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There is not much that makes someone who works for a Chamber of Commerce happier than seeing new businesses open and existing businesses expand. Both are signs of a strengthening economy. Here in the Lake Gaston region, we have several businesses in various phases of development. Let’s take a look at a few of which we are already enjoying the fruits of their labor and some to which we can look forward. If you have noticed dirt moving across the street from Wildwood Nursery and Roanoke-Wildwood Volunteer Fire Department, it is because Sherry Newton and her husband have begun clearing a lot for her new business. Sherry is actually going to construct two storefronts, one for herself and one that can be leased to another new business. Sherry’s business is going to be called Sew What?, a full-service Husqvarna Viking sewing and embroidery machine dealership, fabric store and classroom with custom embroidery and quilting services. Right beside of Subway you will see a beautiful new building under construction. That building is going to be the new home of Coldwell Banker. The new Coldwell Banker office building is slated to be complete in late-Spring. A beautiful lighted sign adorns the doorway of another new business that will be ready to open by Spring. River Road Café is located beside Shannon & Company Hair Salon and will be an exciting new addition to our Lake Gaston regional dining establishments. You may have also noticed some dirt moving around Lake Gaston Fitness. The exercise facility is undergoing an expansion to better serve its customers. We are very happy to see this fantastic business grow. The week before Thanksgiving, the LKG Regional Chamber of Commerce was pleased to host a ribbon cutting for Lake Gaston Coffee Company, owned and operated by husband and wife Jason and Shelly Shearin. The Shearins are doing a fantastic job of roasting a variety of coffees from around the world and blending their own creations like the new Shiner’s Blend, available exclusively at our own Ace Hardware. The coffee will also be available at The Corner Lot’s Norton’s at the Lake, and Jason will be at The Corner Lot’s Open House this Saturday for you to be able to sample and purchase his brew. Lake Life Clothing Company, a longtime staple in the Food Lion Shopping Center and creator of signature Lake Life shirts, has opened a second location in Roanoke Rapids in the Belk Shopping Center near Wal-Mart. Both locations of Lake Life Clothing Company carry fantastic brands like Billabong, Roxi, Guy Harvey, and more. Another of our staple Lake Gaston businesses – Lake Gaston Appliance – opened a second location in South Hill earlier this year. Many businesses achieve success and help the towns in which they are located by renovating older buildings. Such has been the case with Susan Harris, owner of Quilt Lizzy in Warrenton. Susan has built a fantastic business offering fabric & notions, Janome, Brother, Handiquilter, AnitaGoodesign, Floriani, Horn of America, patterns and anything you can imagine for quilting and embroidery. Most recently, the LKG Regional Chamber did a ribbon cutting for Susan’s latest project, another historic building renovation where she has created a gorgeous training center. Other businesses see existing buildings and make them work to fit their business. One such business is Lake Gaston Jet Ski. One of the partners of Lake Gaston Jet Ski, Larry Liles, contacted the Chamber about available commercial property. We pointed him in the direction of Stonehouse Commons, a great building located on Highway 903. Larry contacted the building owner, and a new relationship, thus a new business, was born since the building suited Larry and his partner’s needs. Still other business people take over from existing successful businesses when those business owners leave the area. Two such businesses are Salted Rim Designs (formerly Mary Sherwood Lake Living) and The Flower Shoppe at Lake Gaston (formerly Lake Gaston Flower Shop). Both Charlotte of Salted Rim and Stacy of The Flower Shoppe have done an amazing job of reinventing these businesses to incorporate their own ideas, while still responding to the needs and wants of the client base. It can be a daunting task to remake a business, especially one that has been a staple in the community for many years, but these ladies have done so with grace and ingenuity, and they deserve our support. Finally, still other businesses take an existing business and go in a completely new direction. It is very hard to believe, but Lynn and Johnny Norton have done just that. They took the Lake Gaston Flea Market (only a little over a year ago) and began building The Corner Lot complex. It is hard enough to build one business, but to create several in the span of one year is amazing. The Corner Lot is home to Norton’s at the Lake (restaurant with The Thirsty Fish bar and The Front Porch for in-season drinks & entertainment. There you will also find The Marketplace with both indoor and outdoor vendors, flea market and consignment. People of all ages love Lakeside Mini-Golf and Mad Freeze (sno-balls and soft serve ice cream). In short, the creativity and dedication of these Lake Gaston businesspeople are phenomenal! The LKG Regional Chamber of Commerce is here to assist new and existing businesses every step of the way. We also often call on our small business partners at the three regional community colleges – Halifax, Southside Virginia and Vance-Granville – to bring additional ideas and resources to the table. Together, we can help YOU get down to BUSINESS!

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