Historic Ocean City business is closing its doors after nearly 100 years

A beloved Ocean City business announced that it will be closing its doors after nearly 100 years of serving the Jersey Shore. 

The people of Ocean City and well beyond it have patronized Wards Pastry on Asbury Avenue for 98 years, but the long-time owner is turning off the oven and saying an emotional farewell as he looks towards retirement.

"The memories of everything, you know? I’ve been parking in the same parking spot for 40 years! I wish we could've kept it going, but it just didn't work out. We tried. I'm just gonna miss everybody," said Walter Hohman, owner of Wards Pastry.  

Hohman's grandfather bought the bakery from the Ward family in 1941 and decided to keep the name. After many years of selling signature donuts, cookies, pies, and pastries, Hohman took over in 1988 and has owned the bakery since.

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Loyal customers to the multi-generational business are sad to see the place go as it has been a staple in the community, known for its scrapple pies and fried cinnamon and butter cookies. Customers have been lining up since the bakery announced its closure to get their fix of bakery treats and even things like cookies jars, which have been collected over the years. 

"We're all going to be heart sick and miss it terribly," said longtime customer, Rose Craddock. "You can buy donuts from different places, but they're not our Wards."

Wards' treats are even popular among people who don't live in New Jersey. Margo Burns went to snatch up some of the last cookies for her 95-year-old mother who lives in Connecticut. 

"It means that I will put smiles on their faces. When I FedEx them today, they’ll get them tomorrow! Yea it’s good! A little taste of Ocean City," said Burns.

The appreciation goes both ways as Hohman and his family equally show gratitude for their customers' support.

 "The Hohman family would like to thank everyone for choosing Wards Pastry to be part of their celebrations through all of these years," the bakery said on Instagram. "Thank you for all of your support!"

The last day of business for Wards Pastry is September 18th, so there is still some time to catch a little piece of Ocean City history before they close their doors.