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BREAKING NEWS: Bentleys Shuttered; Fire Stones, Too

March 4, 2013 12:18 pm Category: News, Quechee, Woodstock 52 Comments A+ / A-

Staff Report

A Woodstock institution is closing its doors.

Mountain Trading Company, which owns Bentleys in Woodstock and Fire Stones in Quechee, announced both restaurants closed March 3. Bentleys has anchored the corner of Elm and Central streets in downtown Woodstock for 37 years.

In a statement, the company said the mismanagement of the businesses’ finances lead to unrecoverable losses. The person allegedly responsible for the mismanagement was released in December, according to owner David Creech, in the statement.

“The damage done was just insurmountable,” said Creech. “Even when we realized the magnitude of the damage to the business, it was still not easy for us to make the decision to close.”

The restaurant survived an embezzlement case in 2010, when the Superior Court found that a former bookkeeper stole more than $178,000 over four years. That bookkeeper, Michele Storms, was sentenced to a year in prison.

In December, new management was hired and the owners — Creech and Bill Deckelbaum — attempted to save the restaurants.

“We had been working non-stop since to determine if there was any way we could save the businesses,” Creech said.

Creech and Deckelbaum plan to “semi-retire,” and are “committed to engage in new and interesting projects” according to the statement.

“It was a fantastic journey that they hoped brought joy and great memories to the local residents and many visitors to Quechee and Woodstock over the many years,” Creech said.

Pedestrians look at the papered-up windows at Bentleys restaurant in downtown Woodstock. (Gwen Stanley Photo)

Pedestrians look at the papered-up windows at Bentleys restaurant in downtown Woodstock. (Gwen Stanley Photo)

 

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BREAKING NEWS: Bentleys Shuttered; Fire Stones, Too Reviewed by on . Staff Report A Woodstock institution is closing its doors. Mountain Trading Company, which owns Bentleys in Woodstock and Fire Stones in Quechee, announced both Staff Report A Woodstock institution is closing its doors. Mountain Trading Company, which owns Bentleys in Woodstock and Fire Stones in Quechee, announced both Rating:

Comments (52)

  • Woodstock Resident

    The article fails to mention that Bentley’s was only closed for a brief month and reopened last year. It is open for business!

  • liz

    to the staff who worked there….remember this? ‘Up the stair and to the right.’ i wanted to get a t-shirt with that printed on it.

  • margie robinson

    More good memories…went there “before kids” and then went with kids…amazing times…remember how the ceiling rolled back, the painting was removed and the dj started playing the music? Coolest thing ever! My dad, Herb Hirschland, had a favorite spot at the bar. He’s looking down now and wondering how this could happen…but wishing you well Dave and Bill.

  • paulette osborne

    Lila and Ann, I have know Bill and Dave for over 36 years. They have always been too trusting. Even though, people in their lives proved untrustworthy, they never lost that quality. They always believed the best of people. If all those figures quoted are correct, they have may have been irresponsible but they are not the perpetrators. Time will tell. I think we are applauding the great job they have done in the community for 37 years. not their business acumen.

  • Roxanne (Caddick) Sessions

    Wow, this horrible news has traveled to CT where I moved to 28 years ago when I left the Bentley’s/Rosalita’s family. Bill and David, it truly broke my heart to have heard the news that after putting your heart and soul into your work after this many years has come to an end. I know Woodstock and Quechee won’t feel the same to me when I travel there again. I hope your future finds you happy and satisfied with whatever it is you plan to do in “semi-retirement.” Loved reading all the old memories and seeing all the old names that I haven’t heard in so many years! I, too, had some fantastic memories of the great parties we’d all get to celebrate together there! Best of luck to you, Bill and David, and THANK YOU for being the best guys I’ve ever worked for! Much love to you.

  • Betsy Willcox

    Oh my, reading everyone’s memories brings tears to my eyes. I never, never in my life had so much fun. The family developed, was and is, unlike I’ve ever known. We all, including the owners themselves, pitched in to help each other; the salad maker, dishwasher, cooks, bus people, bartenders, everyone !! I vividely remember going to the diswasher helping load and or unload. It was all so crazy at times I wondered how we would get through it. But because the teamwork, we were all able to end the evening more bonded than ever with one another and party our hearts out. Dave & Bill were at the center of it all. They “did” host a wonderful party for so many years.
    I look forward to seeing everyone all together again and lets not let the party die! Love & hugs.

  • Allison Cesario Paton

    What a shame to learn Bentleys has closed its doors! The corner where all roads meet in Woodstock will be sorely missed. I can’t tell you how often readers of MRS BUNDLE TAKES A HIKE mention how much they enjoy the chapter when Mrs. Bundle meets a future client–at Bentleys, a place known to anyone who has ever visited Woodstock! Best of everything to Bill and Dave.
    Allison Cesario Paton

  • Lila Manne

    Does no one else find that fact that this business is so arrears in taxes, state and federal? It was reported in the Valley News that
    the two creditors at both restaurants with the biggest claims are the IRS and the Vermont Department of Taxes. Along with the Vermont Department of Labor, which collects employment taxes, the agencies are owed a total of $649,107 at Bentleys and a total of $539,568 at Fire Stones, the filings show. A number of other creditors holding unsecured claims are owed about $850,000 at Bentleys and $600,000 at Fire Stones, the records show. This is not something to be celebrated.

  • paulette osborne

    Ok, so I was talking with Colleen and she took the ball and ran with it. See her invitation for a party June 15. I guess details to follow. You can still email me with ideas. Was hoping it would be an employees’ reunion. i think there are a few people around that weren’t. lol

  • Ann Meade

    I hate to be the voice of reason but these gentleman owe a lot of money in back taxes, not forwarding payroll deductions to the state does not say much for how employees are valued. They have nearly lost the property in Quechee for not paying propery taxes. This kind of behavior in the business community is nothing to applaud or condone.

  • paulette osborne

    I love seeing so many comments and memories here. I have always thought we should have a reunion for Bentleys employees. and some people agree. Maybe now is the time. Well not right now, but thinking sometime in June. maybe around the WUHS reunion on June 15. Unfortunately Sunday is Father’s Day and maybe that would make some people unavailable. I would love to hear from you regarding ideas. This could be a lot of fun!! You can post here or email me: osbornepaulette@hotmail.com.

  • Colleen Hammond

    OMG!.. Bill and Dave can’t seem to catch a break. It simply isn’t fair that these to wonderful people have to end their life-long careers on such a horrible note, with no fault of their own.

    I was one of many who was employed at Bentley’s over the years and still cannot fathom the Woodstock landmark being closed. We were not just employees but family, who worked and played hard together. Where else would I have met and received signatures from; Billy Joel, Danny Devito, Christie Brinkley, Margot Kidder, Neil Diamond, Judge Judy, Michael J. Fox & wife Tracey Pollan, Charles Bronson & wife Jill Ireland, Christopher Lloyd, and I even danced with Christopher Reeves. And lastly, let’s not forget our dear friend, producer Frank Marshall.

    To my extended family: Bill, Dave, Nikki, Paulette, Pam, Heidi, Suzy, Cari, John S, Todd, Linda, Deb, Stacey, Adrianne, Stephanie, Aaron, Tom, Biella, Dean & Sarah, Bud & Steve , Jay & Linda, Steve D, Paul, Steve M, Peter, John, Donna, Bubba, Betsy, Becky, Lisa, Tim & Maureen, Susan, Jim, Gretchen, Jonathan, Giovanni, Ruth & Richard, Neiva, Woody, Libby, the numerous kitchen staff/ dishwashers / and office help, and all those my mind simply cannot recall at this time – Thank You!

    And thank you as well to the extended community family that supported us through many a HAPPY HOUR, DANCING, CHRISTMAS PARTIES, WASSILS, CATILLIONS, WEDDINGS, GRADUATIONS, SHOWERS, and so much more.

    Today I call one last staff meeting starring Bill & Dave – WooWoo’s to you!

  • Colleen Hammond

    OMG!.. Bill and Dave can’t seem to catch a break. It simply isn’t fair that these to wonderful people have to end their life-long careers on such a horrible note, with no fault of their own.

    I was one of many who was employed at Bentley’s over the years and still cannot fathom the Woodstock landmark being closed. We were not just employees but family, who worked and played hard together. Where else would I have met and received signatures from; Billy Joel, Danny Devito, Christie Brinkley, Margot Kidder, Neil Diamond, Judge Judy, Michael J. Fox & wife Tracey Pollan, Charles Bronson & wife Jill Ireland, Christopher Lloyd, and I even danced with Christopher Reeves. And lastly, let’s not forget our dear friend, producer Frank Marshall.

    To my extended family: Bill, Dave, Nikki, Paulette, Pam, Heidi, Suzy, Cari, John S, Todd, Linda, Deb, Stacey, Adrianne, Stephanie, Aaron, Tom, Biella, Dean & Sarah, Bud & Steve , Jay & Linda, Steve D, Paul, Steve M, Peter, John, Donna, Bubba, Betsy, Becky, Lisa, Tim & Maureen, Susan, Jim, Gretchen, Jonathan, Giovanni, Ruth & Richard, Neiva, Woody, Libby, the numerous kitchen staff/ dishwashers / and office help, and all those my mind simply cannot recall at this time – Thank You!

    And thank you as well to the extended community family that supported us through many a HAPPY HOUR, DANCING, CHRISTMAS PARTIES, WASSILS, CATILLIONS, WEDDINGS, GRADUATIONS, SHOWERS, and so much more.

    Today I call one last staff meeting starring Bill & Dave – WooWoo’s to you! You will both be greatly missed and remembered by many.

  • Steven Cary

    Say it ain’t so!! I’d rather hear that the Washington Monument is being torn down. Bill and David, congratulations for the longest running show on Broadway. Whatever “semi-retirement” means, I hope it brings you health and happiness.

  • Janice Prindle

    I learned of this with great sadness (and a bit of hope David and Bill will be able to step back from the brink once again). I have so many happy memories of this place, where many friends have worked at different times, and Dave and Bill are really good people. They were so kind to my dear late husband Geoffrey Stokes when he was ill, and to me. I wish them the best future possible whatever they do next, and thank them for the hospitality they’ve provided my family and friends over so many years.

  • Caroline Favre-Gilly Law

    Yes, thousands of us have Bentleys on our resume. I am dating myself saying I was part of the first group of Bill & David’s rockin’ team. The restaurant blazed— After hours we perfected our dance moves on the ‘Mezz’. Such fun we had! Thank you Bill and David. We’ll miss you!

  • Rich Pompei

    Bentley’s is where my wife and I would sit and eat and drink and laugh every summer with two of the greatest people in the world, Aunt Deb and Uncle Steve, in our favorite spot on earth, Woodstock. Thank you Careen for your smile and fabulous drinks! We will forever miss this little slice of our lives.

  • KMK

    I was another Friday and Saturday night “regular” in the late 80s into mid 90s…more memories than I could possibly list, but always good times when the ceiling rolled back and the lights came up for dancing until they almost had to throw us out for the night. Thanks, Dave and Bill. Those were the days.

  • Steven Thomas

    Let’s see: I worked there in 1976 and on and off for many years. My first wife and I worked there. I met me second wife, Deb, and the love of my life there. I filled in one night at the bar in 1977 for Dave and Bill and left the place–unlocked!–to go dancing at the Bethel Inn. Dancing on the bar in the early days, mouth Sundays in the plant store, the crazy people from southern Vermont (forget the restaurant they owned) who we would wait on in the plant store. The omelet room upstairs and the endless flight of stairs. Tom Spanbauer! Vacuuming the restaurant before work for $1.78/hour. Mushrooms growing through the floor in the back room; ski trail signs in the freezer. Hot chocolate souffles dreamed up by Bill via the microwave. YOUTH!!! Randy–where is he? Caroline Favre-Gilly. Vinnie and Tom behind the bar in the early days. Jack’s Joke Shop. Linda Caruso. Meetings in the omelet room. Swaz!!!! Jim Harley! Coming back from roads trips and being hired once again. Thank you! Ellen and I singing in the small room in the plant room-echo chamber a la Lesley Gore. Michael Olive. Fonda. Many firsts. Time to get a watch. Falling in and out of love. Falling in love for good. “Our famous hamburger” (famous–how?–from the first day they opened). Dick McCormick on “the Mez.” That guy that played the oldies in the 70′s–Jim??. David and the endless parlsey. The garage door. Those rooms upstairs! Steve Carey. Molly. Blender drinks! Rum Raisin ice cream. Dancing!!! All the people, all the memories. The flow of life. Samsara. THANK YOU!

  • Todd French

    Sad indeed, so many folks impacted by these closings.

  • Donna & Ed Durgin

    A little reminiscing: I managed Bentley’s Flower Shop in the early 90′s and it was here where I met my dear friend, Jeanne Matos, who was managing the cafe. I made weekly trips to the Boston Flower Market to purchase flowers for beautiful floral displays. Jeanne created culinary delights for the cafe for locals and visitors alike. WOW! It was quite the gathering place and Bill and Dave were always most appreciative and supportive. We will miss seeing the familiar faces and we will miss Nikki’s martinis!

  • Liz Fobes Cragg

    So sorry to hear this news…Bill and David have been a wonderful
    part of my Sister’s life and probably saved her life…Lots of love to both of you….Liz

  • Lydia Simon

    I am so sad, in a state of shock.
    Thanks for the memories Dave and Bill.
    Much love,
    Lydia

  • Tamara

    Wow… this is super sad news. I don’t go to either place often (I don’t go out anywhere often). But certainly, when I do, I’ve enjoyed my outings to both Bentley’s and Firestones. Good food and great service and I’ve never felt like I was paying too much (which I can’t say about many other establishments in the area).

    Was there nothing that could be done to help? I sure wish the owners had sought help from the community before making this decision. It seems like folks might have helped.

    I’m also sorry for the folks that lost their jobs. :( Rough times these are.

  • Dave & Diane Doubleday

    There is a void in our hearts and Woodstock with Bentley’s closing. So many good times there including last Saturday night when we stopped in for a drink after the movies at the town hall, just a natural thing to do. Thanks to Bill, Dave, Andrew, Careen, Nikki, Katie, Tommy, Clay and all the rest who have worked there. As the saying goes with change, something always better happens. It will have to be tremendous to take Bentley’s place in our lives and hearts.

  • Careen Little

    I would just like to thank everyone that made our jobs at Bentleys so enjoyable over the years ! Can’t make the kind of memories you all are describing without having awesome guests…

  • Jo Hiebert

    I used to work at the Town Hall Theatre as a projectionist in high school and college. We would to go to Bentleys after the last show for coffee and slice of cheesecake, and hopefully some live music. Not much dancing or wild parties at that time of night- it was a great way to unwind at the end of a long shift. Good times.

  • CJ Kinton

    I would not have expected to have any restaurant rank high on my list of “most missed things in Vermont” but when I think of going back for a visit, one of the top things on my list of wanna-dos was dancing at Bentley’s. I wanted to bring a west coast friend there someday. Along with the Taftsville rope swing and ice cream at The White Cottage it’s one of my strongest memories of excellent times with my kids and friends. Of course, this is also a statement of how few choices there are for entertainment in Woodstock after dark.

    I recall one warm late night when the back door to Bentley’s was open and the sound of live music drifted out into the street where I was walking with my dog. I sat myself right down on the steps and just immersed in the sound of LIFE in the otherwise deserted silent street. All I could think was how badly I missed the magic of live music floating through the night air and how much I needed that in my life. I have done much pondering as to why Woodstock does not have that. Bentley’s was the closest thing. It brought life to Woodstock – no small thing. Like Pentangle, Maplefield’s and Norman Williams Library, it was a community hub.

    Change is the only constant. When we accept it, it’s called transcendence. Where Bentley’s once was there is now a space brimming with possibility. Don’t waste it. Don’t settle. People of Woodstock, you should talk with the staff of Project for Public Spaces (PPS). http://www.pps.org/

  • Wingnut

    Me and the wife had our first date here…..

  • Jay Dandeneau

    I could write my life experiences at Bentley ‘s for hours. I was laying in bed thinking of all the good times I and my family had working Mt Trading Co. I was the property Mgr. for 22 years long years and will never forget a minute! I met my wife Lynda at Bentley’s and we raised our two daughter’s Kelsey and Phoebe in and around the restaurant’s for years before we moved to Martha’s Vineyard they will never forget the great times they had. Bill and I said we should write a book . I think at this point we would have way to many chapters. I do hope this is not the last!!! I look forward to reading more comments from friend s I have made over all these years. Be well everyone . Bill and Dave thanks for the years memories and friendship.

  • Peter Mirandon

    Sad but not the end of the fabric of Woodstock – I worked at the Inn for a number of years during college and lived in Woodstock just beyond the billings farm at what is now a board of Ed building I think. I was lucky enough to have experienced Bentleys during the 80′s, was luck enough to have danced with and kissed Victoria Duffy (later to become Dennis Hoppers wife), was lucky enough to have skinny dipped under the Iron Bridge, and was lucky enough to be considered part of the fabric of Woodstock itself by great people like Chuck Johnson (RIP). Bentleys demise is not the end of the corner of that main intersection – it is just the page turning to the next chapter – hopefully that next chapter will make a difference.

  • Devora Klinges

    WOW – Truly an era gone by! You will be missed and remembered by many. God Bless you on your future endeavors. The best is yet to come!

  • paulette osborne

    Hey, Joe and Janet, so happy you are still together. Bravo!! and Sarah, now to see your name again and Dean’s. I forgot to mention all the wonderful couples that Bentleys spawned. Maybe we need a big reunion at some point. I always wanted to do that but never was able to manage it. I also like Laura’s idea. David and Bill have been hosting the party for 37 years, time to do something for them. I hope more people see this and something comes of it. I still can’t believe, I won’t be dancing under the disco lights again. Still won’t compute for me.

  • Man

    I would love to reopen this location! I have been seeking employment for over half a year and have had terrible luck.

  • Janet and Joseph Lynch

    If not for Bentley’s……We were both waitstaff at Bentley’s in 1977 and 1978. We met at the restaurant and fell in love, and we have been married for 32 years. It was sometimes our first stop, sometimes our last stop, and often our only stop on a “night out”… a place we knew we would always find friends. We remember the first gig of our band Hot Toast in mudseason of 1978, Mimi and Steve Thomas, Jim Harley, Edgar, Vinny Talento, chefs Jim and Glenn in the kitchen, and so many others. We remember the expansion into the Eatery, and the opening of the dancefloor. So many memories. When visitors arrived from out of town, we would meet them at Bentley’s. If not for Bentley’s, we would not have our daughters, Erin and Rebecca, and the life we have lived would never have been. Bill and Dave, thank you so much for all these memories. Our best regards.
    Janet and Joseph Lynch

  • Monica DiCarolis

    I was lucky enough to have had the opportunity to throw my “Darling” a surprise 50th party on February 14th. Thank you Dave and Bill for a life time of memories. Thank you Corrine for the beautiful face behind the bar (and for your delicious blood orange margaritas). I think the town of Woodstock does owe Bentley’s one last hurrah! Vote for it – tomorrow at town hall!

  • Scott Griswold

    So many good memories of Bentley’s and Firestones over the years. They will be sadly missed.

  • Pat Crocker

    This is such sad news for the community. Bentley’s has been part of the fabric of this community for so long. Wish the best to Bill and Dave and all the great employees whose service we have enjoyed! We will miss you! Whatever will occupy this location, we hope it will be the same friendly, local, low-key, and affordable pub that both Bentley’s and Firestone’s have been.

  • Bradford Pirkey

    So sorry to hear! Big part of the community!Crazy!

  • Laura Spittle

    Gosh…. times change. Things change. And I can only imagine how hard it was to come to this decision. But still… I wish that there had been something… an event… something. A way for a great Woodstock institution to go out with a bang or at least some public expression of the love and gratitude we all feel for Bill and Dave’s hospitality over all these years. It feels like we’re all just left hanging in mid air with no sense of closure. Maybe Woodstock owes Bill and Dave a party:-)! They’ve been hosting the party for so many years.

  • Wendy Reese

    I moved to Woodstock 6 months ago and Bentley’s was the one place I always felt at “home”. I wish we’d danced once more when we were there Saturday night and had the opportunity to tell the staff how great they were and how grateful I am to them. I have to believe that with such a great location that while it is the end of one era, perhaps it is the beginning of a new era.

  • Maggie Stavish

    So sorry to see Bentley’s doors closed. Spent many fun evenings, lunches and dinners with friends and family at what was our local pub. Loved to surprise flatlanders with the sliding ceiling and dance floor. Now trying to find another place that is comfortable, close to home and in our budget for the visitors arriving in a few weeks. Greatest wish- Bentleys.

  • Gaile Miller Avent

    Many fond memories of good times and great meals @ Bentley’s years ago. Best of luck to David and Bill in your next endeavor. May you continue to help Woodstock be a destination adventure!

  • Sarah Gilbreath

    Very sad……. Dave, Bill, Paulette, Whitey and so many others. My husband and I worked there together, I was a bookkeeper and Dean a carpenter with Steve Ryan and Buddy!!!!
    So many great working memories and fun disco dancing times with that great ceiling that opened!!! That’s where Dean and I spent the eve of our wedding night. We also had our first date at Bentley’s…such a big part of our lives in so many ways!!! Bill and Dave were great people to work for, I remember once taking a family tip to Florida and Bill saying “Here’s a 100.00 bucks have some fun”
    I will truly miss seeing them in there and hope the future brings them everything they hope for.

  • Leigh Friedlander

    So sad. I scooped ice cream in the cafe the summer before 10th grade and have some fond memories of this place. : ( Hope the new owners make whatever ends up here another big employer for the town.

  • Francis Dietz

    Wow – what a blow. I have such great memories of Bentley’s from high school through college. We used to go there just about every weekend – the music and dancing were great, and you were guaranteed to see people you knew. I can’t imagine downtown Woodstock without it.

  • elizabeth fairbanks

    I would not like to see Woodstock’s downtown go the way of so many towns in New England. Hopefully another business will move into Bentley’s soon. I grew up in Woodstock and have always been proud to claim Woodstock roots.

  • Dana Flanagan

    This is unbelievable. We just ate Brunch at Firestones yesterday! I also have a $100 gift certificate I never used! :( We love taking our friends and family to both these places frequently. This is just so sad. I don’t even know what to say….

  • Robert Craig Baum

    The air of “something’s terribly wrong here” was too intense to ignore the three times I tried to connect with Bentley’s this past Fall in support of my own music projects, the artists I represent, and the constant search for the best place to host clients, family, friends, colleagues. We moved on and found great support at Shepard’s Pie, Main Street Museum, and up the I-89 corridor in Barre, Montpelier, Waitsfield, and Burlington.

    One of my favorite music memories was playing at Bentley’s with Carlos Ocasio and Frydaddy in the mid-90s. The stage was in the middle of the restaurant and we could interact with everyone. The dance floor was packed. The food was reasonably priced. The bar register was ringing. It was just loud enough; just enough of a groove to keep everyone happy for two hours. When it was over, I remember going outside to get some fresh air. The silence and the snow slowly fading in as the noise behind me faded out was a moment of great peace and happiness which I will always associate with a great home away from home in Woodstock.

  • paulette osborne

    I feel like there’s a death in the family. This is what Bentleys looked like 37 years ago when I lived in Woodstock and walked by and saw it for the first time. I was so excited and titillated. What was it going to be? what’s behind the brown paper? When it finally opened, I became a regular patron and bugged David and Bill until they finally hired me as a bookkeeper. I moved up the ranks quickly because I loved Bill and Dave and the business so much. I saw them take a space and see something I couldn’t see and the outcome was always awesome if not always viable. bentleys of hanover, the ritz in white river, bartelli’s in west leb. but Bentleys in Woodstock was always a cornerstone and very successful. How many birthdays, weddings, showers, etc. were celebrated there in 37 years? Too many to count. How many people have Bentleys Restaurant on their resumes? probably thousands in one respect or another. I really can’t wrap my brain around this. This is a part of my family, David and Bill are my family. I have always loved the fact that I can come back to Woodstock, the place I consider “home” and hardly anything changes. Now my experience will never be the same. I never had a chance to say goodbye. Very sad.

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