By Andy Simek
KAUNEONGA LAKE August 18, 2006 The Gerry Foundation served to modernize the old Woodstock site via Bethel Woods; the Carmack family is serving to modernize another, albeit smaller, piece of Woodstock history.
Vassmers General Store in Kauneonga Lake was made famous by the Woodstock documentary, labeling owner Art Vassmer as the Peanut Butter and Jelly Man after hundreds upon hundreds of concertgoers bought out his entire supply.
The building, located on the main drag in Kauneonga Lake, served as one of the last true Mom and Pop general stores in the county, and sold everything from hammers and nails to bread and butter.
All the members of the Vassmer family that lived locally helped run the business (which most recently housed the Woodstock Museum, a bait and tackle store and a supermarket) until 2004 when Bill and Rachelle Carmack bought the building.
The Carmacks have taken on the task of renovating the building and expanding what was seemingly an un-expandable venture.
Its a family affair, said Rachelle of the renovations, and, in true Vassmer style, explained that everyone has a hand in planning things.
Rachelle and Bill take the lead in the building aspect and the general planning of the new and improved structure. Max, their 12-year-old son, is involved in the landscaping. Their 9-year-old daughter, Julie, has taken charge of the interior design.
The plans, as of now, are to transform the former general store into a cafe and a catering hall and have fully furnished apartments for rent on the second floor, which overlooks Kauneonga Lake.
The second-floor apartments are already completed, but much more work needs to be done on the first.
The building, in the interim, is serving as an antiques shop and the familys planning headquarters.
In the spirit of the 60s, the Carmacks are allowing the project evolve on its own terms, letting the path lead where it may.