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)