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Angie Acosta, founder of Queen City DanceOut, has a simple motto for her students: "If you're moving, you're doing it right." This encouraging, low-pressure attitude attracts people of all ages to her dance-inspired fitness classes, which meet at 18 public locations. Angie and her instructors aim to make exercise feel like a celebration and a refreshing break rather than a dreaded routine. To this end, their classes incorporate intuitive dance moves and invigorating music. DanceOut, the signature course, blends genres as diverse as swing, hip-hop, and reggae into a workout, relying on repetition and basic choreography to keep everyone grooving. Other highlights of the curriculum include the Latin rhythms of Zumba; the Dance Impact class, which fuses dance and kickboxing; and JamStrong, a mixture of core-conditioning, dance, and fun.

Community is a central aspect of every DanceOut class. As pupils practice their twirls, they can follow both the teacher and the Jam Crew—a team of regulars who help make the steps easy to follow and can assist fellow dancers. In addition to group workouts, instructors host skill workshops such as Booty Bootcamp, where attendees learn rump-shaking techniques and how to turn any chair into a rocking chair. They also put on performances and lead private classes for special events and parties.

1000 South Myrtle School Road
Gastonia,
NC
US

After a career as a highway patrolman and corrections officer, David Masters opened Stat Cleaning Services as a side business in 1985. David attributes the business's success to meticulous work and personal attention, two qualities he says scored him a job cleaning 200,000 square feet of carpets in two related office buildings. That was the job that spurred David to retire from police work to focus on carpet cleaning full-time.

In each session, a two-person team purges carpets using a truck-mounted system that brings only an extractor and a connecting hose into the client's home. The extractor forces steam between carpet fibers to pull out deeply embedded debris, such as pet hair, crumbs, and long-lost Scrabble tiles, leaving carpets dry less than two hours later. The same heat extraction also purifies tile and upholstery. A special enzyme solution is also available for purchase, which works to break down the bacteria created by pet stains and prevent their odor from lingering.

Each cleaning team checks the quality of their work and ensures customer satisfaction before leaving the premises. In the event that a problem does occur, customers need not worry about wading through tiers of customer service reps, managers, and machine intelligences for a resolution; David answers almost every phone call himself.

from home
Gastonia,
NC
US

More than 40 years ago, Harry J. Hoenselaar chose individual hams, cured them in his secret marinade, and smoked them over hardwood chips before offsetting the earthy flavor with a crisp, sweet glaze. To this day, the staff still makes the signature bone-in hams one at a time and glazes them in the shop. In addition to the eponymous victuals, the ham denizens turn their braising prowess on similarly delightful platter toppers, including turkey, barbecued pork, and 2-pound beef roasts smothered in gravy.

The hammery's kitchens also whip up classic side dishes and desserts, such as the sweet-potato soufflé. For less formal feasting, party trays and packed lunch boxes fuel business meetings, backyard grad parties, and lengthy end-zone celebrations.

1867 Remount Road
Gastonia,
NC
US

One might expect to find good food and drink at Fat Cats Oyster Bar and Grill, but the eatery truly surprises with its ample secondary entertainments. In addition to shells by the dozen and drinks by the pint, the space houses a stage for live music. When the bands fall silent, the owners host cornhole tournaments, testing the skill, accuracy, and luck of the customers' underhanded tosses. They also run a Tiki Bar just to keep things interesting and occasionally have an excuse to light torches.

2332 East Ozark Avenue
Gastonia,
NC
US

Classic and modern style are in perfect harmony at Spa South Salon. Pale-blue walls in the reception area stand quietly by as the oversized zebra-print rug and minimalist black-and-silver chairs nestle atop the gleaming hardwood floor. The stylists accomplish the same combination of classic and modern in their work, sculpting bobs with blunt bangs, weaving golden highlights into lackluster tresses, and snipping tight faux hawks to attract wandering falconers.

3810 S New Hope Rd
Gastonia,
NC
US

The world looks different from inside Charlotte Helicopter Flying Lessons' aircrafts. Passengers get a stunning birds-eye view of Charlotte and other cities throughout the nation during aerial tours and flying lessons. The company's pilots also chauffeur clients with chartered helicopter rides, bypassing traffic-clogged highways.

125 Fraley rd.
Gastonia,
NC
US