News, Information, Opportunities & Benefits
June 5, 2015
Welcome to Our New Members!

Thirty area companies and organizations have joined the Burke County Chamber of Commerce over the first five months of 2015. "We extend a hearty welcome to these new members, who represent a cross-section of our business community across the county," said Jerry Davis, Chamber President & CEO. "We appreciate their vote of confidence and welcome the opportunity to provide them with a growing range of services, as we work together to grow business and build community." New members year-to-date are:

  • Hairfield Vaults Companies
  • Joseph Hasty and Centerpiece Jazz
  • NC School for the Deaf Foundation
  • Brown Mountain Bottleworks, LLC
  • Farm Bureau Insurance - Josh Anthony
  • Pritchard Designs
  • Centrilogic
  • Willow Run Apartments
  • Senior Deaf and Blind Community
  • Burke United Christian Ministries
  • Burke County Literacy Council
  • Everett Chevrolet Buick GMC of Morganton
  • Valdese Cleaners
  • Buck's Pizza and Wings
  • HoneyBee's Events
  • Edward Jones - Trent Turner, Financial Advisor
  • Foundation Forward, Inc.
  • Main Street Restaurant, LLC
  • South Creek Vineyards & Winery
  • MyTown USA TM
  • Lake Hickory Adventures
  • Foothills Service Project
  • Mariannes Sol Mate Socks
  • Cracker Barrel Old Country Store #693
  • East Valdese Motors
  • Solid Rock Familiy Medicine
  • LaurelHouse Designs, LLC
  • Historic Burke Foundation, Inc.
  • The Powers Realty Group, LLC
  • Burke Bedding & Furniture Group

Walmart Opens Neighborhood Market


To the raising of the Stars and Stripes and the strains of the national anthem, more than 100 people gathered Wednesday morning for the opening of
Store Manager Gene Taylor and Morganton Mayor Mel Cohen formally open the new Walmart Neighborhood Market.
the new Walmart Neighborhood Market at 1001 North Green street. Store manager Gene Taylor and Morganton Mayor Mel Cohen made it official, cutting the ribbon and opening the doors for early shoppers, local dignitaries and Walmart associates who arrived early for the     7 am ceremony and first day of business. The 41,000 square foot building features not only traditional grocery store items but also an in-store pharmacy with a drive-through. The Walmart Neighborhood Market will be open 24/7 and provide about 100 full- and part-time jobs. Taylor cited himself in talking about growth opportunities the company provides for its associates, recounting how he started as an hourly worker, eventually advancing to manage a store.

25% Discount for Chamber Members
MyTownUSA™ Partners with Chamber 

Burke County native Chase Highley was looking for an innovative way to connect consumers and small businesses in his home town of Morganton. His quest led him to develop a patent pending, Internet-based product he named MyTownUSA™,one of the Chamber's newest members. The product (Click here to visit web site) incorporates websites and phone apps, interfaced with social media. MyMorganton™ is the first city in what Chase envisions will grow into a multi-city enterprise. "What we are building is a 21st ce 
ntury marketing company that saves the on-the-go family money and time, while helping consumers find the services and products they are looking for," he said. "Businesses can customize their product and service listings in such features as My Deals, My Spotlight and our Facebook Town pages any day and time that's convenient for the merchant. We also offer the highest quality website development available at low cost, affordable rates for businesses,"

As a new partner with the Burke Chamber, Chase is offering all Chamber members an exclusive 25% discount on their choice of MyTownUSA™'s one-year Basic or Pro membership. Chase said this new service "lets small businesses to use the most effective and affordable advertising media available as they build a stronger customer base. MyTownUSA™ is your total Internet marketing solution." 

HoneyBee's Goal: Putting a Buzz in Special Events

Stacey Ripley is accustomed to wearing several hats at once. For nearly three years, she handled the Burke Chamber's year-round calendar of special events, taking such occasions at the Annual Meeting and Golf Classic to new levels of creativity and member attendance. In her off hours, she planned weddings and developed creative plans for fund raisers, anniversaries and themed galas for customers ranging from corporations and area non-profits to individuals. 

Stacey left her position as VP of Business Development at the Chamber in May to devote full-time attention to a personal business she actually started in 2003, HoneyBee's Events. 


 "HoneyBee's Events is a full service event planning service based in Morganton," Stacey explained. "I offer personalized event design to reflect your style, vision and budget by working with each client to create unique, memorable events and occasions. An event with Honeybee's will be nothing short of a wonderful experience!," she added.

In addition to weddings and corporate events, HoneyBee's can provide turnkey services for corporate fundraisers, holiday parties, anniversaries, birthdays and more. The company can also set up wine, brew and food tours in and around Morganton. Holiday Parties "We can also provide decorations and rentals, making HoneyBee's your one-stop resource for a truly memorable event," Stacey said. For more information, call (828) 443-1629.


Ther-Equine Completes New Riding Arena


Eight months ago, well-wishers gathered at the Stone Creek Equestrian Center to break ground on constructing a new covered riding arena. On May 18, staff and guests celebrated its completion with a morning ribbon-cutting. Besides recreational riding, the equestrian center is home to Ther-Equine, a non-profit program that brings healing therapy to people with physical, emotional or mental challenges through the use of horses in a unique and exciting approach to therapy. The new arena  is equipped with ramps so that riders can mount the horses or be assisted as needed. Fences and gates provide additional safety measures. In addition to Therapeutic Riding led by certified Therapeutic Riding Instructors, Ther-Equine offers a "Stable Life," a holistic recovery model for those with mental, emotional, trauma, and substance use issues. Another program, "Hippotherapy," is a physical, occupational, or speech therapy treatment strategy that utilizes the movement of the horse as part of an integrated treatment program. For more information on these programs,  volunteering, donating or to make an appointment for evaluation with Ther-Equine, call Wendy Bradshaw at 828-443-0272, email or visit Ther-Equine can also be found on Facebook.


Psalms Urgent Care/Solid Rock Family Medicine Open New Offices

Psalms Urgent Care & Solid 

(L-R) Past Chamber Board Chairman Scott Mulwee; Practice Manager Cindy Biddix; Psalms Owner Barbara Deaton, FNP-C, Emergency Medicine Practitioner, and Nationally Registered DOT Medical Examiner; are joined by Sidney Simmons, Morganton City Councilman, at the ribbon cutting.
Rock Family Medicine have moved from their College Street location behind Burke Pharmacy to new, more visible offices at 304 South Green downtown Morganton. Along with staff and guests, owner Barbara Deaton, RN, BSN, MSN, FNP, BC celebrate the move with a ribbon cutting on May 21. She opened the center in April 2010 as a result of her concerns over limited to access to routine healthcare services in Burke County during weekends. Today, the urgent care center still accepts walk-in patients. Appointments are required for Solid Rock Family Practice. 

BURKE INTEGRATED HEALTH celebrated its opening in May with a ribbon cutting and family fair at its location on 350 East Parker Road in Morganton. Director Michael Shoupe manned the Chamber's scissors to make it official. Burke Integrative Health is an collaborative partnership among Burke Primary Care, A Caring Alternative, Cognitive Care and Catawba Valley Behavioral Health.  They have partnered to provide not only primary care but also treatment for patients with behavioral health and substance abuse issues. Look for more information in the next Chamber newsletter.

Agreement Expands Master WorkHolding's Sales Markets 


Master WorkHolding and Forkardt have established a sales agreement covering North and South America. Representation by Forkardt will expand sales and distribution and provide marketing support for Master WorkHolding. The agreement will increase the reach of both companies into the Americas. 


"The ever-growing pressures to produce machined parts with shorter cycle times and with higher quality specifications have driven us to develop new and innovative workholding solutions to meet the ever-increasing challenges facing our customers. We are honored to be represented by Forkardt, which has a long, rich tradition in workholding excellence," said Mike Powell, President of MasterWorkHolding. 


"Our expertise is in rotational work-holding," said Bill Sepanik, Forkardt's vice president," but we are often involved with customers who require a complete solution for both rotating and stationary processes. MWH is an innovation leader in the prismatic workholding community, and they provide the quality engineering and product support our customers have come to appreciate. We are excited about the opportunity to offer this additional capability to our customers, especially with the quality product of Master WorkHolding." 

Founded in 1988, Master WorkHolding is a North Carolina-based company that specializes in designing and manufacture of custom stationary prismatic workholding for horizontal and vertical machining. Based in Traverse City, Michigan, Forkardt has multiple locations around the globe. With both US and German heritage, Forkardt has long been known as an innovator of custom workholding solutions and offers a wide array of special and standard rotational products.


CHS Blue Ridge CEO: "Local Hospitals Remain Strong"

Editor's Note: Burke County's non-for-profit community healthcare system is also its single largest employer. As healthcare continues to go through a historic trans-formation in the US, many communities are rightly concerned about the long-term impact these changes will have on their local hospitals, indeed whether their hospitals will survive. In the June 3, 2015, News Herald, Carolinas HealthCare System Blue Ridge President & CEO Kathy Bailey responded to an earlier story about this struggle from a Burke County perspective, We share her letter to the editor as a service to our Chamber members and in case you missed it.

"A recent story in the May 3, 2015, News Herald, "A Dying Breed -- Rural Hospitals Struggle to Stay Open," revealed the challenges of many rural hospitals, and the unfortunate reality that some will have to close their doors to the communities they serve.

I am proud to say that is not the future for Carolinas HealthCare System Blue Ridge. Rural hospitals are challenged on many fronts, but our collaboration with Carolinas HealthCare System enables us to remain successful in these trying times. We are able to provide state-of-the-art technology, access to specialists, an excellent local medical staff, an extremely capable and competent group of employees, and support for community health issues.

We can't do everything, but we are able to serve as the link to a higher level of care through Carolinas HealthCare System, when needed. While other rural healthcare facilities are challenged to remain viable, our record shows that we anticipate and adjust to changes to meet the needs of the communities we serve. Our hospital board and leadership have wisely invested in our facilities, technologies, and staff.

The news story was an important reminder that rural health care facilities face challenges, but it is also an opportunity to highlight what is working here in our community.

The Carolinas HealthCare System Board has consistently provided appropriate services for this community when those services were needed and have done so without tax dollar support. Continued collaboration coupled with wise leadership and investment provides healthy returns now and in the future.

At Carolinas HealthCare System Blue Ridge, we are friends and neighbors taking care of friends and neighbors. The care we provide matters to us, and to you, our patients. And we intend to be here providing the care to this community for a very long time. Rural health care matters."

Kathy C. Bailey, FACHE
President & CEO
Carolinas HealthCare System Blue Ridge 



Early Tourism Numbers Hint of Busy Summer and Fall

If the first half of 2015 is a predictor, then communities across Burke County should be dusting off the welcome mat for more visitors than last year's record-breaking numbers. Visitor Center traffic is up 28% over 2014, Tourism Director Ed Phillips reported last week. "Occupancy tax collections are up, traffic to our web site is up 53% over 2014, and interest in Burke County as a destination by the news media and travel writers keeps growing every year, as measured by articles appearing in print, on-line, on TV and other media." Phillips said another key indicator of tourism's economic impact is the growth of hospitality jobs in Burke County, an indicator Burke County led all NC counties in 2013. "The openings of Applebee's and Cracker Barrel alone are adding more than 250 jobs in our county," he said. 

Growth is certainly fueled as well by "home runs" like the on-line story that appeared earlier this week in Blue Ridge Outdoors. "48 Hours in Morganton" actually puts the spotlight on attractions around the greater Morganton area from Lake James to the South Mountains and many attractions in between. To read the story, click here

Creative Age Senior Art Exhibit Celebrates Ageless Creativity 

Grace Ridge Retirement Community is thrilled to announce the inaugural Creative Age Senior Art Exhibit, recognizing the work of artists 60 and over, both professional

Frances Hairfield, "Linville View of Grandfather Mountain"
and non-professional, throughout Western North Carolina.


Jean Macon, "Old Man in the Woods"
"Over the past several weeks, we've been working to recruit artists and have selected more than 40 works of art created by 22 individual artists," said Administrator Brenda Yost. The exhibit is free and will be open to the public Thursday, June 11 through Saturday, June 13 at Grace Ridge from 10 am - 6 pm daily.From sculpture and watercolor to mixed media, pastels and more, nearly all types                                          of media are represented at 
Priscilla Wallace, "Christus Rex"
Creative Age. "We couldn't be more excited to share these works of art, and encourage everyone to drop by to view the exhibit," she said. "We'd like to give special thanks to all of the talented artisans who shared their work to make the Creative Age Senior Art Exhibit possible. From Asheville to Lenoir, and even a few of our very own residents, the selected pieces are a true representation of ageless creativity throughout the Blue Ridge and beyond." 
For more information, visit or call at 828-580-8300.


Town of Valdese Receives Special Recognition
NC Labor Commissioner Salutes Burke's Best in Safety

The Burke Chamber played host to the 57th Annual Western North Carolina Safety Awards Banquet on May 19 in Morganton. Nearly 120 individuals and their employers were recognized by NC Commissioner of Labor Cherie Killian Berry for their safety records. Commissioner Berry presented Silver Awards to 15 various departments and facilities. To receive an award, their rates of days away from work had to be at least 50% below the industry average. Three companies received the Silver Award for the third consecutive year. They were the City of Morganton Recreation Department and Bernhardt Furniture's Plants #5 and #6. More than 65 departments, plants and companies were presented Gold Awards by the Commissioner for achieving a rate of days away from work, job transfer or restrictions at least 50% below the industry average. One organization received special recognition for maintaining this award criterion for 27 consecutive years. Congratulations to the Town of Valdese Administrative Department on its distinguished safety record.

Saturday, June 6, at South Mountain State Park
Celebrate National Trails Day This Weekend 

Ride, bike or hike designated trails of your choice from the South Mountain State Park's Jacob Fork Access as you celebrate National Trails Day on Saturday, June 6. Register any time between 8 am and 11 am. Awards will be provided to registered participants who then hike, bike or ride to one of three backcountry check-in stations and complete a round trip. One backcountry check-in is near a trail overlook of Foothill's pending South Mountains Headwaters Tract purchase. Route loops are moderate to strenuous and will vary from 3 miles to 18 miles. This event is free and open to the public. For more information contact the State Park at (828)433-4772.

For a full list of participating artists and galleries,visit

Brighter Days Grief Camp Helps Children Heal from Loss

Catawba Regional Hospice hosted its annual Brighter Days Grief Camp in May, a day-long program to help children in grades 1-7 cope with the loss of a loved one. The special event offers children a day of hope and healing, supported by trained counselors and compassionate volunteers. 
Campers Ryleigh Allen (left) and Faith Carson play with Polly,   a pet therapy dog.

This year, Brighter Days took place at New Hope Moravian Church on Sandy Ford Road in Newton, NC, and included children from families that Catawba Regional Hospice has served, along with youngsters from local communities. The free camp is part of an array of bereavement services available to residents of the 10-county area in which CRH provides care.

At camp, children interacted with other kids who had experienced loss. They also made crafts, met pet partner dogs, shared in group time, played games, and made new friends.

Brighter Days helps children deal with feelings of grief as well as the changes at work in their lives. The hope is that they'll realize they're not alone in their struggles and that their feelings are normal for the circumstances. They also learn that grief is not a process of forgetting but one of remembering, only with less pain.

For more information about CRH's bereavement services or volunteer opportunities, please call 828.466.0466, click here, or like their Facebook page.

Putting for the Pink Golf Tournament                                           Raises Funds for Breast Cancer Patients

Having fun while raising money for a good cause is always a great idea. Quentin Lail, Mark Biggerstaff, Josh Moses and Randy Walker did just that when they won the eighth annual Putting for the Pink Golf Tournament on Friday, May 15, at Mimosa Hills Golf & Country Club. The event, organized by the Breast Cancer Action Team of Carolinas HealthCare System Blue Ridge, raised money this year for the Susan G. Komen NC Foothills Affiliate. Twenty two teams played in the tournament. The Breast Cancer Action Team was founded to help women who have had or have been diagnosed with breast cancer, and is dedicated to help find a cure for the disease. The team has raised over $70,000 over the last eight years though its Putting for the Pink tournament. The Komen NC Foothills Affiliate keeps 75 percent of all funds locally and 25 percent will go to the national headquarters to advance breast cancer research.Stand out from the crowd with your grant proposal submissions! 

Workshop: "Grant Writing Success 
for Nonprofit Businesses"

Tuesday, June 9
8 a.m. to 12 p.m.
Foothills Higher Education Center, 
Room HEC163
$25/single registrant + $20/each team member
(*First half of this event offered free through the Small Business Center;
fee covers remainder of event plus materials.)

Whether you've written dozens of grant proposals or you're new to this endeavor, this workshop is for you. We'll discuss key insights into funder preferences and ideas for writing more compelling proposals. In this fast-paced and interactive workshop, you'll learn new skills and approaches to broaden your grant writing skills.

We'll focus on regional and statewide funders to identify potential opportunities for your nonprofit organization. Through discussion, tools, and new resources, you'll develop strategies for writing winning proposals. This workshop is geared toward nonprofit staff and volunteers who write grants and other leaders of nonprofits who generate revenue through grant funding.

This workshop is hosted by the Community Foundation of Burke County and the Western Piedmont Community College Small Business Center, with assistance from Western North Carolina Nonprofit Pathways.


Director Level
 News Herald



Executive Level
Burke Hospice
Case Farms
Catawba Valley Staffing
CPI Security
Square One Energy
Western Piedmont Community College

Advisor Level
Siegwerk Environmental Inks
Duke Energy
Friday Staffing
Grace Ridge Retirement Community

CPI Security

Supporter Level
Abele's Family Restaurants
Canteen Vending
HF Financial/J. Branstrom & Associates
Pepsi Cola Bottling Co.
Servpro of Burke County
Shenandoah Furniture
Toner Machining Technologies
Wendy B's