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Meet Our Connectors

What’s a Connector? We’re so glad you asked!

 

Your Rowan’s Connectors are our ambassadors to the things that make Rowan County an original place to live, learn, work, and play. They have their finger on the pulse of what’s happening. Think of them as bloggers and social media influencers for everything you need to know Rowan. They each represent a different category to focus their storytelling. These categories are called Connections and they include Arts, Attractions, Business, Education, Greenspace, Health, High Rock Lake, and Municipalities.

As Your Rowan progresses, additional Connectors will be added in Connection areas that will benefit from more content to help make the biggest impact. By adding more individuals to our pool of Connectors, we will ensure that many perspectives and voices will be heard, to truly show the originality of Rowan County.

Our Connectors are focused on leveraging the valuable assets we have right in our own backyard to their full potential so all of us celebrate and rally around Rowan County. We call it a ROCO thing, and it can be your thing too!

#itsaROCOthing

Subscribe to our e-newsletter and follow us on social media so you never miss a behind-the-scenes moment or inside scoop from our Connectors!

 

Tameka Brown

Tameka Brown

Education Connector

I am a proud Livingstone College graduate. Go Blue Bears! I was a social worker for Rowan County Department of Social Services for 10 years, and I have been employed by Rowan-Salisbury Schools for the past 8 years as an Intervention Specialist. Meeting the needs of our students and providing options for students to be successful is important to me. I am the mother of three wonderful children, Jaylen, Tamia, and Latasha and have been married to Edward for 20 years. I have a love for good music and when time permits I enjoy acting at our local theaters. I am so excited to have this opportunity to share with you some of the wonderful things going on right here, in Rowan County.

Q&A with Tameka

Q: What is your favorite thing about Rowan County?

A: My favorite thing about Rowan County is that there are four institutions of higher education: Livingstone College, Catawba College, Hood Theological Seminary, and Rowan-Cabarrus Community College.


Q: Where is your favorite place to eat in Rowan County?

A: Mykonos Grill


Q: Where is your favorite place to shop in Rowan County?

A: Jestine’s Jewels and Anna Craig Boutique


Q: What do you look forward to the most each year in Rowan County?

A: I look forward to spring and seeing people out and about in the county enjoying the weather.


Q: Your favorite hidden gem in Rowan County?

A: Sno Biz, a snow cone shop in Salisbury as you head to Granite Quarry on Highway 52. They have the best snow cones with so many flavors! Sno Biz is the best on a nice, warm Sunday afternoon.


Q: Describe Rowan County in a few words. 

A: Family friendly, diverse, with some great people.

Joyce Caron-Mercier

Joyce Caron-Mercier

High Rock Lake Connector

After decades of working within NASCAR, NHRA, IndyCar, and World of Outlaws, I opened up my own motorsports marketing agency, Mercier Marketing.

My husband and I discovered High Rock Lake in the summer of 2009 while looking for a potential weekender home on a quiet lake within commutable distance to Charlotte and Mooresville. Three years ago, we became full-time lake residents on North Carolina’s second largest lake with our two great danes, Max and Molly.

I currently serve as Secretary on the Board of Directors for the High Rock Lake Association. I am also active in the community with charitable events such as the Partners In Learning annual “Just As I Am” Fashion Show, High Rock Clean Sweep, and Rowan Chamber Dragon Boat Festival.

Q&A with Joyce

Q: What is your favorite thing about Rowan County?

A: What I love the most about Rowan County is how easy it is to meet people in business and in the community. We have the best of all things a medium size city should offer: a vital downtown, a nice selection of restaurants from casual to upscale, live theater, art galleries and museums connecting to our heritage, shopping, craft beer and wine establishments, nature trails and more! And of course with living on the lake, I am extremely lucky to have access to all of that within minutes of my home.


Q: Where is your favorite place to eat in Rowan County?

A: I am still getting to decide on that. I have discovered that greater Salisbury area has lots to offer in the food selection category – Thai, Italian, Vietnamese, Brazilian, steak houses, and of course BBQ. We even have ‘hypster’ coffee shops with Mean Mug and Koco Java, which are great for working, meeting, and munching over a cup of joe. We even have a few casual dining options on the lake with Tamarac, Lakeview Family Restaurant, and TJ’s High Rock Lake Restaurant & Lounge.


Q: Where is your favorite place to shop in Rowan County?

A: I love the variety of shopping downtown from special gifts and ladies’ apparel to specialty cooking equipment and even puppy treats at Bella’s Barkery.


Q: What do you look forward to the most each year in Rowan County?

A: My two favorites, although I am learning about other activities from the Your Rowan Connectors, is the Rowan Chamber Dragon Boat Festival and Small Business Saturday after Thanksgiving. The Dragon Boat Festival is the biggest lake activity all year! Not only do we attract teams from all over the region to participate in a day of competition, but now locals know it’s the place to be for a free day of outdoor entertainment. Nothing brings in the holiday spirit better than traversing Main Street, hearing Christmas music, trying yummy samples, and shopping discounts while looking for that special gift for friends or family, all wrapped with the warmth of our very own Main Street store owners.


Q: Your favorite hidden gem in Rowan County?

A: Morgan Ridge Vineyards is quaint and has a super selection of wines and food. It has a fantastic rustic, welcoming feel for new visitors or just us locals who just want to relax, enjoy wine, and have great conversation with friends. Even the goats seem to like us.


Q: Describe Rowan County in a few words. 

A: A community that cares about its citizens and visitors equally. Rowan County has the normal city conveniences, but without the crazy traffic. Rowan County embraces activities that celebrates us as unique individuals while promoting the community assets to everyone.

Ashley Duncan

Ashley Duncan

Greenspace Connector

Even though I was born and raised here, I’m still finding new places to explore in Rowan County. As your Greenspace Connector, I’m excited to show you a side of RoCo you may not have seen before or even knew existed. From parks to agritourism, join me on this journey as we find out what makes Your Rowan.

Q&A with Ashley

Q: What is your favorite thing about Rowan County?

A: My favorite thing about Rowan County is how unique its atmosphere is. You have your country roads and your city feel all in one county. You can explore the outdoors during the day, then be out on the town by night.


Q: Where is your favorite place to eat in Rowan County?

A: My favorite place to eat in Rowan County is Hap’s Grill. Nothing beats a hotdog all the way with a Cheerwine slushie!


Q: Where is your favorite place to shop in Rowan County?

A: My favorite place to shop in Rowan County is 3 Jem’s Boutique. I can always find something cute and affordable in there for any occasion.


Q: What do you look forward to the most each year in Rowan County?

A: I always look forward to Wine About Winter!


Q: Your favorite hidden gem in Rowan County?

A: My favorite hidden gem in Rowan County is Eagle Point Nature Preserve.


Q: Describe Rowan County in a few words. 

A: Rowan County is diverse, community-focused, and inviting.

Sabrina Harris
Sabrina Harris
Connector – Arts, Attractions, Business & Family

I guess you could say I’m a housewife on steroids! I’m always busy and I hardly ever sit still, even late into the night. The reason for this is because I believe in life living on purpose which means that you touch as many lives as you can while being a positive productive citizen in the community you live in. I’m a mother to 5 beautiful children, a new age minister wife (in my book that’s a thing), and a successful Small Business owner of Sabrina Bougie Styles of Salisbury where I sew. I look forward to sharing with you why I love Rowan County and what’s keeping me busy.

Q&A with Sabrina

Q: What is your favorite thing about Rowan County?

A: My favorite thing about Rowan County is the sense of peace you feel compared to bigger cities where everything is happening at a fast pace! Things are more relaxed and most people know who you are in the stores you frequent.


Q: Where is your favorite place to eat in Rowan County?

A: My favorite place to eat is Go Burrito!


Q: Where is your favorite place to shop in Rowan County?

A: My favorite place to shop Food Lion! I’m a mom whose kids love a home cooked meal.


Q: What do you look forward to the most each year in Rowan County?

A: I look forward to Wine About Winter in Downtown Salisbury.


Q: What is your favorite hidden gem in Rowan County?

A: My favorite hidden gem is Mt. Ulla! It’s where I live and the beautiful scenery of the farms always put me at ease.


Q: Describe Rowan County in a few words. 

A: Simply put, Rowan County is the best place to live in North Carolina and people are starting to move here! It’s because of the peace they can experience here, the fresh food you can eat, and the people you can meet. It’s a sense that we are all connected in some way; whether it’s because of owning a small business or cheering on our children at sporting events. You can be yourself; you can be an original.

Daniel Lancaster
Daniel Lancaster
Connector – Business, Community & Family

I have been proudly serving with the Salisbury Police Department since 2009. Throughout my time with the department I have served in several different capacities. I currently serve as a Patrol Sergeant. When I am not policing, I enjoy landscaping, working on home improvement projects, and spending time with my wife and three children. I can’t wait to share with our community why I do what I do and what a positive influence our police force is having on the quality of life of our citizens.

Q&A with Daniel

Q: What is your favorite thing about Rowan County?

A: My favorite thing about Rowan County is that it has a small town feel, but it also has big town attractions.


Q: Where is your favorite place to eat in Rowan County?

A: Pinocchio’s Restaurant in Spencer


Q: What do you look forward to the most each year in Rowan County?

A: The Holiday Parade


Q: What is your favorite hidden gem in Rowan County?

A: Koco Java


Q: Describe Rowan County in a few words. 

A: Inviting, Family Oriented, Historic

Saray Molina
Saray Molina
Connector – Art, Attractions, Family & Greenspace

I was born and grew up in Mexico. I have a degree in journalism and for more than five years I have dedicated myself to working in radio and television. I arrived in Salisbury by quirk of fate, and I could not be more grateful. I have found this city and community to be really fascinating. I have to confess that my capacity of amazement is equivalent to that of a 5 year old child, so I invite you to be amazed along with me, while we discover the small and also the enormous treasures that Rowan County has in store for us. By the way, if someday you see me strolling down the street do not be fooled by the serious face I have, come and tell me how you live original in Rowan County!

Q&A with Saray

Q: What is your favorite thing about Rowan County?

A: The people, and the architecture.


Q: Where is your favorite place to eat in Rowan County?

A: Chef Thai & Sushi, is the chosen one. Their food is delicious and the service is excellent. If you have the opportunity to visit, I would suggest ordering my favorite dish: General Tsu, I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.


Q: Where is your favorite place to shop in Rowan County?

A: Abigail’s, no doubt. I love food, as you can see.


Q: What do you look forward to the most each year in Rowan County?

A: The Hippie festival. Since the first time I attended, I am ready for the following year. This event full of good vibes and fun activities has me excited to know what news it will bring in the year to come.


Q: What is your favorite hidden gem in Rowan County?

A: I do not know if it is necessarily hidden, but the Salisbury community park is definitely a gem, this beautiful place is ideal if you want to do some exercise or just relax while having contact with nature.


Q: Describe Rowan County in a few words. 

A: Friendly, artistic. An awesome place to grow and have fun!

Janet Ruffin

Janet Ruffin

Attractions Connector

I’m an adventurous soul that loves to interact with people everywhere I go.  You might say I’ve never met a stranger! I look forward to discovering and sharing all the things Rowan County has to offer because it’s Your Rowan!

Q&A with Janet

Q: What is your favorite thing about Rowan County?

A: Hands down the people!


Q: Where is your favorite place to eat in Rowan County?

A: Please don’t make me choose! I love all different foods and people that know me know not to ask me where I want to go because it’s so hard to choose! We are blessed to have so many options!


Q: Where is your favorite place to shop in Rowan County?

A: Again! I love the variety of shops and I rarely can’t find what I am looking for somewhere in Rowan!


Q: What do you look forward to the most each year in Rowan County?

A: The Rowan Chamber Dragon Boat Races each summer are definitely number one. Then I just try to take in as many and as much as my schedule allows.


Q: Your favorite hidden gem in Rowan County?

A: There are a lot of neat shopping spots from Spencer to Kannapolis and all in between!


Q: Describe Rowan County in a few words. 

A: Consistent change for the better! A great place to work and play!

Alyssa Smith

Alyssa Smith

Health Connector

I am a Rowan County resident and currently serve as the Executive Director of the community coalition, Healthy Rowan. Healthy Rowan seeks to work across organizations to advocate, collaborate, and educate towards a healthier Rowan County. I hold a Bachelor’s of Science in Psychology from UNC – Chapel Hill and a Masters of Public Health in Health Promotion, Education and Behavior from University of South Carolina. I worked as a Nutrition Researcher at the Institute for Families in Society in South Carolina and as a Grant Writer for Cabarrus Health Alliance.

I am not quite 5’ tall – but have the energy to make up for it! I am a swing dancer and have danced across the country and at international events. I have a beautiful Treeing Walker Coonhound named Classie. I love Rowan County and am excited to share all about health!

Q&A with Alyssa

Q: What is your favorite thing about Rowan County?

A: Love the downtown restaurant scene and having a county that’s small enough you notice and get to know the same people out and about, but big enough that there is always a new place to go or something new to explore. It’s great to go downtown and meet up with friends.


Q: Where is your favorite place to eat in Rowan County?

A: Ooh – I love Mambo Grill! My friend group has a Weekly Wednesday Date Night and we love checking out a different place every week. Mambo is always on the top of our list.


Q: Where is your favorite place to shop in Rowan County?

A: As the Health Connector, am I allowed to say Abigail’s? I love her macarons! Outside of that, I think Troyer’s Country Market is truly a hidden gem.


Q: What do you look forward to the most each year in Rowan County?

A: I love the Hurley Park Spring Celebration Event! I’ve even been in the Salisbury Post swing dancing to the Salisbury Swing Band.


Q: Your favorite hidden gem in Rowan County?

A: I recently discovered the hiking trails at Dan Nicholas Park with our Adventure Rowan group – I had no idea that they were formed in 2012 by a local Boy Scout troop. If you’re interested in hiking, but aren’t looking to go far you should definitely check it out!


Q: Describe Rowan County in a few words. 

A: Rowan County is full of activities, adventures, and friends. I have always gotten an inclusive and friendly vibe from those in the area. And of course, I have to mention that it’s homey! I love that I can go into any restaurant and store and find someone I know.

Lauren Turchin

Lauren Turchin

Education Connector

I am in my second year of teaching at Carson High School. I love my students and am passionate about making English fun and relevant for high school kids! In my free time, I enjoy watching Netflix with my perfect husband, laughing with my family, singing all the parts of the Hamilton soundtrack, and reading John Green novels. Born and raised in Salisbury, NC, I am excited about being a part of the Your Rowan and can’t wait to share some of the amazing things going on in Education in Rowan County with ya’ll!

Q&A with Lauren

Q: What is your favorite thing about Rowan County?

A: My favorite thing about Rowan County is how everybody knows everybody! I feel like our community is tight-knit and always comes together in a crisis. Even though we are small, we have SO MANY cool shops, yummy places to eat, and fun things to do!


Q: Where is your favorite place to eat in Rowan County?

A: My favorite place to eat in Rowan County is either East Coast Wings or Mambo Grill!


Q: Where is your favorite place to shop in Rowan County?

A: Anna Craig Boutique!


Q: What do you look forward to the most each year in Rowan County?

A: I always look forward to the shows at the Meroney and Lee Street Theatres!


Q: Describe Rowan County in a few words. 

A: Fun, close-knit, and diverse.

Bailey Wingler

Bailey Wingler

Arts Connector

I have a passion for all things local! As an artist, mother, and self proclaimed foodie, I love seeking and finding fun and creative opportunities throughout Rowan County for myself and my family to enjoy. From theater productions and live music, to art exhibitions and family friendly festivals, I’ll show you the way!

Q&A with Bailey

Q: What is your favorite thing about Rowan County?

A: My favorite thing about Rowan County is the unique mix of brick and mortar buildings and farmlands paired with craft breweries and graffiti parks. This is a place where people of all ages manage to coexist in a way that brings out the very best in all of us. Rowan County offers something for everyone.


Q: Where is your favorite place to eat in Rowan County?

A: Are you kidding? There are way too many to choose from. In fact, I love our local eateries SO much that I started The Salisbury Foodie, which is an online blog and social media presence dedicated to showcasing our locally owned restaurants, markets, breweries, and wineries. Some of my top choices though are Sweet Meadow Cafe, Mambo Grill and Tapas, and Sabaidee Thai.


Q: Where is your favorite place to shop in Rowan County?

A: To be totally honest, I am not much of a “shopper”, but when I do shop, I am looking for something that is really unique. The Habitat Restore and Happy Life are two of my favorite spots to get really extraordinary items.


Q: What do you look forward to the most each year in Rowan County?

A: I always look forward to the summer time because it means that our neighborhood pool, Eaman Park Pool, is open for business. I also really look forward to seeing the new sculptures being installed around town every year when the Salisbury Sculpture show welcomes its newest round of artists!


Q: Describe Rowan County in a few words. 

A: Rowan County is an area that exhibits innovation and creativity while still maintaining the comforts of a small town. To me, there’s something really amazing about being able to tour a 19th century home or history museum on one block and being able to enjoy modern Vietnamese cuisine and contemporary art on the next!

Lee Withers

Lee Withers

Municipalities Connector

Born and raised in China Grove, NC, I am a proud Eagle Scout and South Rowan High School graduate.

For 18 years, I worked in Sales and Sales Management for Toro Retail/Distribution and Husqvarna. Currently, I own 3’s Consulting Partners and am serving my first term as Mayor of China Grove and 12th year as an elected official.  I serve for one reason… to make China Grove and Rowan County a place where my children and the next generation of Rowan County will want to come once they complete their education journey.  We do this with more jobs, parks and recreation, vibrant night life across the county, amazing arts scene, all the while remembering our rural heritage that makes us who we are.  

When I am not drinking a Cheerwine (common cure for any illness and beverage of choice for a toast), shopping and eating local, I am supporting my three amazing kids, Carson, Cailynn, and Campbell.  I am a proud husband to the most dynamic Principal that Rowan Salisbury Schools has, Kelly.  

I love this place… and you will too.

Q&A with Lee

Q: What is your favorite thing about Rowan County?

A: My favorite thing about Rowan County… the people! Rowan County is home to many different cultures, identities, and walks of life. I love to stop and talk to anyone I can, and I am sure to learn something every time.


Q: Where is your favorite place to eat in Rowan County?

A: With 3 meals a day and 7 days a week, I get to eat a favorite spot every day here in Rowan County. Growing up in China Grove, two staples are BBQ from Gary’s and Lasagna from Stag n’ Doe.


Q: Where is your favorite place to shop in Rowan County?

A: Local, local, local – Downtown China Grove and Salisbury.


Q: What do you look forward to the most each year in Rowan County?

A: My new favorite event is Christmas in the Grove.


Q: Your favorite hidden gem in Rowan County?

A: Cherry Treesort


Q: Describe Rowan County in a few words. 

A: Originally Uniquely Awesome

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