Several beloved family businesses closing for good in Ocean City, New Jersey

OCEAN CITY, NJ (WPVI) — Several long-time stores in Ocean City are closing forever after this season, heartbreaking for customers.

After Sunday, the 98-year baking tradition ends when Ward’s Pastry closes for good.

People lined up outside the Asbury Avenue store on Thursday to get their favorite cakes, cookies and cannolis.

“I grew up watching Wards,” said Wendy Kern of Egg Harbor Twp. “All the birthday cakes came from Wards and the cookies for Christmas.”

Owner Walter Hohman says it was just about time.

“I’m in a position where I can and I just don’t feel like working anymore. Honestly, that’s the absolute answer,” he said.

But Hohman also says the last few years as a business owner have been overwhelmingly challenging.

Now he says the hardest part is saying goodbye to customers.

“So overwhelming and humbling. I had no idea. I mean, yeah, we’ve been here forever and the customers are the biggest,” Hohman said.

A clothing store is expected to take over the Wards site.

Voltaco’s Italian Foods is another longtime Ocean City staple that will be closing for good on October 9th.

After 68 years, the Taccarino family is ready for more family time after dedicating tireless summers to homemade Italian cooking.

People are making their final visits.

“We’re having about double the usual wait times. And customers come in and they just smile and say we’re coming back and they come back. It’s just amazing to see,” said Jeff Taccarino.

He says the decision not to continue the business was a very personal one.

“Four generations of Taccarinos have worked here. We’ve missed entire summers. missed ball games. Missed talent shows and BBQs and Fourth of July parties,” he said.

The family is working on a cookbook for anyone who wants to try their recipes at home.

The OC Surf Cafe also recently announced that it is closing for good after 10 years in business.

When the companies released the decisions, many wondered why.

The executive director of the Ocean City Chamber of Commerce says that while the past few years have been difficult for Jersey Shore businesses between the pandemic and inflation, they have also seen renewed growth.

“We have people getting into these deals,” said Michele Gillian, executive director of the Ocean City Regional Chamber of Commerce. “They buy the sites, we have new young entrepreneurs who have invested in Ocean City.”

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