The Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award serves to recognize individuals who are under 30 years old and are majority small business owners.
2017’s award goes to Jessica Zaleskiwicz of Coco Couture in Severna Park, nominated by the Greater Severna Park and Arnold Chamber.
The small, unassuming shop in a strip mall along Ritchie Highway is quickly making a name for itself as the go-to stop for a thoughtful gift, decadent treat or just a quick trip to a world of fun. What’s more fun than a “Cow-ch,” a black and white cow-shaped sofa and ice cream cone themed tables and chairs?
Creating a fun, can’t resist stop was the plan, when Jessica, fresh out of business school, joined forces with her mom & stepdad, Laura and Nick Zeitz, to open Coco Couture in May of 2015. They feature handmade chocolate old bay crabs, chocolate dipped wine bottles, Nutella cups and truffles ranging in flavors from bacon and s’mores to wasabi. Local, small batch ice cream was added to the product line to help balance sales throughout the year, as chocolates take center stage during the holidays. Their exclusive “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” ice cream that combines crackerjacks and peanuts; with caramel ice cream tinted Orioles orange has proven a winner.
Jessica uses social media to attract customers and promote specials. She’s working on an e-commerce site to ship their handmade chocolates and has placed some items in the shops of fellow small business owners. They offer a variety of special events throughout the year, like princess parties and Gal-entine’s Day - which celebrates female friendships. They’ve also sponsored toy, food and household item drives for the YWCA and other local organizations.