GREENE - The Silo was an iconic restaurant in Chenango County for decades, and after a fire in 2021 its new owners hope to bring some of that spirit back as The Silo Retreat.
The Silo Retreat Co-Owners John Hinman and Judy Hinman purchased what remained of The Silo two years after the fire following discussions with former owner Gary Kurz.
Since being purchased, The Silo Retreat has seen more than $100,000 worth of renovations, and is open for rent as an event center with options for short-term housing rentals as well.
Creating The Silo Retreat
John Hinman said his family had been looking for a special location to start their new business, and one day decided to reach out to Kurz to see what he planned to do with The Silo. He said on June 22 of 2023, they closed on the business, and they have been developing it into an event center ever since.
“For almost a year we couldn’t come up to see it,” said Hinman. “The fire broke our hearts, and after spending so much time there over the years it was tough to think about it not being there anymore.”
“It wasn’t until a cold and rainy February day much later on, that my wife said we should check it out.”
Hinman said one day they drove out to what remained of The Silo, and decided to call the former owner to see what they planned to do with it.
“We were looking to start our own business, but a big piece of this for both of us was that we wanted to make sure we honored The Silo’s memory if we did purchase the property,” he said. “Judy and I spent a lot of our time at The Silo, and we know how much it meant to the people who visited over the years.”
“We have a memorial to The Silo in the dining area, and elements of what remained from the fire on display including some of the original dishes that survived the fire.”
Hinman said his wife created a business plan that focuses around The Silo Retreat acting as an event center. He added that they also offer short-term rentals for their remodeled carriage house and newly built cabin on Airbnb, vrbo, and booking.com.
“In total we put about $140,000 into this project,” said Hinman. “We hope to invest more as we grow, but it’s important to us that we work with some of our community partners and build relationships with local businesses before we do that.”
Planning For The Future
When asked about the long-term plan for the business Judy Hinman said they hope to take things relatively slowly for now, but they want The Silo Retreat to be an event center that leaves a great impression.
“We would like to build a new pavilion by the end of June so that way there is more covered seating space,” said Hinman. “We have a lot of people calling about weddings and events - we have a tent which is lovely, but we would like to do more.”
She said the plan is designed to allow for rentals throughout the year in addition to those special events.
“We have one cabin, and three bedrooms which can all be rented out separately if needed,” she added. “We’re also looking at finishing another cabin, and really expanding on the space as a whole.”
She said the cabins will have access to an outdoor bathroom, and they are considering adding bunk beds for families if they want to stay during the summer.
“The biggest thing for us long-term is that we would really love to build connections with local businesses like Raymond. We want this to be a place where professionals can meet and host events - so we’d like to talk with businesses like them, and see what their needs are,” she added.
Hinman said community connections could play a big role in the overall success and expansion of The Silo Retreat for future years. She added that another aspect they considered is how much of a role The Silo played in the community, and what they can do to carry on that legacy.
“We’re so grateful and honored to have Michelle Whitbeck back with The Silo Retreat,” she said. “Michelle stopped by when we started renovating, and shared that she started gardening at The Silo in 1998.”
“She asked if she could continue to work here, and we said yes absolutely.”
Hinman said having Whitbeck on board helps them maintain the authenticity of the former business, while also helping them branch out and make the space their own. She said Whitbeck continues to help bring the outside back up to speed, and there are discussions about recreating some of The Silo’s iconic outdoor features.
How to reserve your stay at The Silo Retreat
When asked about reservations, Hinman said they try to make everything as easy as possible so that people are able to enjoy the space hassle free. She said they also added safety features including coded doors to add another layer of safety for anyone during their stay.
She said for anyone interested in renting the space for an event, please call them directly at (607) 765-6507 or reach out via Facebook at The Silo Retreat.