Chocolate cheer

Headquartered in the village of Marcellus, the Chocolate Pizza Company had plenty to celebrate this Christmas.

The company had a new owner and CEO in Ryan Novak, a new satellite shop in Manlius and, as a result, a new batch of customers.

Sales were up 27 percent from last year.

"It was the busiest year, it was unbelievable," the Syracuse business student said. "We were here until 4 in the morning and back here at 6:30 a.m. cooking pizzas."

Novak said the retailer in Manlius provided a boost in sales - at a level he never predicted.

"It was huge for us," he said. "Our goal for next year is to make sure that we have more than enough products for everyone on the shelves so we're not telling people to come back tomorrow or the next day."

Novak was a place kicker for SU and then Temple before a leg injury led him to go pro in the chocolate business. He said playing football in college helped him prepare for the long hours of the holiday season.

"It's a tough job but it's a rewarding job," Novak said. "You get to hear people say 'We couldn't have Christmas without it' or 'They wouldn't let me in the door without a chocolate pizza.'"

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