News and Updates

First MACC Low Country Boil a sellout

Thursday, September 14, 2017

The Chamber’s first low country boil was a huge success on Sept. 14, 2017, at the Gaston County Wildlife Club on Lake Wylie, with a sellout crowd of more than 100 attending. Saltwater Markets provided the meal and major sponsors included Creative Solutions Special Events, Gaston County Jaycees, Carey Roberts Design, York Chester Brewing and Gaston Arts Council. Sponsor representatives are shown in the photo above. In front, are Shannon Thomas and Lauren Taylor of presenting sponsor Creative Solutions Special Events. Others, from left, are dessert sponsor Carey Roberts of Carey Roberts Design, beer sponsor Jarvis Roberts of York Chester Brewing, Brad Thomas of Creative Solutions, Traci Burries of table sponsor Stanton Enterprise/McDonalds, Chamber President Ted Hall, artist sponsor Kim George of Gaston Arts Council, entertainer  Caleb Davis, Andrea Schrift of title sponsor Gaston County Jaycees; and table sponsor Ryan Schrift of R.J. Schrift Private Asset Management. The Chronicle Mill and Choice USA Vending also were table sponsors.  

Please thank our sponsors

  • Creative Solutions Special Events - Presenting Sponsor
  • Gaston County Jaycees - Title Sponsor
  • Carey Roberts Design - Dessert Sponsor 
  • York Chester Brewing - Beer Sponsor
  • Gaston Arts Council - Artist Sponsor
  • Table Sponsors: The Chronicle Mill - Choice USA Vending - R.J. Schrift Private Asset Management - Stanton Enterprise/McDonalds  


Image Source Photography hosts "Network After Work"

Thursday, September 7, 2017

The Image Source team (from left) Bristol Crider, owners Scott and Dodie Huffman, Josh Gaddis, Mika Christopher and Lisa Jackson in front of their gallery and studio during "Network After Work."  In the photo below, Dodie Huffman (right) is presenting one of several valuable door prizes, this one a free business head shot photo session, to Shari Miller of Bai Shen Acupuncture. (Photos by John Jacob)

Chamber guests make contacts, win prizes and enjoy refreshments 

Dodie and Scott Huffman and the staff at Image Source photography in Belmont hosted members and friends of the Montcross Area Chamber for "Network After Work" on Thursday, Sept. 7, 2017. Many business connections were made, as the large crowd enjoyed refreshments, took home some outstanding door prizes and learned about the many services offered at Image Source.

Image Source, known originally as Image Gallery, began in downtown Gastonia and relocated to 132 N. Main Street in Belmont several years ago. The six-member team at Image Source specializes in commercial, wedding and event photography, executive and lifestyle portraits and video services. For more information on Image Source, call 704.689.8968, or visit

Network After Work receptions are hosted at least once each month by a Chamber member business or organization. The purpose is to inform members about a fellow Chamber member and provide opportunities to make business contacts. There's no charge to attend and non-members with an interest in the Chamber or the host business are welcome.   

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Brookline Homes corporate office relocates for more space

Friday, August 25, 2017


Scott Dirkschneider cuts ribbon with members of the Brookline Homes team, including canine mascots Leonardo and Raphaela, affectionately known as the company "barchitects." Brookline representatives, from the left, are Lind Goodman, Juliana McPherson, Jamie Mahool, Brad Albrecht, Jennifer Galvin, George Katsanos, Scott Dirkschneider, Andi Dirkschneider, Eric Dirkschneider and Megan Mull. Holding the ribbon are Chamber Board member Jason Ramey of PSNC Energy and Belmont Downtown Director Vicki Davis. 

At only 3 years old, Brookline Homes is growing rapidly

Rapidly growing Brookline Homes greatly expanded its office space and gained storefront windows to display photos of model homes on one of Belmont's busiest streets with its recent move to 425 E. Catawba Street. Owner Scott Dirkschneider and the Brookline team celebrated the move with an open house and Chamber ribbon-cutting on Friday, Aug. 25, 2017.

After decades of experience working in the home-building industry for large and small companies, Scott started Brookline Homes in 2014. His company is building homes now in some of the area's best known neighborhoods, including Eagle Park, Water's Edge and Stuart's Landing. Brookline just finished construction in Mountain Island Village and will be starting new projects soon in the Villages at Cramerton Mills in Cramerton and Aberfoyle Village in Belmont. 

The Catawba Street office houses corporate operations for Brookline, while the sales staff works from model homes in each of the neighborhoods. For more information, call 980.277.1306, or visit

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40 "Get Ready Gaston" forum participants meet for follow-up

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Gaston Economic Development Director Donny Hicks facilitated a 90-minute discussion of ideas stemming from the "Get Ready Gaston Forum on Preparing for Growth" when 40 participants in the forum re-convened a week after the event.

Session focused on ideas stemming from forum for elected officials

Preparing for growth in Gaston County was the topic for discussion on Thursday morning, Aug. 24, 2017, when 40 elected officials, city managers, planners and economic development professionals met to follow up on ideas stemming from a “Get Ready Gaston” forum held a week earlier at Belmont Abbey College. The forum follow-up took place at the Kimbrell Campus of Gaston College in Belmont, with Gaston Economic Development Director Donny Hicks facilitating. The Montcross Area Chamber coordinated both meetings, with financial support from Carolinas HealthCare System. More than 100 elected officials and other leaders from all parts of Gaston County attended “Get Ready Gaston.” The objective of both meetings was “to help Gaston County leaders become better informed about and prepare for the impact of growth as Charlotte expands to the west.”

Cherubs Cafe crew celebrates with ribbon-cutting

Tuesday, August 22, 2017


Helping Holy Angels CEO Regina Moody cut the ribbon are Cherubs Cafe crew members Martha, Katie and Loraine. Holding the ribbon are Cheryl (left), who was celebrating her birthday, and Taylor. In the photo below, Regina and Torrance with a tray of "Griscuits," a new invention and menu item at Cherubs Cafe.

"Believe There Is Good In The World," new slogan at Holy Angels

Downpours postponed the ribbon-cutting ceremony when Cherubs Cafe celebrated its grand re-opening last week in downtown Belmont with a Chamber "Network After Work" reception. But you can tell from the smiles when the rescheduled ribbon-cutting took place this morning that excitement is still in the air at Cherubs.

Wearing their new "Believe There Is Good In The World" shirts, the Cherubs Cafe crew along with staff members from Cherubs Candy Bouquets and Cherubs Cotton Candy Factory teamed up with Holy Angels staff members for the ribbon-cutting.

A renovated dining room and kitchen greeted returning customers and newcomers when Cherubs Cafe reopened after renovation. Expanded evening hours will keep the café open until 8 o’clock, and new menu items have been added, including a new invention at Cherubs called "Grisquits," As the name implies, grisquits are made of grits and cheese fried in the shape of muffins.

Cherubs Cafe and next-door neighbors Cherubs Cotton Candy Factory and Cherubs Candy Bouquets are vocational outreach programs of Holy Angels, providing job opportunities and community interaction for residents.

Cherubs Café, at 23 N. Main Street in Belmont, offers a wide range of catering services and is open for breakfast and lunch and with a limited menu until 8 o'clock most evenings. For more information, call 704.825.0414, or visit





Get Ready Gaston Forum on Preparing for Growth

Thursday, August 17, 2017


More than 100 attended the half-day forum organized by the Chamber and sponsored by Carolinas HealthCare System at Belmont Abbey College. Dallas, NC, native Ted Abernathy (photo at right below), a nationally recognized expert on economic trends, made the opening presentation. Charlotte Chamber CEO Bob Morgan (photo at left below) delivered the luncheon keynote address.

Forum presented by the Chamber as a service to Gaston County

The Montcross Area Chamber, with financial support from Carolinas HealthCare System and assistance from Gaston County Economic Development, brought together more than 100 elected public officials, city managers, planners and economic development professionals on Aug. 17, 2017, for a forum on preparing for growth in Gaston County.  Almost every elected board and major appointed board and commission in Gaston County was represented. 

The Chamber organized the event as a service to Gaston County in view of Charlotte’s pending development between the airport and the Catawba River. The objective of the forum was “to help elected officials, government administrators, planning professionals and community leaders become better informed about and prepare for the impact of growth as Charlotte expands to the west.”  

Billed as “Get Ready Gaston,” the half-day forum was held at Belmont Abbey College and featured speakers from neighboring counties that have experienced rapid growth in recent years as well as Gaston County leaders specializing in the areas of transportation, water and sewer utilities and schools. 

Ted Abernathy, a nationally known expert on economic trends, who grew up in Gaston County, came from Raleigh to make the forum’s opening presentation. His company is called Economic Leadership and he’s managing partner. Charlotte Chamber CEO Bob Morgan, who from 2002 until 2005 was CEO of the Gaston Chamber, delivered the luncheon keynote address. 

Appearing in a regional panel discussion were Centralina Council of Governments Planning Director Michelle Nance, a Mount Holly native; York County Economic Director David Swenson; and Monroe-Union County Economic Development Director Chris Platé.  

Presenting a Gaston County update were Randi Gates, senior transportation planner for the Gaston-Cleveland-Lincoln Metropolitan Planning Organization; Matt Bernhardt, director of Two Rivers Utilities; and Gaston County Schools Superintendent Jeff Booker. 

Participants were invited to a Forum Follow-Up meeting on Thursday, August 24, to discuss ideas and suggestions stemming from the “Get Ready Gaston” presentations. Gaston County Economic Development Director Donny Hicks facilitated the follow-up session.

Regional panelists, from left, Michelle Nance, Chris Platé and David Swenson talked about how Charlotte’s growth impacted neighboring counties.

(Photos for the Montcross Area Chamber by Wil Neumann)




Saltwater Markets open on S. New Hope Road

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

 The celebration begins at Saltwater Markets with Clint and Elizabeth Boyd (center), their children Caleb, Grace and Maddie, Clint's parents Kim and Brett Boyd, catering coordinator Jeanie Drummond and Belmont Mayor Charlie Martin. Holding the ribbon are Chamber Board members Brad Thomas (left) of Creative Solutions Special Events and Chris Kennedy of Kennedy Business Solutions.

Offering top quality seafood, meats and catering

Saltwater Markets celebrated its formal opening in Gaston County this morning with a dozens of Chamber members, family and friends and a ribbon-cutting ceremony. Owners Clint and Elizabeth Boyd opened their first Saltwater Markets location in Clover, SC, two years ago.

They developed so many Gaston County customers they decided to locate a second site here at 3418 S. New Hope Road. Chef Rodney Roden is general manager of the Gaston County location along with Stacey Parker. Jeanie Drummond is catering coordinator and Justin Bishop also is a chef.  

Saltwater Markets specializes in overnight delivery of top quality seafood and meats. Catering for oyster roasts, low country boils and other types of events also is a big part of their business.

Hours are Tuesday through Friday, 10 - 6; Saturday, 10 - 5.  More information at 803.222.6057, or

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