Public House space still vacant as Woodstock Old Courthouse sees more businesses leave

The Records Department is moving to a permanent space, more incubator space coming

A couple walks past the newly remodeled Old Courthouse Center in Woodstock on Thursday, July 13, 2023, during a tour of the building.

Nearly two months after Public House suddenly closed its doors, the restaurant inside the Woodstock Old Courthouse has been listed, with the owners planning to sell the business and transfer the lease with the city to the buyer, said Patrick West, the real estate agent for the listing.

It’s no longer the only vacancy in the Woodstock Old Courthouse. DIY craft store Makity Make is also shutting its shop in the iconic building, too.

And the Records Department records store is moving elsewhere in downtown Woodstock after outgrowing its incubator space.

“We were out of space for records. We were out of space for people,” owner Kelly Sacco said.

Though the move to a larger space for the vinyl shop is a success story, it also means another vacancy at the Old Courthouse less than a year after a renovation was completed of the city-owned structure.

City officials said Makity Make’s shop will be divided into three spaces, two of which are geared for longer-term leases and one of which will be for another incubator. The program that helps retailers start up will now have three spaces inside the Old Courthouse.

Julienne Samuels, who owns the remaining incubator business, Seleta Scents, alongside Mike Richards, said she plans to remain in the Old Courthouse but said it would be nice if there was more collaboration amongst incubator businesses.

“We’re super excited” for the Records Department, Samuels said.

She also expressed worries about the business turnover in the Old Courthouse, saying it might be difficult for people to know what’s going on.

Julienne Samuels of Seleta Scents places merchandise on shelves ahead of the store's opening in 2023.

“We want to make sure we’re still bringing people in,” Samuels said.

Samuels added that there’s been less traffic since Public House closed but “everybody around the Square noticed” the drop.

Samuels might be getting two new neighbors in the incubator as new businesses in Woodstock will soon have the opportunity to test out a brick-and-mortar environment.

Makity Make’s closure is the second one inside the Old Courthouse since renovations wrapped up last year, following Public House’s abrupt closure at the end of March.

Woodstock Mayor Mike Turner said he wasn’t able to comment when asked Tuesday how close the city was to a new tenant in the Public House space. But he said the city is “working diligently” on it and hoped to provide more information soon.

People dine Tuesday, Aug. 29, 2023, at the Public House of Woodstock. The restaurant had recently reopened after a renovation of the Old Courthouse, but it abruptly closed in late March 2024.

A Makity Make representative wasn’t available for comment, but a post on the business’ Facebook page said many reasons led to the closure.

“I wish I could say it was just one thing that led to this decision but there are multiple reasons. At the end of the day, I need to do this for me, my health and my family,” Julie Callahan of Makity Make wrote in the post. Saturday is scheduled to be the final day at the Woodstock location; the business’ Algonquin store will remain open, the post said.

The Records Department, alongside Seleta Scents, was in the first group of businesses inside the incubator. Officials last year said the second group would move in in the spring of 2025.

The leases for both The Records Department and Seleta Scents are scheduled to run through next February, but Cathleen Tracy, economic development director for the city, said businesses who move out of the incubator elsewhere in town can break their leases without penalty.

New incubator businesses could be closer on the horizon. Tracy said officials plan to review tenant applications for new incubators June 10 and the city plans to offer 12- to 24-month flexible leases for future incubator tenants.

The Records Department plans to reopen just before the Fourth of July at 216 Main Street, in the “beautiful” former Wolf Jewelry building. Sacco said.

“We’ll be open for the holiday weekend,” Sacco said.

Sacco said The Records Department plans to leverage the larger space to host more events, but details are still being worked out.

“We have lots of big ideas,” Sacco said.

Sacco said the city has been “supportive” of the move, calling it “the point of the incubator.”

Said Tracy: “We consider their expansion an indicator of success.”

Sacco added of the record store, “People have needed this in Woodstock.”

Have a Question about this article?