I am, Ryan Novak, owner of Chocolate Pizza Company, Inc.
Chocolate Pizza Company was founded by Bonnie Hanyak 25 years ago. Bonnie originally planned on having a small floral and gift basket store but her success quickly grew. In 1992, Bonnie perfected her unique Chocolate Pizzas, blending premium milk or dark chocolate with a famous Marcellus candy recipe from 1919 for English toffee and topping it all with pecans, almonds, walnuts and white chocolate drizzle. It was a taste masterpiece.
She later added Peanut Butter Wings - locally produced potato chips, covered in peanut butter and dipped in chocolate - and the "Chocolate Pizza & Wings Combo" was born. Over the years, our chocolate confections have earned a reputation for being unique, delicious and impressive - the perfect gift.
As a toddler, my mom used to take me into the store when it was across the street from our house. Bonnie tells me I was very good at finding the chocolate sample tray even from my stroller! When my mom died in 1998, Bonnie was one of the many people in our community who helped me get back on my feet. When I was 15, I asked Bonnie for my first part-time job. I washed dishes, mopped floors and took out ther trash but I loved the business and found Bonnie to be a wonderful mentor. I told her then that when she was ready to retire that I wanted to own Chocolate Pizza Company. Over the years, she taught me everything about the business and in 2010, at the age of 21, she sold me the company. Since then, my focus has been to build Chocolate Pizza into a national brand.
And build it we have! In the 3 years I have owned the company, sales have more than tripled. We have grown from 1 store to 4 and from 1 wholesale account to over 700 locations across 40 states including Hallmark stores, national parks, hospital gift shops, wineries and many more. Our Manlius, NY store opened in 2010 and is now led by Kathleen Keegan. In October 2012, we opened a Chocolate Pizza Company store in Shelton, CT with Paul and Wendy Hahn as proprietors. In March 2013, our Cincinnati store opened in the entry atrium of Jungle Jim's International Market (Eastgate) with Rob Taylor as general manager and Cole Novak as Assistant General Manager.
In 2011, I finished my bachelor’s degree at Syracuse University where I majored in Entrepreneurship and Emerging Enterprises and played football. SU was a great experience and has supported my efforts to grow Chocolate Pizza Company.
Being featured by Food Network’s hit show, Unwrapped, in 2007 gave the company national exposure but we refreshed that visibility with a fantastic feature segment on ABC News in 2010. Locally, we have enjoyed media interest in print, online, radio and even TV appearances on Bridge Street. We appreciate it all.
I hope you enjoy this website which showcases our offerings and makes online ordering a breeze any time of the day. Please join us on Facebook and Twitter as well.
We enjoy a strong following nationwide but celebrate our hometown roots. Locally, we support numerous community activities, charities and special events as well as sponsor a Marcellus youth baseball team and leadership awards for the varsity football program. We have made giving back a core value of Chocolate Pizza Company.
Our product line has expanded dramatically with creative confections that are unique, delicious and impressive. We are a thriving small business because the quality of our products are exceptional and the strength of our team is unmatched. I am proud to lead such a professional, productive and fun organization. I was honored recently to be named to "40 Under Forty" as one of the Syracuse area's top young professionals but I consider it a reflection of my team and our collective commitment to building something special at Chocolate Pizza Company.
Exciting times are ahead and I look forward to sharing those with you. Thanks for being a Chocolate Pizza fan!
Bonnie Hanyak, founder of The Chocolate Pizza Company passes a chocolate pizza to new owner, Ryan Novak (July 2010)