MINT HILL, NC – On Thursday, November 17, the Mint Hill Chamber of Commerce held its Annual Members Meeting & Gala at Pine Lake Country Club. The event marked the first of its kind to be held in person in two years.
Themed “A Night Among The Stars, Together We Shine,” it was a time to celebrate this year’s accomplishments as well as look forward to all the things the Chamber anticipates launching and accomplishing in 2023.
As members arrived, they had the opportunity to visit two “Networking with a Purpose” tables sponsored by Anna Granger (1st Choice Properties). “Member can scan our QR code and make a donation to our organization in any amount and put together a few of our snack packs,” explained Melissa Tamez from Bright Blessings. “These will go out to students in CMS, Union or Gaston county schools within the next couple weeks.” Across the room, members purchased and assembled breakfast-themed snack packs with The Sunflower Club for Thanksgiving boxes and local food pantries.
The evening’s official program kicked off with a welcome from Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Paige McKinney and an invocation delivered by Navondria Huggins (Blessed Assurance Adult Day Care). McKinney then introduced the evening’s speaker Denise White, Interim South Market President and Facility Executive for Atrium Health Union.
White spoke not only about the opening of Atrium’s new Union West facility located off Highway 74 in Matthews but also about the growing problem of food insecurity facing our community. “One of the key things we do at Atrium Health is look at the needs of our community,” said White. “Most of us in this room take if for granted that food is going to be there for us, but we have neighbors that don’t have that luxury. One of the things that is very important to us at Atrium Health is looking at how we can partner with individuals like you to address those needs of food insecurity.”
2022 Executive Board President and nine-year member Rick Peniston (Peniston Deason Attorneys at Law) praised the essential work the Chamber does to make Mint Hill a wonderful palace to live and work. “We are responsible for our own success and our own prosperity, and we make it happen through effort, collaboration, and passion,” said Pensiton. “Success and prosperity in our town doesn’t trickle down from above; it comes from the ground up. The Chamber and our collaboration is what makes us successful and makes Mint Hill a wonderful place for our families and our businesses.”
Peniston recognized three members who will complete their terms of service on the Executive Board as 2022 draws to a close: Secretary Joy Greear (Novant Health Mint Hill Medical Center), Kat dePrater (Mint Hill Flower Market), and Past President Kim Rhodarmer (Servants Heart of Mint Hill). Four new nominees were unanimously approved to the 2023 Executive Board: Missy Baker (Atrium Health Union West), Scott Salisbury (SWS Financial Group, Inc.), Tara Goodfellow (Athena Educational Consultants), and Tetnika Williamson (Independence High School). Salisbury and Williamson were each elected for a second term; Goodfellow will serve her first term, and Baker will serve her first elected term after fulfilling the term of another director.
Three important awards were presented to deserving Chamber members: the Tina Ross Business Leadership Award, the Business Partner of the Year Award, and the Ambassador of the Year award.
Presented annually to an individual who has positively contributed to the betterment of Mint Hill’s business community, the 2022 Tina Ross Business Leadership Award was presented to Tony Long. Well known as one of Mint Hill’s Commissioners, Long also serves on the North Carolina Transportation Board, teaches student drivers, and volunteers with organizations like the Lions Club. He has a passion for teaching trades to young people and was instrumental in getting trade education introduced into the school system.
“Very humbling,” said Long, describing what it was like to win the award. “I’m surrounded by all these good people. I’m blessed and this town is so good to me.” For Long, who knew and worked with Ross, Tina “set the standard.” “I miss her to this day,” added Long, who aspires to be “just half the person she was.”
The Business Partner of the Year Award is presented annually to an organization that supports the Chamber’s mission through collaboration, community engagement, sponsorship, and volunteering time and resources. Selected by the Chamber’s ambassadors from six businesses honored this year as Business of the Month was Madi McKinney (Primis Mortgage).
“I’m honestly so honored!” said McKinney, who was all smiles. “I feel like I put a lot of time and energy into the Chamber but I never expected this, so I feel really blessed to be selected.”
The Ambassador of the Year award was presented to Taylor Grimes (SERVPRO). “It was such a shock, I had no idea!” said Grimes, struggling for words. SERVPRO has been a Chamber member for many years, but Grimes distinguished herself as an ambassador this through her extensive involvement with the Chamber.
Grimes and McKinney represent a growing contingent of young business leaders in Mint Hill, and the pair plan to start a young professionals group in 2023 to encourage more young businessmen and women to join and participate in the Chamber.
“We really just see a need for it in Mint Hill,” said McKinney. “A lot of the people here are established, and that’s amazing – they’ve been in the Chamber for years and years. But there are newcomers that just don’t know how to get involved, so we want to start a section of the Chamber just for us.”
The Annual Meeting & Gala would not be possible without the generosity of many sponsors. The Chamber extends its gratitude to Title Sponsor Atrium Health, Networking with a Purpose Sponsor 1st Choice Properties, Dessert Sponsor Daphne’s Bakery and Venue Sponsor Massage Sanctuary.
Additionally, the Chamber would like to thank the sixteen members who sponsored tables: Athena Consultants, Blessed Assurance Adult Daycare, Carolina Hemp Company of Mint Hill, Charlotte Plumbing Solutions, Chick-fil-A Mint Hill, Farm Bureau Insurance – Blakely Atkins, H&S Therapeutic Services, Leisure Travel Experts, Level Up Logo, Mint Hill Coffee and Social House, Peniston Deason Attorneys, Primis Mortgage, Servant’s Heart of Mint Hill, SERVPRO of East Charlotte, State Farm Insurance – Mint Hill Wil, and Royal Kartier Beauty Spa.
As the program drew to a close, incoming Executive Board President Phil Angelo (Leisure Travel Experts) looked forward to 2023, where the Chamber aims to become an official 501c3 and earn accreditation with the United States Chamber of Commerce. “2023’s going to be a big year for you,” he said, addressing the crowd. “You’re going to do amazing things in 2023. This is your business organization, and I have never seen a better place to grow business than this organization.”