Business briefs: Chamber gala will be Jan. 9

Published 12:00 am Sunday, December 22, 2019

SALISBURY — The Rowan County Chamber of Commerce’s 94th Annual Gala will be held on Thursday, Jan. 9, 6 p.m. at the West End Plaza (1935 Jake Alexander Blvd.). Novant Health Rowan Medical Center is the title sponsor.

“The theme of this year’s Annual Gala is ‘2020 Vision: Our Time to Shine’ and we look forward to having a fun event that showcases the best of Rowan County,” said Cindy Hart (Great American Publishing Company), chair of the event.

The gavel will pass from 2019 Chair Nicole Holmes Matangira with Holmes Iron and Matangira Recycling Inc. to 2020 Chair Gary Blabon with Novant Health Rowan Medical Center. Awards will be presented for Paul E. Fisher Chamber Volunteer of the Year, Chamber Champion Small Business of the Year and the Duke Energy Citizenship & Service Award.

There will be a reception and dinner catered by The Smoke Pit. Dress is business professional or semi-formal. Corporate sponsorship tables are $1,000 with eight premium seats. Individual tickets are available for Chamber members at $50 per person or $85 per couple (two tickets) and will not be assigned seating (first come; first served). Non-members are welcome to attend, however, the price is $80 per person.

The reservation deadline is Friday, Jan. 3. For more information, please contact the Chamber at 704-633-4221 or or visit

Four new vendors

SALISBURY – Four new shops are now open at Salisbury Antiques & Artifacts according to owners Harrison and Martha Smith. Those vendors include:

Robert Toth – Toth is a noted American artist whose gallery at Salisbury Antiques & Artifacts includes a variety of paintings, sculptures and mixed media pieces. He can often be found on-site to discuss his work.

Lillian Gascoigne – A Salisbury native and long-time purveyor of fine antiques and collectibles, Lillian Gascoigne will offer mall patrons an exquisite selection of books, paintings, porcelain, sterling, glassware and more.

Patt Legg – Legg is a local artist whose works are known for their rich, vivid color and texture. Her shop features original oil paintings and painted furniture, as well as collectibles. Legg, who also does commissioned portraits, can sometimes be found working from her space at the store.

Envintage – Pamela Thompson and Jacquelyn Jensen are the owners of Envintage, a charming, carefully- curated shop offering an assortment of vintage pieces to repurpose, reuse or reimagine. The mother-daughter duo have also handcrafted a number of items that are now available for holiday giving. 

Salisbury Antiques & Artifacts, located at 111 S. Main St. in downtown Salisbury, is open Fridays and Saturdays, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information call 704-762-9278.

Cabarrus CVB honors professionals

CONCORD –The Cabarrus County Convention and Visitors Bureau recently honored hospitality and tourism professionals during the seventh annual Celebrate Cabarrus and Golden Helmet Awards.

“Our community is fortunate to have so many dedicated partners serving Cabarrus County’s visitors,” said Cabarrus County CVB President and CEO Donna Carpenter. “We appreciate all they do and always look forward to recognizing their contributions at this special event.”

2019 Golden Helmet Award recipients are:

Restaurant of the Year – 44 Mills Kitchen + Tap

Attraction of the Year – iFLY Indoor Skydiving

Hotel of the Year – Hampton Inn & Suites Concord (Exit 49)

Small Business of the Year – Cabarrus Brewing Company

Outstanding Ambassador – Tim Hagler, Charlotte Motor Speedway

Unsung Hero – Chantel Alston-Wynn, Hilton Garden Inn

Hospitality Professional of the Year – Owen Parker, Hilton Garden Inn

Hospitality Humanitarian Award – Sheryl Kluge

Hometown Hero – Kathleen & Justin Reeder

Destination Visionary Award – Castle & Cooke and the City of Kannapolis

Smith Family Lifetime Achievement Award – Ray Soporowski

The Cabarrus County CVB also recognized Housekeeping Employees of the Year, Volunteer of the Year and Top Visitor Center Referrals during the program.

The Golden Helmet Awards honor those who continuously make memorable experiences for visitors through exceptional customer service. Cabarrus County hospitality partners can nominate persons within their organization or the community that go beyond the call of duty to wow guests and strengthen the destination’s reputation.

In 2018, tourism in Cabarrus County generated $469.31 million in visitor spending. For more tourism impact statistics, view “The Economic Impact of Travel on North Carolina Counties”—a study prepared for Visit North Carolina by the U.S. Travel Association.

Visit for a full gallery of images.

Debbie Norman has joined the Cabarrus CVB executive assistant. In this role, Norman is responsible for providing administrative support to President and CEO Donna Carpenter and serves as liaison to the CVB’s Board of Directors.

“Debbie brings a special combination of skills, industry knowledge and genuine hospitality to our team,” said Carpenter. “We’re proud to have her represent this organization and the destination.”

Most recently serving as event logistics/public relations coordinator at Charlotte Motor Speedway, Norman has held several key roles with motorsports-related organizations throughout her career including NASCAR, the NASCAR Hall of Fame and the Official NASCAR Members Club. She also served as general manager and promoter for Langley Speedway and Southside Speedway and received NASCAR’s Team Player of the Year Award.

Prior to her time in motorsports, Norman served as business development officer for Langley Federal Credit Union. Norman is a graduate of Christopher Newport University in Newport News, Virginia, where she earned a bachelor of arts degree in International Business and Economics.

IDEA grants

NC IDEA, a private foundation committed to supporting entrepreneurial ambition and economic empowerment in North Carolina, has announced that the organization will kick off its Spring 2020 Grants Cycle with information sessions throughout the state.

The upcoming information sessions scheduled in January and February will highlight NC IDEA’s two upcoming grant opportunities that support ambitious, growth-oriented companies:

  • NC IDEA MICRO awards small, project-based grants up to $10K to young companies looking to validate and advance their idea.
  • NC IDEA SEED offers early stage companies the critical funding they need to scale faster. The $50K grants are awarded to innovative startups with a proven concept – even if they are not yet profitable.

Interested applicants may attend any of the following information sessions to learn more about NC IDEA’s grant opportunities and gain insight on how to write a competitive application. Learn more on how to apply, what NC IDEA looks for in an application and which opportunity may be most appropriate and beneficial for you and your company.

In addition to information sessions, applicants can also schedule Virtual Office Hours. To register for any of the information sessions or sign up for Virtual Office Hours, visit NC IDEA MICRO and NC IDEA SEED grant applications open Feb. 3, 2020, and close March 2, 2020 at 5 p.m. EST.

Mambo Grill closing for renovations

Mambo Grill will be closed temporarily for renovations beginning Dec. 31. Extended hours will be offered on Dec. 29.

The historic building where the restaurant is located, at 122 E. Fisher St., requires a rehabilitation of the restaurant space.

The reopening date has not been determined, but patrons can follow progress on social media.