By Katy Savage
After 34 years in Woodstock’s village center, Mountain Creamery has a new location.
The popular homemade ice cream shop and restaurant moved from Central Street to West Woodstock — about 5 miles up the road — on July 4.
“It was time for us to move on and so we moved here,” said Ben Pilsmaker, whose father, Boris, owns the shop.
Ben has worked in the shop since high school and now runs it. He said they planned the move for two months. The rising cost of rent and the difficulty maintaining the restaurant in the pandemic forced them out.
“There’s never been a summer like last summer before,” he said.
Though there is less foot traffic in the new location, there is more parking for customers.
“It’s been busy,” he said. “There’s been a good turnout.”
Mountain Creamery has the same menu and the same hours. Breakfast and lunch with local ingredients are served from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. everyday while a homemade ice cream window is open until 5 p.m.
The former Mountain Creamery building is vacant, but the village wasn’t without an ice cream shop for long. A new ice cream shop — Woodstock Scoops — opened just as Mountain Creamery moved out.
Woodstock Scoops, owned by Kim and Scott Smith, who own both 37 Central Clothiers and Red Toy Wagon Company, opened across the street from the former Mountain Creamery on July 4.
The Smiths were neighbors of the Woodstock Creamery for 20 years and got to know the Pilsmakers well. Kim quickly asked if she could sell Mountain Creamery’s ice cream.
“I was like, ‘oh my gosh, what are we going to do without an ice cream shop?’” Kim said.
Woodstock Scoops features milkshakes, sundaes and maple creemees. Some of the ice cream comes from the Northeast Kingdom and from Wilcox Ice Cream in Arlington.
While there is takeout only now, Kim is working on permits to have seating.
Woodstock Scoops is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. midweek and until 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Kim hopes to extend the hours until 9 p.m. everyday.
“A lot of people are walking around at night and they want ice cream,” Kim said.
For the Pilsmakers, moving up the street was a community effort, with longtime customers offering free services.
A local painter painted the exterior brick and the interior, while Ottauquechee Plumbing and Heating provided services and Dylan Keith, the owner of Vermont Land Group, helped the Mountain Creamery move all of its heavy equipment in one afternoon.
The 52-seat restaurant can accommodate three more people than before. “The parking lot is always full,” said Patrick Fultz, who owns the restaurant building and operates the neighboring Sleep Woodstock motel. “It’s a huge benefit for us to have them there.”
Fultz has owned the building for about four years and has seen tenants come and go. It was previously Eat Woodstock and then briefly the Bridgewater Diner before the restaurant was vacant during the Covid-19 pandemic.
“We were thrilled when the Mountain Creamery approached us,” Fultz said. “They are so well established.”
Fultz hopes Mountain Creamery’s reputation and experience will sustain it in its new location. “The people who had been in there before weren’t restaurateurs,” Fultz said. “It’s great to have people in the restaurant who have a good sense of what they’re doing.”
The Mountain Creamery’s eight employees also moved. The creamery is actively looking for more help.
“We’ve been desperately trying to find more [employees],” Boris said.
As for Fultz, he’s become a regular customer. “I have to force myself not to get a chocolate milkshake in the afternoon.”