Jan 23, 2012 Ned Campbell Uncategorized
The former McClurg Construction showroom on Main Street in Marcellus is no longer displaying state-of-the-art cabinetry — but it’s just as vibrant as ever.
The room is now home to the Chocolate Pizza Company, which has expanded its Marcellus location following a 30 percent increase in sales in 2011 over 2010. McClurg, located above the chocolate shop, will keep its offices upstairs and move its showroom to a new location.
Chocolate Pizza Company owner Ryan Novak told Scott McClurg late last spring that his business needed to expand.
“We couldn’t stay in the space we were in,” said Novak, who bought the company in July 2010 and graduated from Syracuse University’s Whitman School of Management in May 2011. “[McClurg] didn’t really want us to leave because we’re one of their bigger tenants here, so they said, ‘Hey, how about this space we have on the end here? Will this help you guys grow?’”
By extending its store across the entire first floor of the building, the Chocolate Pizza Company will be able to double the size of its kitchen — a much needed accommodation after adding 15 wholesale accounts last year. The company now has 35 businesses — among them area hospitals, florists and wineries — selling their unique line of chocolate.
The Marcellus-based company produced 65,000 pounds of chocolate in 2011 and has added four employees to its staff of nearly 20. While the Chocolate Pizza Company has become a national name — chocolate pizzas were shipped to all 50 states last year — Novak attributes much of the company’s growth to its Manlius store, which he added in October 2010.
“Our sales have been so great out there, we have to produce more than if we just had this spot [in Marcellus],” he said. “This move is a reflection of the fact that the business took off in Manlius.”
He also credits the company’s involvement with local fundraisers in both Marcellus and the Fayetteville-Manlius area, along with the company’s social media push. The Chocolate Pizza Company has 864 followers on Twitter (@chocolatepizzas) and in a year has doubled its presence on Facebook to surpass 1,200 likes.
Novak said the company’s growth wouldn’t be possible without the continued support of the community.
“We’d get 100s of people here a day during December,” he said. “It was nothing like we had ever seen before.”
Novak: “A chocolate pizza is premium chocolate with English toffee ground into it very fine. On top it has pecans, walnuts and almonds, and it’s covered with a white chocolate drizzle.”
The former Marcellus spot is now being reconstructed to handle just production and shipping, but the new retail space opened adjacent to it on Jan. 18. The colors are noticeably toned down from the last store’s bright pinks and yellows, allowing the company’s unique chocolate treats to shine.
“[McClurg] had gone with the elegant theme so that they could display cabinetry,” Novak said. “So we thought, instead of transforming it all again to the different colors, we’ll keep with the upscale, high-end theme and still have fun with our chocolate pizza products.”
As February approaches, the shelves are stocked with heart-shaped Valentine’s Day chocolate pizzas, which can be engraved with a personalized message. Novak said the company’s continued success in tough economic times is due to that enduring desire people have to cheer someone up — during the holidays or otherwise.
“It’s just such a fun gift,” he said. “It always cheers people up when they get a chocolate pizza. It sounds so cheesy, but it always goes back to that.
“People love getting a fun unique gift. It’s not just a box of chocolates. It’s not just something that you can get at any chocolate store. Literally, it’s a chocolate pizza.”
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