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Island Park bakery, sweet shop prepare for spring holidays amid sour times

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Not all is sweet in the world right now, but that won’t stop the spring holidays from coming.

Island Park’s bakeries and candy shops are dealing with losses because of the coronavirus, while forging forward and preparing for Easter and Passover. 

Agrigento Bakery, on Austin Boulevard in Island Park, however, is open — but for curbside pickup only, said owner Mary Costanza.

“It’s hard to do business because we don’t want people coming in,” she said. “But customers still want to come in and don’t understand. We just want to keep our customers and staff safe.”

Customers can call in orders to the bakery and pick them up from their car outside the shop. Costanza described the new system as being “a little hectic,” especially as the spring holidays approach.

Still, the bakery is only doing 30 to 40 percent of the business it usually does during this time of year.

“We are feeling pain right now,” Costanza said. “People can’t get together and be with their families, so instead of a dozen cannolis, maybe they’re ordering four cannolis.

“But we’re not producing as much, as well,” she added.

Joan Cohen, owner of Hope’s Land of Candy, in Island Park, also contends that less is more for this unusual spring season. The candy shop, known for its vintage sodas and old-time décor, is taking a hit, as people cannot sit in the store and enjoy the experience during this time.

“We went from maybe 50 to 60 customers a day down to about 10,” Cohen said. “Our revenues are way, way down … Normally, Easter is one of our busiest times, and this is impacting that.”

As a result, Cohen has done away with large chocolate bunnies and candy baskets, and instead, is making everything in smaller sizes. “People are financially strapped at this point,” she said, “so this is more economical and affordable for families, especially those that have lost jobs.”

Cohen acknowledged that the business, itself, is falling on hard times, too, and has been seeking financial assistance to keep the shop afloat. She’s also ramping up the store’s online presence to reach customers.

Oceanside's bakeries and candy stores are also feeling the impacts of coronavirus.