by Paul Bousquet
Special to the Standard
The announcement of the reopening of the Woodstock Inn tomorrow (Friday) is welcome news to both the business community as well as residents. It’s a towering statement that Woodstock is back on its feet and welcoming visitors at the threshold of the foliage season.
The Spa, guest rooms, the Red Rooster Restaurant, and Richardson’s Tavern are resuming a normal schedule. Staff has returned with a renewed sense of purpose in welcoming guests with the attentiveness for which the inn is known.
According to Woodstock Inn & Resort CEO Werner Graef, mechanical problems posed the biggest hurdle in reopening the inn. Lead times required for electrical panels and heating equipment, even wood products, have delayed reopening facilities untouched by the flood.
Courtney Lowe, Director of Marketing and Sales, said that restoration is continuing on the lower level comprising the conference and banquet rooms. It is expected that work will be completed on that portion of the building in early 2012. For the time being, banquet business will be accommodated on the main floor.
Both Graef and Lowe expressed gratitude for the many residents concerned about the inn. It has been a formidable challenge to open the inn as soon as possible fully realizing that the two or three-hundred guests they regularly host on a daily basis play a significant role in the welfare of the Woodstock business community.
They do not take lightly carrying on the legacy of Laurence Rockefeller in his concern for his beloved community. They continue these efforts with the same understated manner often performing acts of kindness and compassion without fanfare. For example, the inn housed and fed approximately 70 victims flooded from their homes on the night of the storm. Lack of power, water, and facilities forced the inn to close the following day.
With the country club facing extensive restoration causing the closing of the golf course for the remainder of the season, the Woodstock Inn & Resort is refunding two months of club dues. As a bonus, it is offering complimentary use of the Racquet & Fitness Club facilities through the remainder of the season (October 31). Woodstock welcomes the reopening of the venerable Woodstock Inn. Accomplishing such a massive effort in a remarkably short time is a tribute to its management, staff, contractors and suppliers.
And Bridgewater Mill Reopen
There is no more evidence of the resolute spirit of Vermont than barely a month after the unprecedented flood caused severe damage, both Simon Pearce in Quechee and tenants in the Bridgewater Mill are open and operating. Residents and foliage visitors welcome the reopening of these cherished businesses. They reinforce the vitality of businesses throughout the region confirming that Vermont is welcoming visitors to one of the most spectacular times of the year.
Woodstock Farmers’ Market Appeals for Unique Form of Help
It goes without saying the Woodstock Farmers’ Market was devastated by tropical storm Irene. In addition to the inventory, the interior and infrastructure has to be replaced all of which takes time, effort, and lots of money.
In answer to the many concerned customers who have regularly shopped at the Woodstock Farmers’ Market and asked what they could do to help, owner Patrick Crowl has created a means by which he can speed up the process of rebuilding with much-needed cash. It’s called the Irene Card. It’s a prepaid shopping card being offered in a wide range of denominations from $25 to $5,000. Purchasers will be afforded a 10% savings on future purchases up to the amount of the prepaid card. And those who purchase an Irene Card for $1,000 or more will be afforded a 15 % discount. Shoppers have until October 15 to purchase these valuable prepaid shopping cards. It’s win-win for both shopper and the Woodstock Farmers’ Market.
Irene Cards can be purchased online at www.woodstockfarmers market.com/IreneGiftCard.aspx or by phone at 802-457-3658.
River Cleanup Volunteers Needed This Weekend
The alliance of the Connecticut River Watershed Council, the Greater Upper Valley Chapter of Trout Unlimited, and the White River Partnership is appealing for volunteers to help in the clean-up of our rivers.
On Friday, September 30 from 8 AM – Noon, crews will assemble in Rochester at the Rochester School parking lot on Rt. 100.
On Saturday, October 1, from 9 AM – Noon, crews are to meet in the Community College of Vermont – 52 Olcott Drive, White River Junction, VT parking lot in Wilder.
Also on Saturday from 2 – 4 PM in Lebanon, volunteers will meet at the upper stretch of the Fly Fishing Only section of the Mascoma River at the Mill Road parking area across from the Rt. 4 and 4A intersection.
Trash bags/gloves will be provided, but please plan on bringing water, appropriate footwear, snack, rain gear (if needed). Light refreshments will be available.
Ron Rhodes is available at Rhodes@sover.net to answer any questions.
State Kicks Off 5th Annual Apples to Ipods Promotion
Visitors to pick-your-own orchards throughout Vermont have a chance to win either an Ipod or Ipad. One specially marked wooden apple is hidden in an apple tree at 15 Vermont pick-your-own apple orchards. Customers who find the replica will win an Apple Ipod or Ipad.
The Vermont Department of Tourism and Marketing, in partnership with Woodchuck Cider, Small Dog Electronics, and the Vermont Agency of Agriculture, has been sponsoring the event since 2007.
“Vermont’s apple orchards are full of activity this time of year and in true Vermont fashion, the ‘Apples to iPods’ promotion has made the tradition even more fun,” said Megan Smith, Vermont’s Commissioner of Tourism and Marketing. “Apple picking is the perfect way to experience Vermont’s gorgeous autumn landscape and participate in a festive and tasty activity.”
This year, the Vermont Department of Tourism is also helping the Vermont Foodbank promote Pick for Your Neighbor, where visitors to participating orchards can pick and purchase extra apples to donate to the Foodbank. These apples will then be distributed to Vermonters in need.
For a list of orchards, visit applestoipods.com.
Vermont Farmstead Cheese Company Reaches Financial Goal
The community owned Vermont Farmstead Cheese Company in South Woodstock announced last week that it had achieved its latest financial goal of raising $2.5 million through a preferred stock offering. Thus far, $3.1 million has been raised to retire the mortgage and fund expansion of its facilities.
Since it began operations a year and a half ago, its products are now sold in nearly 170 stores in 6 states. It has won numerous awards for its outstanding cheese. Vincent Galluccio, Chairman of Vermont Farmstead Cheese Company, stated “Completing this round of financing is yet another in a long list of milestones we have accomplished in a very short period of time. With these secured funds we can focus on expanding our market presence and growing our revenues.”
Liberian Presidential Candidate Hosted by Quechee Residents
This past week, Dr. and Mrs. Christos Cotsakos hosted Liberian Presidential Candidate Ambassador Winston Tubman together with his brother Ambassador Robert Tubman at their Quechee residence. The Tubmans are in New England to attend a reunion at their alma mater, Harvard Law School and to discuss strategy with Dr. Cotsakos, a senior advisor to Ambassador Winston Tubman. Winston Tubman believes that the root of his country’s problems lies in divide between the ruling class of African American settlers and the indigenous tribal groups that account for more than 95% of the country’s population.
Tubman commented, “My mother has an indigenous background while my father’s background is of a settler. My brother and I are living examples of the kind of unity I hope to bring to our country.”
Compassion for Vermont Neighbors
No greater evidence of Vermont’s compassion for one another took place just a week after the storm. In a one day disaster relief effort conducted by Vermont Public Radio, record numbers of people responded to the plight of their neighbors. Over $610,000 was raised in a matter of hours. It makes us all proud to be a Vermonter.
The purpose of this column is to primarily recognize what is happening in the business community. If you have news of a business nature, you may reach Paul Bousquet via e-mail at Paulbousquet@comcast.net or by phone at 802-457-9256.
This article first appeared in the September 29th print edition of the Vermont Standard.