Chocolate pizza. The mention of it elicits a variety of reactions from potential customers, from "Yum!" to "Huh?!" If you're one of those not familiar, you're in luck! The Chocolate Pizza Company of New York just opened their very third storefront here in Shelton! Proprietors Wendy and Paul Hahn, both long-time residents, opened shop this past Monday and an official ribbon cutting ceremony was held Wednesday evening where friends and members of the Greater Valley Chamber of Commerce gathered to celebrate the new business venture.
The Chocolate Pizza Co., now conveniently located at 435 Coram Ave., has been a fixture in the Central New York community for more than 24 years, known for their "unique, delicious and impressive chocolate treats." In the past two years, owner Ryan Novak has expanded the business from the headquarters in Marcellus, NY to offer the gourmet sweets to over 500 retail locations in 36 states.
Novak is Paul Hahn's cousin's stepson ("we just call him my nephew," Hahnd said). As a child, Novak would visit the Chocolate Pizza Co. store with his mother and it was his dream to one day own it. When she was killed in a drunk driving accident when Novak was nine years old, his business aspirations took on even more meaning than just a love for sweets.
The former owner of Chocolate Pizza had one storefront "and wasn't really focused on the Internet or branching out. She just served walk-ins," Wendy Hahn explained. Novak studied at Syracuse University and at the ripe old age of 20 got the funds to buy the company and take over the business. In the past two years, he has greatly expanded and now ships to wineries, hospitals and gift shops across the country.
"Ryan took it to the next level, and we're very excited to help him achieve his dream," Paul Hahn said.
So how did the Hahn's get involved in making this dream happen?
"Something good came out of something bad," Wendy Hahn explained. "Paul's dad had a medical issue and the family was sitting around the hospital, and somebody suggested he start selling the chocolates. So we got together with Ryan and decided to actually do it!"
This is the couple's first business. "We think we've got a niche -- there's nothing else like this in the area," Paul Hahn said.
Chocolate pizza is a circular chocolate mold decorated for any occasion and cleverly packaged in a traditional cardboard pizza box. There are milk and dark chocolate confections, all made from a "secret recipe" that includes a finely ground English toffee to give the candy a tasty crunch.
What better to pair with Chocolate Pizza? Peanut Butter Wings! The wings are made from top quality potato chips, layered with peanut butter then dipped in chocolate. The store also sells truffles, chocolate covered Oreo cookies, pecan clusters, garnished marshmallows and a variety of other unique chocolate treats.
"People are excited!" Wendy Hahn said. "We've gotten most of our customers through word-of-mouth. People will say they heard someone talking about it at the bookstore, or they saw a flyer at the firehouse, and we also had a booth at Shelton Day."
GVCC President Bill Purcell shared that enthusiasm Wednesday shortly before the ribbon cutting.
"For all the talk of the paralysis of the economy in our country, to witness what's happening here in our community is amazing," he said.
The Chocolate Pizza Co. is open Tuesday through Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Saturdays from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., and Sundays from 10:00 a.m. - 2:00 p.m. For more information, visit the company's main website!