grand opening celebration of Belmont's Kevin Loftin Riverfront Park. Family members of the late Mayor Kevin Loftin cut a ribbon to open the park, which features the city's first public access to Lake Wylie in addition to a large playground, picnic shelters, walking trails, an amphitheater and more.

The celebration featured live music, concluding with a concert by the Catalinas, children's activites and food vendors,

Kevin Loftin, who died in a car crash in 2012, was mayor in the late 1990s and led a push for downtown improvements that made possible the economic vitality Belmont enjoys today.

Ella B & Co. Boutique Salon Grand Opening

Thursday, July 21, 2016

In the photo, co-owners Pam Baxter and Zack Stone are cutting the ribbon along with (from left) Cramerton Mayor Ronnie Worley, Alex Conrad, Pam’s mother Betty Lawing and Pam’s husband Mark Baxter. Chamber members and friends and Ella B customers gathered around to show their support. Holding the ribbon are Montcross Area Chamber Board members Geanina Neal of CommunityOne Bank in Mount Holly and Jason Ramey of PSNC Energy. 

Thursday, July 21, 2016, was a very good day for Pam Baxter, who celebrated the grand opening of a new business Ella B & Co. Boutique Salon and the return from a six-month deployment in the Middle East of her husband Mark Baxter. Pam and her son Zack Stone are co-owners of the boutique salon, which is located at South Fork Village Apartments off Wilkinson Boulevard. A Montcross Area Chamber ribbon-cutting ceremony kicked off an evening of celebration, with music, refreshments, door prizes and special discounts.  

The boutique salon sells clothing and accessories for women and men and also offers haircuts and styling and hair-care products. The location is in the Cramerton town limits, though the address is 900-04 South Fork Village Dr., Belmont. For more information, call 704.824.1093 or visit 

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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.)


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