We were asked to weigh in on the latest articles in the papers about the sale of the Woody Creek Tavern. We want to congratulate the new owners Samantha and Craig Cordts-Pearce. The fifth generation of Woody Creek Tavern owners. Here’s a brief outline of the sequence of ownership.
Pre-1980 there was a small country grocery store owned by Lee and Virginia Jones, in what is now the Woody Creek Tavern. There was a gas pump outside and the post office was inside the grocery store.
In the spring of 1980, Patti and George Stranahan and Mary and Jon Kent were sitting around the Stranahans’ home in Woody Creek, having a beer and lamenting the fact that the local small grocery was closing — especially sad since the post office was located inside the store, making it an automatic gathering site for all Woody Creekers.
That evening we had the brilliant idea, (after a few more beers), that we should open a tavern. Mary had worked in restaurants her entire life, so she decided she could do it with Jon remodeling the store and George and Patti investing $20,000 in the venture.
The new property owner, John Wickes, moved the post office into the small space next door, and we were off.
We began the endless paperwork and permissions, including having to create a parking area, much larger than we could ever imagine would be needed. That took half of our budget — $10,000.
We worked all summer with Jon, Patti and Mary wallpapering and decorating. In September we actually opened.
We opened as a bar with a funky menu of chicken wings, nachos, hot dogs, pickled pigs’ feet and hard-boiled eggs. Jon, George and Patti each did either a cooking or bar shift and Mary cooked and ran the business. Brenda Jones was our only real employee until she was joined by Joe Bergquist (aka Sparky), Rett Harper, Mary’s brother David, and sisters Michelle and Tracy.
During this time, Mary Jane Underwood bought the entire property and her husband Mike, was managing it.
After a short while, life-altering events dictated that it was time to sell the tavern. We sold it to Andy and Marcia Arasz and Dan and Doreen Goldyn. They ran the tavern successfully and even installed the outdoor patio. The Goldyns bought out their partners, the Araszs, then in the late 1980s they sold to George and Patti, enabling Dan to get an experimental cancer treatment.
In the meantime, Jon and Mary divorced, and Mary married Shep Harris. Patti and George did not want to run a restaurant and now Shep and Mary were asked to co-own the tavern with them.
When the opportunity to own the business and the spaces next door came, the Stranahans decided to take the house to convert into a community space and Shep and Mary kept the tavern parcel.
In 2007 Shep and Mary felt the need to sell the tavern business and sold to Kevin and Laura, who continued and There’s the short sequence of the ownership of the WCT.
Now we wish the new owners of the tavern all the best.