The Red Sox, who had won five World Series titles in the 15 years between 1903 and 1918, appeared in only four World Series in the 82 years between Babe Ruth’s last pitching appearance in 1918 and the year 2000. Although each was a barnburner, the championship trophy steered clear of Boston. However, the annual All-Star Game, which came to Fenway in ’46 and ’61, returned once more for the 20th century’s final “Mid-Summer Classic” in 1999. Woodman’s was there too, catering for thousands, and as with the hometown team, the way had been paved with adventures.
Having trained their kids well on how to manage day-to-day operations, Deck and Gini became Florida residents in 1980. Returning to Essex during the summer seasons, Deck would arrive early every morning to open up and carry out his daily routine, just as he had always done. Although he was just a phone call away during the rest of the year, it became his policy to listen and offer advice, while leaving the actual decision-making to the kids. And it was the dawning of an era when many decisions would need to be made at Woodman’s.
While the lighthearted joie de vivre would remain (as it does to this day), what had once been an entrepreneurial venture was slowly evolving into a professional enterprise. The times demanded it. Beyond the quality of its food and service, Woodman’s success was progressively dependent on how well it handled increased competition, risk management, the growing issue of environmental awareness, and a flood tide of new regulatory requirements.