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From Dishwasher to CEO - An Inspired Journey

Chocolate Pizza Co. owner overcomes tragedy, reaches $1 million sales

At age 9, Novak's mother, seven months pregnant, was killed by a man high on marijuana who ran a stop sign.

    SYRACUSE, NY, May 28, 2014 /24-7PressRelease/ -- Just four years ago at the age of 21, Ryan Novak purchased his hometown chocolate shop, Chocolate Pizza Company, after working there as a dishwasher in his teens. With hard work and a vision to build the brand, he transformed that small town shop into a million-dollar business with 5 stores, booming online sales and gourmet chocolate products sold in 1.500 locations nationwide.

But the road to success hasn't always been easy.

At age 9, Novak's mother, seven months pregnant, was killed by a man high on marijuana who ran a stop sign. "It was an absolute nightmare," he said. Her death was devastating, but it also sparked a powerful desire in Novak to make her proud - a motivation that still drives him to excel.

"I know something about loss, pain, heartbreak and tragedy and I know that some people, especially young people, never climb out of the pit that life suddenly throws them in." Novak explained. "But it doesn't have to be that way. We can rise above the tragedy."

Recently, the Chocolate Pizza Company, Inc. owner shared key insights on what business professionals, especially young entrepreneurs, can do to move forward through challenging times in an article for Entrepreneur.com, "Because Life Isn't Easy: 4 Secrets of Success Amid Adversity" (http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/233744#).

The Entrepreneur.com article, which has been shared thousands of times on social media, highlights 4 secrets to success that Novak believes can help others. First, be passionate about what you wish to achieve. Second, find a mentor who can not only teach you but also inspire you to reach for big dreams.

The third secret is to make a promise. "I could not bring my mom back but I could promise to make her proud," Novak said. Finally, the fourth secret is to outwork everyone. "I slept in the warehouse many nights. It was exhausting month after month, but passion starts where your energy fails," he said.

"Everyone faces adversity in their lives," Novak said. "What matters is not to become a tragic epilogue to whatever setback interrupted your life."

Sales for the gourmet chocolate manufacturer have increased 365% in the past 3 years with significant growth in corporate gifts, wholesale business and online sales at the company's website, www.chocolatepizza.com.

Featured on Food Network, Chocolate Pizza Company's signature product blends gourmet chocolate with homemade English toffee, topping it with nuts or candies and white chocolate drizzle. Served in a pizza box it is just one of more than 100 handmade chocolate specialties that have become favorites for business and personal occasions. The company employs about 25 people and is headquartered in Marcellus, New York.


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Ryan Novak
Chocolate Pizza Company

Marcellus, New York
United States
Voice: 315-673-4098
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