Chamber holds annual meeting with special guest

Retired Air Force Colonel Quincy Collins speaks to members of the Mint Hill Chamber of Com- merce at its annual meeting Wednesday October 25. PHOTO BY DEREK LACEY

The Mint Hill Chamber of Commerce held its annual member luncheon October 25, at Pine Lake Country Club, voted for new members of the board of directors, and enjoyed a speech by Ret. Air Force Colonel Quincy Collins.

Former Mint Hill mayor Bob Long, Mint Hill police Chief Tim Ledford, and commissioner and mayor pro tem Lloyd Austin were in attendance for the lunch and Collins’ presentation. The members of the Chamber cast votes for 2013 board spots, and the chamber recognized a year that saw 30 new members.New Chamber members Candice Wood Photography, Scott Clark’s Toyota, and Superior Insurance were welcomed at the meeting.

President Rich Ferretti spoke in reflection of the year, thanking ambassadors and directors, and introducing Col. Collins.

Collins spoke about his days growing up in Concord, how the community changed after Pearl Harbor and how the country felt about the war and supported the troops, calling for America to remember, and to return to those feelings of support and patriotism.

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Chamber holds monthly meeting

Dianne Beck, speaking at the monthly Chamber meeting at Jimmie’s Restaurant.

At the monthly Chamber of Commerce Luncheon September 27, Dr. Dianne Beck, director of leadership and staff development at CPCC Levine Campus, spoke about CPCC and what it offers the community, how the college was established from the old Central High School building in Charlotte, and how students can acquire a low cost, quality education without having to go far to get it.

The Chamber also welcomed many new members, and some representatives from those companies were present to discuss what they offer: Carolyn Powell with The Center for Life Learning, Brittany Kjos with Fit You Studio, Nancy Bradley with RelyLocal, and Angela Gordon with Spotlight Performing Arts. Other companies welcomed to the chamber were Fullwood Animal Hospital, Harris Teeter, A Parent’s Time Out, Charlotte Eye, Ear, Nose, and Throat Associates, Superior Insurance, and Victory Johnson.


Victory Junction provides camp for ill children

Carolyn Mullis spoke to the Chamber of Commerce last Thursday about Victory Junction, a Nascar-themed camp for chronically ill children.

The Petty family founded victory Junction in Randleman, N.C after their son died in a racing accident.  They donated 84 acres to build the camp.

Mullis described it as “one of the most amazing places in the world,” and it is funded “through the wonderful support of Nascar drivers and fans.”

More than 14,000 children and families have spent a summer week or a weekend at Victory Junction since it opened in 2004.  Children from every state in the U.S. as well as seven countries have attended camp.  Over 13,000 volunteers positions since 2004 have assisted in its operation.

Camp is free to children, thanks to donations from corporations, small businesses, and individuals.  Thirty hospitals provide medical assistance as well.  Campers’ chronic medical conditions include autism, cancer, diabetes, hemophilia, and spina bifida, among many others.

There are 35-40 full time staff members, and camp relies on 70 summer counselors and 70 volunteers each week.

Mullis said the camp provides an opportunity for kids to gain independence from their parents, learn from others with medical challenges, and make friends.

She encouraged chamber members to take a tour of the camp, and to get involved through volunteering or donating.

“It does take, not only a lot of volunteers, it takes money to keep this place open…one of the bad things about building a place like this is it takes a lot of money to keep it going,” said Mullis.  “You get a wonderful feeling when you’re there.  It’s just indescribable how it can lift your spirits.”

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Chamber welcomes new member

Rich Ferretti welcomed Yatin Patel at RX Care Pharmacy into the Chamber of Commerce at the July meeting. Photo by Amanda Waters

The Chamber of Commerce met at Jimmie’s last Thursday.  Rich Ferretti welcomed everyone and made some announcements.

The Mint Hill Madness committee is looking for volunteers to help with arts and crafts at the festival.  He introduced the board of directors and the new ambassadors.

“Your chamber is growing, and I just think that’s a wonderful thing,” said Ferretti.

Denise Hallett announced the new member orientation will be Thursday, September 13 from 4-5:30 pm at Pine Lake Country Club.  The orientation is open to all members.

“It’s a chance for you to learn a little bit about what the chamber is doing,” said Hallett.  “In order for this to grow we’ll need your help.”

The chamber welcomed its newest member, Yatin Patel at RX Care Pharmacy.  The pharmacy is located at 11304 Hawthorne Drive Suite 120.  Patel provided an overview of services, including generic medications for $3.50, free delivery to homes in Mint Hill, and working with pharmaceutical companies to provide medications to those without insurance.

Dana Gravely announced plans for Kilahpalooza.  She asked businesses for raffle prize donations.

Nate Huggins announced Blessed Assurance won a $40,000 handicap accessible van, and he invited the chamber to a community event to be held at Scott Clark’s Toyota dealership.

“I want to thank each and every one of you,” said Huggins.

Karrie Lawrence announced the Kiwanis Club golf tournament and asked for sponsorship.

Whitleigh Cook announced the flash mob plans for Mint Hill Madness and asked for participants.  To participate in the flash mob, contact Cook at

Carolyn Mullis announced the Matthews-Mint Hill Optimist Club will meet every second and fourth Wednesday from noon to 1 pm at the Palmetto Grill.  She invited others to join.

“These wonderful service organizations make all the difference in our community,” said Mullis.

During the testimonial section of the meeting, Mike Cochran said “I have never had a bad experience with any business in mint hill.  Most of the folks who open up businesses in mint hill have pride in what they’re doing.”


Dunwellz grand opening

Photo by Amanda Waters.

The Mint Hill Chamber of Commerce extended their welcome to Dunwellz last Thursday with a ribbon cutting for their grand opening.  Commissioners Lloyd Austin, Mickey Ellington, and Tina Ross were in attendance, along with Chamber members and Dunwellz owners, the Toler family.

“We welcome you to Mint Hill…. It’s a pleasure to have you as a part of this community,” said Austin.

“On behalf of the Chamber, also, we’d like to say thank you for being a part of the community, and you know that we’re here for you; because we’re only successful if you’re successful, so welcome to our family,” Rodney Rothoff.

Dunwellz is celebrating their grand opening by introducing their weekly specials.  Look for wing night, ladies night, cornhole tournaments, and live music throughout the week.

The restaurant has been open since June 13, and patrons have already announced, “Mint Hill needs this place.”


Queen’s Grant: past, present, future

Dr. Mike Smith spoke to the Mint Hill Chamber of Commerce about Queen’s Grant High School. Photo by Amanda Waters.

Queen’s Grant High School principal, Dr. Mike Smith, presented a talk to the Mint Hill Chamber of Commerce last Thursday entitled “Queen’s Grant High School: Our legacy, past, present, and future.”  Queen’s Grant is a local public charter school founded in 2006.  Its doors opened to students in the fall of 2007, and it moved from the Garr Christian Academy to its current location on Idlewild Road in 2009.

Smith clarified that a charter school is a school of choice, and it does not raise taxes.  Charter schools exist on the same money allocated to other public schools, and Queen’s Grant does not receive money for buildings.

Before coming to Mint Hill, Smith was the founding principal of the Greensboro Academy.  Mayor Ted Biggers and a group of about 25 parents visited Greensboro to learn more about building a school for Mint Hill.  What resulted was a partnership with National Heritage Academies and the founding of Queen’s Grant Community School, offering kindergarten through eighth grade.  The success of that institution inspired the establishment of Queen’s Grant High School.  Smith joined the staff as principal last fall.

Presently, Queen’s Grant proudly offers 10 advanced placement courses.  It is a no-nonsense campus that holds students accountable.

“If you can remember what school was like in the late ‘50s, early ‘60s, that’s what ours is like.  We don’t tolerate anything,” said Smith.  “Expectations are extremely high.”

In the next few years, Smith wants to see 18 AP courses offered.  He wants an enrollment of 750 students and another campus.

“Sports are not our focus,” he said, but he does want sports to be available to students.  Volunteers are assisting with athletic fields.  The school is adding soccer, baseball, and lacrosse.

As Queen’s Grant looks to the future, it will continue to hold students accountable and prepare them for college.

“We will not lower the bar. You have to rise to our expectations,” said Smith.

A large majority of last year’s graduating class of 88 students said they intended to further their academic careers – 95 percent.  As a whole, the class had been accepted to over 50 colleges, including William and Mary, UNC Chapel Hill, NC State, the Citadel, Virginia Tech, Clemson, and Baylor.