A Very Sweet Story about Michelle Palisi
Chocolates by Michelle
This is a very sweet story about a very special lady who has made it her life’s work to bring pleasure to others through her delicious chocolate confections, and pay it forward whenever the opportunity arises!
Michelle Palisi, owner of Chocolates by Michelle, conquered numerous hardships to arrive where she is today. Having battled undiagnosed dyslexia as an adolescent, Michelle knew deep down that she wanted more out of life than that which being a server offered.
When it came to fulfilling her dream of starting a business, Michelle didn’t let a lack of business training, investment capital, or her learning disability stand in her way. “Nothing is impossible if you believe in yourself,” she explained.
Michelle and her firefighter husband, Bob, retired to Florida from Mt Vernon, NY, in 1980, after their two children were grown. She could not resist the entrepreneurial spirit within, so she approached the Small Business Administration about opening a specialty chocolate business. After being promptly dismissed due to the riskiness associated with that type of business, and what they perceived as a “speculative venture” no bank would approve for funding, Michelle decided she would do it on her own.
She took the $2600 nest egg she had built after having quit smoking, and she opened a small storefront in New Port Richey in 1985. Her lack of business knowledge and capital left her floundering after only a few weeks, but she continued searching for ways to make it work.
Michelle spoke with local media outlets to get the word out about her unique chocolate confections, and the gamble paid off! Press stories featuring her flair for creating unique molded and hand-dipped confections aroused customers. Her talent for customizing one-of-a-kind creations helped Michelle to thrive in a business known for its high failure rate.
In addition to the retail business, Michelle uses her personal collection of over 10,000 molds to create specialties for corporate clients like the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Tampa Bay Rays, and GTE. She also provides custom-themed chocolates, and caters her chocolate fountains for parties and special events, including weddings, birthdays, bar mitzvahs, grand openings, and offbeat occasions like divorce decrees!
Michelle’s menu consists of everything from logo embossed chocolate coins and chocolate covered strawberries, as well as assorted chocolate delicacies, including mouth-watering fudge. Customizable cocoa creations are always possible, along with personalized ribbon, gift baskets, gift box towers, and party trays. She also teaches classes.
Michelle is a past winner of West Pasco Chamber of Commerce Small Business Person of the Year, and she actively participates in numerous community organizations and non-profits, creating gift baskets and elaborate dessert tables for fundraisers.
“I love a challenge, and coming up with unique ways to present chocolate is a joy for me,” Michelle remarked. “The secret to success is giving back.”
Michelle and Bob reside in Hudson, and spend lots of time with their adult children, Danielle and Michael, and grandchildren, Parris and Rachael.
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Debbie Dawson RE/MAX Champions 727-709-9541 www.YourHomeTampaBay.com