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Serial entrepreneur strikes again

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MEDINA — Melissa Malone wanted a name that was all-encompassing for chocolatiers.

Thus, Cocoa Gourmet Artisan Chocolates was born.

Malone, the proprietor of several Medina small businesses, aims to turn a sometimes chocolate businesses into a full-fledged store at 102 W. Washington St.

Friday, the wife, mother and business owner said she wants to cater to chocolate lovers by providing a mix of chocolatiers from Ohio, including Anne’s Decadent Delights of Valley City.

“We want to bring in unique products,” Malone said. “So far, it’s been phenomenal. We’ve had a great response. We’ve had a lot of repeat customers.”

Malone celebrated her grand opening Friday. The business opened Oct. 11.

“We had more than 400 people come through (the store) that night,” she said.

Malone said prices range $1 to $84. The high-end packages are the “I’m sorry gifts,” she said.

The store, which is a 430-square-foot, two-level location, continues to be a sweet spot.

“This is the best shoebox on the square,” Main Street Medina Executive Director Matt Wiederhold quipped.

Medina Economic Development Director Kimberly Marshall called Malone a local entrepreneur.

“We’re here to celebrate another Melissa Malone business,” she said. “What a great way to start our ribbon-cuttings at a chocolate store.”

Several businesses have been housed at the location, most recently Nibble, a specialty food and gift store. Owner Melissa Ziogas moved Nibble to a larger space at 229 S. Court St.

“It’s cool to see how (the space) keeps evolving,” Marshall said. “Thanks for bringing a sweet shop to Medina.”

Malone already owns four other businesses in town, including the popular Book Store and Handmade Marketplace across the street from Cocoa at 109 W. Washington St. Malone also owns Hadleigh Rae Publishing, the Medina Tent Co. and Sweet Melissa Landscaping.

Medina Mayor Dennis Hanwell said a unique thing about the city is the variety of stores.

“It appeals to so many people,” he said.

He read a resolution from Senate President Larry Obhof, R-Montville Township, that welcomed Malone’s newest enterprise to the city. Katie Semo, a representative from Secretary of State Jon Husted’s office, followed suit.

“I don’t know one person who doesn’t like chocolate,” she said.

Malone was joined by her husband, Rick, and 4-year-old daughter, Calleigh.

Malone said the size of the store was something she couldn’t pass up.

“It’s the perfect space,” she said. “It’s not too big. It’s the exact footprint we needed.”

She sold chocolate at the bookstore for five years and will now get to expand that facet of the industry.

Malone said the store will carry locally made chocolates as well as vegan, dairy-free and sugar-free options.

Kathy Reyes will manage the store along with two additional employees. Reyes is the assistant manager at the bookstore.

Cocoa is open 11 a.m. to

8 p.m. Monday through Saturday. Its website is cocoamedinaohio.com. To reach the store, email cocoamedinaohio@gmail.com.

Contact reporter Bob Finnan at (330) 721-4049 or rfinnan@medina-gazette.com.

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