By Robert Shumskis, Standard Correspondent
Following some major life changes, Nicole DeNoyers, who has owned the Soulfully Good Cafe in Woodstock Village since 2019, has decided to sell the business. In her place, a family from Georgia has taken over with the same spirit and some new ideas to carry operations forward.
“I always dreamt of having a cafe,” DeNoyers stated as she recalled the days before she owned the business. “I was living in California when I saw that the original owners of Soulfully Good were selling the cafe in 2019. I wanted to move back to the northeast, so I thought, ‘Why not? It’s a perfect opportunity in a pretty little town.’”
At that, DeNoyers developed a plan to set up an apartment above the cafe for her convenience and purchase a home within a 15 to 20-minute radius of the village. “But you know what they say about plans — make one and the Universe laughs,” she says.
Indeed, she was dealt a tough hand less than a year after purchasing the cafe when the pandemic commenced. Amidst that uncertainty, she found comfort when she fell in love, which in turn brought about other changes. “Couldn’t have seen that coming,” she says with a laugh.
“I moved to Poultney and commuted to Woodstock for almost two years. I didn’t realize the mountain in the middle would become such a barrier,” she says. “I felt like I couldn’t do the cafe or the community justice, so I put it up for sale in the hope that it would end up with a family with a support system.”
DeNoyers hopes were realized when she met interested buyers Seth and Dashia Cox from the small town of Washington, Ga.
The Cox family includes Hunter (23 years old), Haleigh (22), Hayden (11), and Hinsley (9). Although Dashia worked in a cafe many years ago and Hunter had worked in one in Washington, owning a cafe is a new level of challenge for them.
“We are excited for this new adventure here in Woodstock,” Seth Cox stated. “We were in the agricultural business for almost 17 years, so this is a big change.” Hunter and Haleigh worked at the Woodstock Inn for about seven months while the rest of the family was still in Georgia. “During that time, we visited quite often and fell in love with the area. When the opportunity of purchasing the Soulfully Good Cafe came along, we knew we had to take the leap,” Seth recalled.
The Coxes have continued operating the business similarly to how DeNoyers did, but some changes will take place. “We are currently operating Soulfully Good under the preexisting hours, which are Wednesday through Saturday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday for Brunch from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. We plan to add an additional day and possibly some evenings for service,” Seth stated. Hunter and Haleigh will be helping accomplish that expanded schedule. Cox added that all of the original employees have stayed on the team and have “worked out great” thus far.
While the family does not foresee changing the name or the interior, they do wish to add “a little Southern to the menu,” as Seth stated. That might include some sweet tea and handcrafted lemonade, as well as the occasional Southern dish as a special.
For her part, DeNoyers is content and confident in her decision. “I wouldn’t trade the experience of having the cafe and meeting so many wonderful people in the community and visitors to Woodstock,” she says gratefully. “Steering it through the pandemic and coming out successfully on the other side with a ton of memories — some good, others best forgotten — and the love of my life was a pretty darn amazing experience!”