MARCELLUS, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Just five years after opening their brand new production facility and retail store in Marcellus, Chocolate Pizza Company is set to expand again.
As business continues to boom, the company is planning to add on to the facility this summer, with more room for production to keep up with demand.
It’s a long way in a short amount of time for owner Ryan Novak, who bought the company in 2010.
At that point the company had already been in business for nearly two decades on a smaller level. Novak actually started working there when he was 15, mopping floors and washing dishes, always dreaming of one day taking the company to new heights.
Ten years ago, at age 21, he did just that and bought the company.
Five years later, in 2015, he moved it to a new, much bigger retail and production facility just outside the Village of Marcellus.
Chocolate Pizza Company is coming off one of its busiest times of the year: Valentine’s Day.
“We purchase the highest grade chocolate you can buy. Then we take it from there, do a tempering process to make it more usable and mold it the way we want to,” Novak explains to NewsChannel 9.
The former kicker on the Syracuse University football team was finishing up work at the Whitman School at SU when he bought the chocolate company.
Novak says, “That first year I slept in my office for a whole year. I slept, I’d go to work and do a little work, do a little homework, drive up to Syracuse and do some class work, come back here and work again.”
In 2015, the new facility tripled the size of the former location, but it didn’t take long for them to outgrow that amount of space.
“We’re actually busting at the seams here, we need more space, so we’re actually looking at adding on this summer just because the last five years for the growth of our business has just been incredible,” Novak said.
The gourmet chocolate blended with English toffee shaped like a pizza and then put in a pizza box is still a top seller.
They have about 50 varieties now because of all the toppings combinations the company produces for the pizzas.
Running very close in popularity are the “wings”, chips mixed covered with peanut butter and chocolate, which is probably Novak’s favorite of all their products.
Novak says they expanded thanks to growth in specialty markets, like birthdays, thank you’s but especially corporate gifts.
“A customer will buy 500 pizzas and send it to their customers across the country, so then that next year that’s 500 people who have received a pizza in the past will then look at using us for holiday gifts that season and it just kind of grows exponentially, one year it’s a hundred, next year it’s two hundred and then eight hundred,” Novak says.
The companies using Chocolate Pizza Company for gifts include names like Disney, Delta Airlines and BJ’s Wholesale Club, which has put in the biggest single order yet.
“So that was 9 semi-trucks full of 27 pallets each on a truck going out, so that was incredible. It took every square inch of space we had to do 31-thousand chocolate pizzas. We’ve done a 100-thousand sparklers for a major pharmacy chain, a pretzel rod with peanut butter dipped in chocolate,” Novak tells NewsChannel 9.
Novak also said that they’ve been adding equipment to keep filling all the orders they’re getting from around the country and also now around the world.
He says the plan is to start the expansion this summer with the goal of being finished by fall when things really start to pick up again for Chocolate Pizza Company.
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For more local news, follow Jeff Kulikowsky on Twitter @JeffNC9