Malley’s Chocolate: A Company History
A Family Affair Since 1935
It was the height of the Great Depression, but Albert “Mike” Malley aspired to achieve his version of the American Dream: to own his own chocolate-making business. As a boy in Meadville, Pennsylvania, he had worked in a chocolate store learning to create hand-made chocolates using a simple copper pot over an open flame.
As a young husband and father, he borrowed $500, rented a small store and living quarters at Lewis Dr. and Madison Ave. in Lakewood, Ohio, and moved his family into the back rooms. He then purchased the materials and supplies needed to become a professional chocolatier and ice cream concoctioner. His wife, Jo, saw to it that the bills were paid on time, and together, they realized their dream.
By 1949, the second Malley’s Chocolates ice cream parlor and chocolate store opened at Victoria and Madison Aves., notable for being the first all-aluminum retail store in America.
On opening night, the Lakewood Police had to be called in to control the crowds. Remodeled in 1994, the store, which seats 100 ice cream lovers, still thrives.
Mike’s son, Bill, grew up working in the business. In charge of opening new stores, Bill continued to expand the company with the opening of our third store in North Olmsted at Clague and Lorain Rds. He installed a slow-revolving merry-go-round with ice cream parlor tables and chairs. Then Bill created – what else? – The Carousel Sundae in honor of it. Bill found good ideas all around him. He named the Sweet William Sundae for an ice cream and brownie combination that his son Bill Malley, Jr. dreamed up.
In 1967, Bill became President of Malley’s Chocolates. As sales grew and more stores were opened, the chocolate kitchen and factory had to be moved twice to larger quarters to accommodate the growing popularity of Malley’s.
All of the Malley’s Chocolate Shoppes and Ice Cream Parlors feature beautifully decorated interiors replete with hand-painted walls, hand-etched and painted glass panels and each were fashioned in our classic green, white and pink. They reflect the charm of lattice artwork and casual, upscale ambiance that Bill’s wife, Adele Ryan Malley, envisioned as an integral partner in the family business for many years.
Indeed, Adele founded the Malley’s School of Merchandising in 1983 to advise other confectioners on maximizing sales through interesting store layouts, high-impact packaging, store lighting and product presentation. She led the company into partnerships with trade organizations in the national confectioner’s industry and was inducted into its Candy Hall of Fame in 2004. Following their retirement, both Adele and Bill were honored by the Retail Confectioners International (RCI) as Emeritus Master Chocolatiers. All six of their children work day-to-day in the family company: Mike, Bill, Dan, Patrick, Sis and Megan.
Looking to the Future While Carrying on Tradition
Today, Malley’s Chocolates is a progressive company, proud of its place in the community and the more than eight decades it has been a part of it. Our history informs our present and plans for continued success and growth in the future.
A modern chocolate-making kitchen, factory and retail store occupies the five-acre, 60,000 sq. ft. location on Brookpark Rd. in southwest Cleveland, Ohio, where new chocolate ideas mix with long-time customer favorites.