Several beloved family businesses closing for good in Ocean City

Trish Hartman Image
Friday, September 16, 2022
Several beloved family businesses closing for good in OC
After Sunday, 98 years of baking tradition will come to an end as Wards Pastry closes for good.

OCEAN CITY, New Jersey (WPVI) -- Several long-standing Ocean City businesses are closing for good after this season, leaving customers heartbroken.

After Sunday, 98 years of baking tradition will come to an end as Wards Pastry closes for good.

People lined up at the shop on Asbury Avenue on Thursday to get their favorite pies, cookies and cannolis.

"I grew up with Wards," said Wendy Kern of Egg Harbor Twp. "All the birthday cakes were coming from Wards and the cookies at Christmas."

Owner Walter Hohman says it was just time.

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

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

Now he says the toughest 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 greatest," said Hohman.

An apparel store is expected to take over the Wards location.

Voltaco's Italian Foods is another longtime Ocean City staple closing for good on October 9.

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

People are making their final visits.

"We're at about double our usual wait time. And customers come in and they just smile and say we'll be 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 been missing out on whole summers. Missing out on ball games. Missing out on talent shows and BBQs and Fourth of July parties," he said.

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

O.C. Surf Cafe also recently announced it will close for good after 10 years in business.

As the businesses posted the decisions, many have wondered why.

The executive director of Ocean City's Chamber of Commerce says while the past few years have been difficult for Jersey shore businesses between the pandemic and inflation, they've seen new growth, too.

"We have people coming into these businesses," said Michele Gillian, executive director of the Ocean City Regional Chamber of Commerce. "They're buying the locations, we have new young entrepreneurs that have invested in Ocean City."