Ozone Park’s Oxford Bake Shop closes after 90-plus years in business

Oxford Bake Shop, a long-time staple in Ozone Park, officially shut its doors after 94 years in business on Saturday, June 24.

To give the bakery a proper send-off, dozens of locals gathered in front of the shop at 104-01 Liberty Ave. for a farewell ceremony hosted by the Ozone Park Residents Block Association (OZPKRBA).

“This is not normal. This is really not normal,” lifelong Ozone Park resident and OZPKRBA President Sam Esposito said about the crowd. “People don’t just do this for a business that’s been an institution for Ozone Park.”

Oxford Bake Shop, according to Esposito, documents all the way back to 1929, making the bakery approximately 94 years old. Some people in the crowd even claimed that the shop is even older, potentially dating back to as early as 1920.

An empty display counter inside Oxford Bake Shop.Photo by John Schilling

Based on the existing documentation, Oxford Bake Shop was Ozone Park’s oldest existing

business in one location, second only to P.C. Richard & Son, which has been open since 1909 but at three different locations throughout Ozone Park.

Over the years, Oxford Bake Shop became a popular presence in the community, praised for its signature crumb cake, apple turnovers, cannolis, doughnuts, cookies, and rye bread, among other things.

The current owners, Vicki Deegan and Felicemarie Misiti, addressed the crowd outside the shop, thanking them for their years of support. Deegan said the bakery has been a part of “her whole life,” and the experience allowed her to meet people far and wide.

Oxford Bake Shop owners Vicki Deegan and Felicemarie Misiti.Photo by John Schilling

“It took a village to keep this bakery,” Deegan said. “Customers are our family. I know more about some of my customers than their own family does.”

Misiti, who started working at the bakery when she was 15 years old, became an owner about 15 years ago and worked at the bakery for 36 years altogether.

“It’s been wonderful. I met so many wonderful people in here,” Misiti said. “We couldn’t be where we were without everybody.”

The news of Oxford Bake Shop’s closing came in May when Esposito announced it on OZPKRBA’s Facebook group. Since then, according to Esposito, 140,000 people across the country have viewed the post, and it has been shared over 1,000 times across social media.

Over the last few weeks, people from all over the city and across the country traveled to the shop and lined up outside to get their last taste of the menu. For many residents and former residents, Oxford Bake Shop was a taste of home. 

This includes Esposito, who recalled going to the shop with his grandmother when he was younger and referred to its closure as “emotional” for him.

Sam Esposito hosted the farewell ceremony outside Oxford Bake Shop.

“Oxford Bakery is an institution for most of us when we were kids,” Esposito said. “We’ve all patronized this, and we’re all very heartbroken.”

OZPKRBA Chairperson Brina Ciaramella echoed Esposito’s sentiment, recalling that it was her responsibility to guard her grandparents’ box of apple turnovers while snacking on something from the bakery on the car ride home every weekend. Ciaramella further praised Oxford Bake Shop for what it has meant to the community and for bringing people together.

“I feel like a bakery is really like one of the hearts of a community because when you step into the bakery, you’re looking to choose things with love to share with the people that you love,” Ciaramella said. “That really makes it so much more emotional than just stepping into any old retail shop.”

District 32 Councilwoman Joann Ariola shared her own emotional ties to the bakery, recalling what it meant to her family while growing up, as well as the community as a whole.

“It wasn’t Sunday without Oxford for breakfast,” Ariola said. “Oxford was part of our family and for all of us, it was our birthday cakes, it was our wedding cakes, it was our communion cakes. It was everything that we celebrated.”

Councilwoman Joann Ariola shares memories outside Oxford Bake Shop.Photo by John Schilling

Ariola added that Oxford Bake Shop was also of special importance to her late father, Paul, who lived nearby on 104th Street. According to Ariola, her father would go behind the counter at the bakery, make a cup of coffee, grab a crumb bun, and wait for the rest of his order, which usually consisted of jelly doughnuts and apple turnovers. Prior to his passing, Ariola’s father even requested a crumb bun from the bakery one last time.

“It just made it so much of a home,” Ariola added. “It made you want to come back, and that’s why it’s going to be so hard to let go of.”

During the ceremony, Ariola presented Deegan and Misiti with a proclamation, commending Oxford Bake Shop for its “decades of serving the families and residents of Ozone Park and beyond.”

While the bakery will live on in the community’s memories, Joe Caruana added that it won’t be the same without them, recalling how he used to bring crumb cake to his cousins in Flatbush. As the president of the Our Neighbors Civic Association of Ozone Park and Nativity Golden Age Club, Caruana frequently ordered 120-150 pastries from the shop for meetings.

“People went crazy for them,” Caruana said. “I think what would be good is if you guys were to make a cookbook on Oxford Bakery recipes.”

Joe Caruana addresses the crowd outside Oxford Bake Shop.Photo by John Schilling

As for why Oxford Bake Shop closed its doors, Esposito took a moment during the ceremony to address the ongoing rumors that they had been forced out by the building’s owner.

“There’s a lot of misinformation. The owner of this building did not put them out of business,” Esposito told the crowd. “This was their decision …You don’t realize the sacrifices they made to keep this open to serve the community.”

Despite the sacrifices, Deegan and Misiti have no regrets and are grateful for the memories.

“I will take this wherever my next chapter leads me,” Deegan told the crowd. “I will think about you, always.”