Each week the Lake Norman Chamber of Commerce spotlights a Chamber member Business or Non Profit that is making a Splash in the Lake Norman region. This week, April 3 - 7, we focuus on Holly's Hope:
Holly’z Hope is a non-profit, volunteer organization based in Cornelius, N.C. that supports dogs and dog owners in our surrounding community. Holly’z Hope helps change the world one dog at a time by providing free custom-built dog houses and fences to dogs made to live outside on a chain with no protection from the elements. The organization also provides veterinary wellness care, vaccinations, spay/neuter services, pet supplies, dog food, pet toys, bedding, straw for warmth and tarps for shading. Dog owners are also educated on responsible pet ownership in an effort to reduce overpopulation and inhumane treatment.
Organization founder Holly Davis with nearly 300+ volunteers on board in a little over a year of organizing, proves how passionate people are in the mission to unchain dogs. Davis was recently successful in helping to pass an anti-tethering law in the town of Cornelius – and plans on expanding her efforts into nearby municipalities.
Changing the ordinance does not only improve the community by making it more safe and desirable but it changes the lives of the dogs and dog owners. I’m so very lucky to be able to do this work and make a difference” Holly Davis says.
Holly'z Hope runs 100% on donations. We also look for individual/company sponsorship's. A sponsorship covers all the materials needed for one dog fence build. A press release will be sent to all media outlets announcing the sponsorship. Sponsorship will be promoted via social media, Holly’z Hope website, and in photo/video credits. Tax deductible & non-profit company matching gifts Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
To see the amazing before and after photos of dogs on chains enjoying their new digs, you can check out their site www.hollyzhope.com and on Facebook www.facebook.com/hollyzhope.
Charlotte Cycleboats Brings Human-Powered Pedaling to Our Local Waters
February 1st, 2017 - A new on-the-water experience is coming to Charlotte’s surrounding waters with the launch of Charlotte Cycleboats LLC. The first-of-its-kind in the area, this company is bringing a water-based spinoff of the oh-so popular land-based pedaling party pubs. Cycleboats provide a fun, new eco-friendly way to enjoy the water safely, with or without a beer in your hand.
Charlotte Cycleboats are designed to be operated as commercial tour boats on lakes and rivers and certified by the US Coast Guard. As riders pedal on individual cycle stations, together they propel a large paddle wheel in the back of the boat. There is always a captain elevated at the back of the boat to steer and operate the electric motor when needed.
Set to get going early Summer 2017, Charlotte Cycleboats will be offering pedal tours initially on Lake Norman with more in the works along the Catawba River in Belmont and Lake Wylie to follow shortly after. The fun tours are ideal for friendly outings, birthday parties, family reunions, company outings among many other fun social get togethers. While Cycleboats can provide an awesome platform for a fun party, they are also great for team building, fitness groups and of course spin and cycle groups.
Rob Bennett, owner of My Aloha Paddle and Surf, founded the new company that builds on his passion of bringing fun and fitness activities on the water. My Aloha Paddle & Surf was a 2016 finalist as the Lake Norman Chamber of Commerce Small Business of the Year.
"I became more aware of the lack of fun activities on our beautiful lakes and rivers after growing Stand Up Paddleboarding in the Charlotte area,” Bennett says. “Cycleboats are a perfect match to our current business and we are thrilled to provide another awesome experience and only the best customer service will be our focus.”
The company is aquiring custom built tour boats with a high-top table lined by five pedal stations on each side to fit 10 people total. Then there is a four-person bench seat without pedals are also on the boat. The boat is powered by pedaling making it eco-friendly, but there is an electric motor for backup and emergencies, with solar panels on the canopy roof for regeneration. Guests only need to bring their favorite beverage and snacks. Only beer or wine, no liquor is permitted.
Charlotte Cycleboats will release more plans to offer tours from 90 minutes to three hours. Hints of a Local Craft beer Cruise, an extended dinner cruise, lake history cruise, local wineries sponsored wine tasting cruise and more to be announced.
Tickets can be purchased at a discount in advance at: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/charlotte-cycleboats-unique-fun-water-experience/x/15640750#/
Prairie Brookwood Breaks Ground on Major Expansion in Huntersville for Pactiv
Huntersville, NC, December 6, 2016 - Prairie Brookwood LLC today broke ground on a 324,480-square-foot warehouse expansion of their facility, which is leased to Pactiv, LLC, in Huntersville, North Carolina. Prairie Brookwood is investing over $14 million to more than double the size of the 24/7 facility that currently houses Pactiv's production of food service disposables and food packaging. Project highlights include 35 new loading docks and a structural steel frame with concrete tilt-up walls.
"Over a decade ago, we partnered with the towns of Cornelius, Davidson and Huntersville to build the first building in the Commerce Station Park," said Benjamin Shapiro, Manager of Prairie Brookwood LLC. "This expansion fulfills our shared vision for creating a state-of-the-art manufacturing and distribution facility upon 40 acres of raw land, and serves as an excellent model for government and private industry working together to create good jobs for a community."
"Lake Norman Economic Development is appreciative of today's announcement of the expansion with Pactiv and Prairie Brookwood," said Ryan McDaniels, Executive Director of Lake Norman Economic Development. "Commerce Station Business Park is the result of a partnership between the Town of Cornelius, Town of Davidson, Town of Huntersville, and Mecklenburg County. This partnership has led to continued growth with new jobs and investment added to our community. We look forward to future announcements at Commerce Station."
"The expanded facility will complement our already strong and growing North American manufacturing footprint and enable the company to remain focused on our current product lines as we continue to meet the demands of our customers," said John McGrath, Pactiv President & CEO.
"I am honored that Prairie Brookwood and Pactiv chose Huntersville to expand," said Mayor John Aneralla. "The workforce, our business climate and our quality of life continue to make Huntersville extremely attractive to companies. The expansion will create economic growth and development for the Huntersville community."
Located in Commerce Station Park, the expansion is being developed by Prairie Brookwood LLC. The Design-Build contractor is Graycor Construction Company and is being managed out of Graycor's Southeast regional office based in Charlotte.
"Graycor is truly excited to be a part of this long developing project," said Scott Skala, General Manager of the Southeast Division for Graycor Construction Company, "we look forward to continuing our partnership with Prairie Brookwood, Pactiv and the Town of Huntersville to deliver a facility that will serve both the Owner and Pactiv well for years to come."
About Pactiv, LLC
Pactiv is one of the world's largest producers of food service disposables and food packaging operating over 50 manufacturing plants in seven countries. With over 11,000 employees, Pactiv makes and sells products used in the foodservice, supermarket, and food packaging markets. Learn more at Pactiv.com.
Lake Norman Economic Development Corporation
The Lake Norman Economic Development Corporation is responsible for the development and implementation of the economic development strategy for the towns of Cornelius, Davidson and Huntersville, and the Lake Norman region. These strategies will result in improving the quality of life for the region's residents through the expansion of the tax base by attracting new capital investment and creating new, highly skilled jobs for the regions residents. For more information visit www.lnedc.com.
Graycor Construction Company Inc. is a leader in managing new construction and interiors projects throughout North America. Graycor serves clients in the corporate, cultural/educational, healthcare, living & lodging, logistics & distribution, manufacturing and retail markets. For more information visit www.graycorconstruction.com.
Each week, the Lake Norman Chamber will highlight a Chamber Business Member and a Non Profit that is making a Splash in the Lake Norman region. For the week of November 1-5, 2016 we have selected Ranson Ridge Assisted Living and Memory Care and The Hope House Foundation.
Ranson Ridge Assisted Living and Memory Care - Lake Norman Chamber Business Spotlight
Ranson Ridge Assisted Living and Memory Care isn’t anything like you probably expect! Senior living has changed dramatically over the past years. Baby-boomers are expecting a higher level of options for their parents. From the time you walk in the door at Ranson Ridge, you feel the warmth of a homey, rustic lodge filled with active, happy, friendly residents who eagerly scurry to and from social events or linger together on the front porch or in front of the fireplace. Many tell stories of how they were hesitant to make such a huge change moving to a community, but once they did, they wish they had done it sooner. Recent studies show that quality of life and health improve with the socialization, good meals, exercise, and medication management that is offered in senior communities.
Ranson Ridge offers families the comfort of knowing their loved one will receive the most professional medical attention, if needed, as they age. Services are provided by a full-time on-site registered nurse and certified staff. Call Cathy Hansen, Certified Senior Advisor at Ranson Ridge, if you would like to see the community. Cathy also offers free counseling regarding eldercare options to chamber members. Call 704-897-2872.
Ranson Ridge was recently the host for the Lake Norman Chamber of Commerce October Business AfterHours. Chamber Members received a first hand look into the residence and the memory care unit. Chamber members were impressed by the level of care as well as the staff and facilities. Pictured is Cathy Hansen, Certified Senior Advisor for Ranson Ridge Assisted Living & Memory Care; Scott Potter - Business AfterHours guest; Chamber President & CEO Bill Russell; and Carrie Brantley - Memory Care Coordinator. Ranson Ridge is located at 13910 Hunton Lane in Huntersville. For more information visit http://www.ransonridgeal.com.
The Hope House Foundation - Lake Norman Chamber Non-Profit Spotlight
Lee Beth Lindquist, M.D., had a dream to help homeless women and their children in the Lake Norman area who needed a hand-up, not a hand-out in becoming self-sustaining. In her medical practice and volunteer work, Dr. Lindquist realized there was no temporary housing support system for this vulnerable group within the 21-mile radius of the lake and included four counties -- Mecklenburg, Iredell, Cabarrus and Lincoln. She is the cornerstone of Hope House who rallied many others within this community to reach out and become loyal supporters of the Hope House mission and its vision in building and operating a transitional home.
The Hope House Foundation established its non-profit status in March 2005 once the house was purchased. In the autumn of 2005 Hope House decided to host a Katrina family for 13 months before the community embarked upon a major renovation to construct a two-level facility that took several years to complete from donated time and materials provided by the Lake Norman community and the Lake Norman Home Builders Association. In February 2009, Hope House received its Certificate of Occupancy. The next step was furnishing the house before tackling the operating component of staffing the house 24/7 and admitting its first residents.
Hope House opened its doors to full capacity in December 2009 with the assistance from The Salvation Army of Greater Charlotte who provided case management and day-to-day operations for six months until the Hope House board recruited a program director in March 2010 to run the house and oversee residents and volunteers. Hope House today is a reality in changing the lives of women and their children who experience homelessness in Lake Norman’s area, particularly during this time of severe economic hardship.
Situated on four acres in the Town of Huntersville, Hope House has 4,000 square feet of "energy-efficient" living space with a security system on two levels with three bedrooms on each level.
Services and Programs
In order for a woman to improve her employment status and find affordable housing, she and her children enter Hope House for a six month stay. The house can accommodate up to 12 individuals at one time for up to a six-month stay. Within a safe living environment, goals of Hope House residents can be pursued and include personal responsibility for taking care of the house, encouraging independent self-sufficiency through employment and educational objectives and working toward stable housing. Life skills training and support services offered by community resources, and case management services help the families to transition in six months.
Huntersville, NC – When searching for signs of autumn’s arrival one need look no further than the return of the annual Carolina Renaissance Festival. As sure as the changing color of the leaves, for eight consecutive weekends in October and November the Carolina Renaissance Festival brings a big dose of cheer, trumpet fanfare, clashing armor and giant roasted turkey legs.
During the medieval times, fall was the Harvest Season celebrated by festivals and fairs. This rings true as each Renaissance Festival day is filled with a bounty of attractions appropriate for all age groups.
Village purveyors offer an endless feast of bread bowl stews, premium meats on sticks, sweet treats and confections, and a favorite of all renaissance wanderers: a bag of cinnamon-roasted almonds! Festival pubs offer variety of Pepsi products, craft beer, wine, champagne, ale, honey mead, lemonade and Medieval Margaritas to compliment the day-long feast of hearty foods fit for royalty!
Twelve stages offer an abundance of costumed performers offering continuous music, dance, comedy, and circus entertainments. Unbalanced acrobats, the Ancient Art of Falconry, and the popular jousting tournament with horse mounted armored knights are all examples of the continuous entertainment options offered. Many of the shows are spontaneous and you will never know what happens next, on stage or off.
Shop an extensive array of craft vendors offering home décor, jewelry, clothing of renaissance and medieval fashion, blown and torched glass, handmade art and pottery. There are also activities for children of all ages that include people powered amusement rides and countryside faire games such as the castle climbing wall, archery and tomato tossing at a fool.
Each year the Carolina Renaissance Festival adds new entertainments and upgraded facilities for visitor enjoyment. New additions for 2016 include Hypnotist Rick Stratton, where hypnosis is real and members of the audience are taken on a journey they’ll never forget! Also new is the Giving Tree Interactive Drum Jams where children and adults alike will love picking up an instrument and joining in the creation of foot pounding rhythms!
The 23rd Carolina Renaissance Festival - where imagination, fantasy, and history burst to life. A place where adults can feel and act like children while children are treated as royalty. A magical realm where you will forget about your daily cares and enjoy the magic of a simpler time and place. A time traveling escape like no other!
WHEN YOU GO:
What: The 23rd annual Carolina Renaissance Festival.
Where: North of Charlotte between Concord and Huntersville. The Festival is located on Highway 73 at Poplar Tent Road (between I-77 and I-85).
When: Eight consecutive weekends, Saturdays and Sundays, from October 1st through November 20th,. The Festival runs from 10:00 AM until 5:30 PM, rain or shine.
Advance Discount Tickets: $23 for adults, $13 for kids ages 5-12; available at Harris Teeter Stores region wide. Tickets purchased at the gate are $1 more, or print your own online at carolina.renfestinfo.com. Seniors ages 60 and over and Military personnel (with valid ID) enjoy discount tickets at the gate with adults at $21 and $11 for children ages 5 – 12. Children under 5 are always free. Parking is free courtesy of Harris Teeter.
Event Sponsors: Harris Teeter, Pepsi, & the Charlotte Observer. Additional sponsors include: Sunbelt Rentals, Diamond Springs, Carolinas HealthCare System, Party City, Visit Lake Norman, Chick-Fil-A, Valpak, AAA of the Carolinas, Autobell Carwash, Jersey Mike’s, Qdoba Mexican Grill, Fluent Language Solutions , Hampton Inn & Suites - Charlotte/Huntersville, Apex Technology, and Charlotte Playsets.
Information: Online at carolina.renfestinfo.com, or call (704) 896-5544, toll free (877) 896-5544.
Historic Rural Hill – a nonprofit organization based in Huntersville, NC – will hold its annual SUMMER FOOD TRUCK RALLY on FRIDAY, JULY 15, 2016 from 4:00pm – 8:00pm. All ages are invited to attend and taste the great food found at our local food trucks. Parking is $5 per vehicle, admission is free, and food pricing will vary per food truck. Please bring CASH for parking and for the trucks that are cash-only. The band Coddle Creek will be playing live music while craft beer and wine will be available for purchase. Coddle Creek is a high energy creekgrass band from the foothills of NC that plays traditional bluegrass music with a kick. The sweet harmonies and dueling acoustic guitars of longtime friends Travis Weddington and Adam Lawrence are like no other. A Kid’s Zone, corn hole, hayrides around the property (fee applies), hiking, local merchants, and living history experiences will also be available. Complete event information can be found at www.ruralhill.net.
With more than 17 area food trucks taking part in each Rally, there is certain to be something for everyone. Food Trucks already confirmed for this year (although subject to slight change) include fan favorites Jive Turkey Legs, KO Food Truck, Polar Snoballs, Emergensweets, All-Star Café, Lobster Dogs, Juan Taco, Fire Grill, Sugar Shack Sweets, Kona Ice, as well as newcomers Kabobster’s, New Wrap Order, Buffalo’s Best, All-Star Italian Ice and Popsicles, Killer Q, Soca Mobile Eatery, and Dumpling Girls, with more being added daily!
Event will take place rain or shine. Parking is $5 and each food truck will set its own menu and pricing. Sorry, no outside food, beverages, or animals permitted. For information, directions, and event information visit www.ruralhill.net.
Celebrating more than 250 years in history...Rural Hill is located at 4431 Neck Road (off Beatties Ford Road) in Huntersville, 28078. The former homestead of Major John and Violet Davidson, the 265 acre site is maintained and promoted by Historic Rural Hill Inc. and features annual events such as the Rural Hill Scottish Festival and Loch Norman Highland Games, the Rural Hill Amazing Maize Maze, the Rural Hill Sheepdog Trials, and the NC Brewers and Music Festival. Historic Rural Hill Inc. is a non-profit organization supported through membership and donations, and with proceeds from its events utilized for the preservation of Historic Rural Hill and its education efforts. For more information on events or for financial support accepted securely online, please visit www.ruralhill.net.
For More information: Contact: 704-875-3113 or email@example.com
The Kilted Buffalo, LLC, with locations in Birkdale Village and Langtree at the Lake, was recognized by the Lake Norman Chamber of Commerce Friday, May 6th as the 2016 Small Business of the Year. In a first time move by the chamber of commerce, it recognized dual recipients of the award as both The Kilted Buffalo and Savory Moments, made extremely compelling cases for the annual business recognition.
Bill Russell, president of the chamber, said the judges felt Savory Moments, a local family operatied catering company, had grown their very successful business in a conventional manner – growth in revenues, market share, employees, and location. It was The Kilted Buffalo’s entrepreneurial approach to their business and operations, however, that intrigued the judges and led to their co-selection as The Best of the Best at Lake Norman.
Shawn Shrader, the Proprietor of the Kilted Buffalo opened his unique men’s hair salon in Birkdale Village five years ago. The business combined the concepts of “contemporary barbershop” with “neighborhood pub” creating a highly successful venture that has seen a second location opening at Langtree at the Lake.
Andrew Warfield, Editor of the Lake Norman Citizen Newspaper shared with chamber of commerce leaders why he felt The Kilted Buffalo was the right selection as the 2016 Small Business of the Year, “Shawn Shrader took a gamble when he opened the Kilted Buffalo. The concept was new to the area - a neighborhood pub that sells only beer and wine, does not prepare food but allows carry-out and delivery to customers inside, and cuts men’s hair. It was an instant hit with continuous growth over the past five to six years. Plus opening his second Lake Norman location within the last two years makes The Kilted Buffalo highly deserving of the honor of Small Business of the Year, particularly when considering its charitable efforts.”
The award was presented by 2017 Incoming Chamber of Commerce Board Chair Jay Lesemann, Jr. and Chamber President Bill Russell. Assisting the chamber was Huntersville Mayor John Aneralla who cited the regional approach Shrader has taken opening locations in both Huntersville and Moorevelle. The mayor said businesses like The Kilted Buffalo do not recognize town city limits and are not constrained by municipal boundaries. Instead, their market is the larger Lake Norman community. Shrader was joined by Jenny Monnin, the chief stylist and manager of The Kilted Buffalo Men's Salon along with Ken Easter, Director of Operations.
Shrader answered questions posed to him about the business. Below are his responses:
How has the business grown over the last year(s): you can speak to revenues, number of employees, locations.
We have grown by leaps and bounds in the 5 plus years we have been open here in Huntersville, Birkdale Village. From the day before we opened our doors to the public hosting the Lake Norman Chamber of Commerce AfterHours & ribbon cutting ceremony to today we have continued to grow significantly showing year over year sales growth for 5 straight years and by more than tripling the number of local people we employ. We are proud to be part of the Lake Norman community and have been fortunate enough to open a second location around LKN at LangTree at the Lake in Mooresville.
What innovative or successful business practice; marketing, events have ensured your success? What community activities are you involved in?
Our unique business of “contemporary barbershop” and neighborhood pub was created to bring back the days of old notion of bringing the community together and allowing them a place to gather like the old time barbershops or public house. We have strived from the beginning to become a positive member of the LKN community with grass roots marketing and involvement by partnering with all different kinds of local charities, groups, events and businesses. We believe that marketing and community involvement go hand in hand for example, sponsoring a LKN Little league team, and a local adult co-ed softball team.
We are tying local and national charities into a lot of our unique marketing events. We feel by creating fresh and exciting events to grow our business and bring our community together while raising money for great causes has been a big part of our ongoing successes. We are proud to say we help create events and host charity guest bartender events almost weekly and have helped raise over $20,000 a year for the past four years running and are on track to exceed that amount in 2016.
Some unique event examples are our recent “Zero k” race for The Hope House of Huntersville, our annual Kentucky Derby party and horse auction benefiting Kids Rein of Huntersville, to the numerous guest bartender events we host for all different types of causes for example: the annual Great Dane Rescue event hosted by Huntersville town commissioner Rob Kidwell to breast cancer awareness events, raising money for locals citizens in need and many other great causes.
Thank you for the honor of being selected Small Business of the Year. We look forward to continuing to grow our businesses and help the community for years to come.
Focus on: 2016 Lake Norman Chamber of Commerce Small Business of the Year: Savory Moments, LLC - Huntersville, NC
On Friday, May 6th, the 2017 Incoming Lake Norman Chamber Board Chair Jay Lesemann, Jr. presented the 2016 Small Business of the Year award to Heather Scovel and Jodi Wright – sisters and co-owners of Savory Moments, LLC. On hand to assist in the presentation was Huntersville Mayor John Aneralla and Chamber President Bill Russell.
Savory Moments is a family business that started as an idea the sisters had in their teens. They decided if they ever lived in the same city, they would open their own business. In 2009, Jodi had the opportunity to live closer to family, so her family moved to Charlotte. This gave the ladies the opportunity to begin planning their own catering business - Savory Moments. They put the business plan together and opened the doors on August 1st of 2009. Savory Moments has now proudly been open as a professional full service caterer for over 6 years. They continue to work at keeping their ideas fresh and to verify their niche in the marketplace.
Savory Moments has experienced business growth each year increasing production, hiring employees, and diversifying products as well as diversifying their business plan to include purchasing Real Estate and opening an Event Venue.
The following is their story:
Savory Moments began in 2009 with Jodi becoming unemployed and with the opportunity to move to Charlotte to live and be close to her sister, Heather was a possibility. Her family decided to make this possible and the adventure of opening their own family business was now a goal to prepare and make happen.
Heather and Jodi graduated High School in Bristol Tennessee and after High School followed their own career paths. Heather Scovel graduated from Johnson and Wales University, a Culinary School in Charleston, SC (1992) and began working in Charlotte, North Carolina. Heather has continued to work in the Food Service industry in Charlotte, many facets of the business from Baking, Catering, and Management to Food Service Director. Jodi Wright graduated from the University of Tennessee with a Bachelor of Science in Interior Design (1993). After moving around with her husband’s career they settled in Dothan, Alabama and Jodi worked in the Real Estate, Construction Office for a Transportation Company.
Both sisters worked in corporate environments for years working and raising their families. Times were changing and with the tightening of the economy, when the opportunity presented itself, they decided it was time to jump in and see if they could prove themselves in the marketplace. Joining together with different backgrounds and different business strengths they were hopeful they could complement each other and become a great team.
Savory Moments Catering has provided catering services for small groups to events that serve 1600 guests. We pride ourselves in providing excellent food service which can include rentals, linen, china service, and buffet set ups to full service catered events. Savory Moments is a member of the Lake Norman Chamber of Commerce, Charlotte and Cabarrus County Chamber of Commerce.
Savory Moments also has become a trademark that is put on our “Carolina Blu”. “Carolina Blu” is now sold at Harris Teeter Grocery Stores. This is a Blue Cheese and Honey spread that we made for our Cheese Trays when catering that people enjoyed.
Total Employees: 22 (Currently on staff) 7 Full time employees; 15 part-time employees – We also have a list of employees that we call for events when we need additional servers and bartenders.
2009 – 2 employee – which was Heather and Jodi
2010 – Grew a little with 2 full time and then 3 part-time
And then from there we just kept working at growing the business and employee count to help us with the increased growth.
Primary Business: Professional Full Service Catering, Magnolia Woods Event Facility, Retail Food Market with Savory Moments “Carolina Blu”
Savory Moments Catering offers Professional Full Service Gourmet Catering to the Charlotte Metro Area as well as Fort Mill and Salisbury. Corporate Catering is our specialty as well as Weddings and Special Events large and small. We strive to make our food, presentation and service wonderful and worry free.
Donations in 2015/2016
We really work hard to help with the Community and try to support our Schools, Churches and Non Profits but at the same time not giving away so much that we can not keep our doors open. I am listing just some of the groups that we try to help, we have had quite a few groups and this year when Heather and I sat down to plan out the year and to go over our goals we really wanted to try to focus on a specific group that would mean a lot to both of us. Our Grandmother recently passed after a very long illness with Alzheimer’s so after looking at several Charities we decided to have our main focus to assist Huntersville CARES (Community Alzheimer’s Resource and Education).
Some of the groups that we have supported and continue to support:
• JM Alexander Athletic Banquets
• HOHT donate food for their lunch
• UCUMC donate for different groups they need help with
• Winding Springs School
• Boy Scouts donation for their Silent Auction
• Ada Jenkins donation for their Silent Auction
• Mallard Creek Softball Team
• Mission Trip Sponsorships
• Monetary Donation for Children’s Hope Alliance
Recently I had the chance to watch the sun set over our beautiful Lake Norman. The bright orange skyline kissed the rippling waters. Teased by the wind, it skipped across the expanse that touched my soul and I was reminded of a passage in a book by Norman Maclean that read "Eventually, all things merge into one, and a river runs through it."
In the early 1980s, long before I joined the Lake Norman Chamber, my mom moved to Huntersville. I was struck on my first visit to North Meck with the rural country side. Considered a suburb of Charlotte, Huntersville was largely pastureland. Cornelius, just to the north, was a former mill town and surprisingly the real population seemed to reside in the little college town of Davidson.
Before the end of that decade, Huntersville businessman John Cherry would share a vision of what we could accomplish as a region by creating what was known at the time as the North Mecklenburg Chamber. The Chamber was composed of businesses in Huntersville, Davidson, and Cornelius with Town Board representation by all three towns. John created an opportunity for businesses to network and support each other. The organization quickly grew with the population, as did it's greater voice in the county and state.
In 1996, I was hired to serve as the Chamber's president and one of the primary challenges we faced was the shortage of classroom space. North Mecklenburg High School had the largest enrollment of any school in the state. Yet, Charlotte Mecklenburg School Board Members refused to acknowledge the desperate need for a new High School in north end of the county.
I still vividly recall a group from the Chamber going to a CMS meeting to passionately advocating for the new school. We orchestrated the collective voice of the towns, community, and business leaders and through determination and a commitment to our kids, we were successful in getting Hopewell High built.
Soon we saw our communities begin to grow together. Folks living in Huntersville, working in Cornelius, employing staff from Denver and Mooresville, and shopping in Davidson. The name of the Chamber was changed to reflect our more regional identity - Lake Norman - but our commitment remained steadfast in our roots to North Mecklenburg.
The Chamber stretched its ability to advocate for business when we successfully lobbied for an access management study for Hwy 73. The NC DOT countered such an undertaking had never been done. It took the collaborative efforts of three chambers, three counties, and several municipalities but it resulted in what is known today as the Highway 73 Council of Planning.
It was the Lake Norman Chamber that first brought the three North Mecklenburg towns together at quarterly dinner meetings to share ideas and opportunities. That process evolved into four towns as Mooresville was invited to join.
The Lake Norman Chamber also gave birth to two other outstanding organizations serving our region - Visit Lake Norman and the Lake Norman Economic Development Corporation. Both were initiatives of the chamber. Community leaders recognized the unbridled opportunities when you partner the towns together with the chamber of commerce.
John Cherry told me that it was difficult early on to recognize the sum of parts was greater than anything we could have accomplished on our own. Even today, almost three decades later, some think that progress means going back to where we started - working separately, rather than together. I think the past thirty years prove that is not the sound strategy. When we work hard, work smart, and work together, there is no limit to what we can accomplish for our communities, commerce, and citizens. The Lake Norman Chamber has indeed been a catalyst to bring our communities together and accomplish so much that each could not have done independently. We have grown our business community and we are working to meet the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead.
Standing on that dock, watching another day end and a new one set to take its place, I realized our North Mecklenburg communities have indeed merged into one.
Eventually, the vision has become reality and the energy and passion of our people run through it.
President & CEO
Lake Norman Chamber of Commerce
For nearly twenty years, the Lake Norman Chamber of Commerce has advocated for a public beach to be created in North Mecklenburg for the residents and guests of Cornelius, Davidson, Huntersville and neighboring Lake Norman communities. Chamber president Bill Russell first cited the need for a public swimming beach in editorials to area papers in 1997. According to Russell, “While there is a public beach at Lake Norman Sate Park in Troutman (Exit 42), unless you have lake front property or a personal watercraft or access to either, you simply are left high and dry at the lake.”
Momentum for public swimming in North Mecklenburg really took a step forward with the hiring of Jim Garges as the Mecklenburg County Parks and Recreation Director in 2007. Former Mecklenburg County Commissioner (District #1) Karen Bentley and NC Senator Jeff Tarte, then Cornelius Mayor, added their strong support and moved the project forward with other elected officials and county staff.
After years of advocating, planning, budgeting, and ultimately constructing North Mecklenburg’s first Public Beach it is set to open Memorial Day Weekend. Parks and Recreation Director Garges indicated at previous workshops held on the topic that the county planned to spend $425,700 on the beach which should host approximately 500 swimmers. It is anticipated parking will accommodate 127 cars.
Garges will be on hand to give business and community leaders details on the project at the Lake Norman Chamber of Commerce’s Focus Friday this Friday, March 18th from 8:30 am until 10 am at the Chamber located at 19900 West Catawba Avenue in Cornelius. The program is presented by Novant Health Huntersville Medical Center and sponsored by Business Today and WISC 100.7 FM. It is intended for Lake Norman Chamber members but members of the public are welcomed provided they RSVP to the Chamber at 704-892-1922.
Garges will be joined by Mecklenburg County Commissioner Jim Puckett who will share his perspective on the new beach and other county issues.
The Lake Norman Chamber of Commerce with approximately 1,000 members serves the business communities of Huntersville, Davidson, Cornelius, and the greater Lake Norman region.