Family-owned business makes handmade chocolates

Kay Faesel of Bowling Green, center, shops at Mary Jane’s Chocolates Monday afternoon. The store is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Anna Anderson

Smells of handmade chocolate waft through the air at Mary Jane’s Chocolates, located just off Scottsville Road in Bowling Green.

On an average day in the shop, Mary and daughter Marie Meszaros can be found chatting with customers and whipping up batches of truffles, meltaways and other treats from scratch.

“We don’t use preservatives,” Marie said. “That’s what I think makes us so good.”

The 31-year-old single mom handles the creative side of the business while her mother primarily makes the chocolates. This has been the arrangement since the shop opened in 2010.

After the Meszaros family relocated from Cleveland, Mary said she missed the chocolate shops she used to frequently visit.

At the time, she said Bowling Green didn’t have a successful chocolaterie.

“There aren’t a lot of southern chocolate companies,” Mary said.

In 2009, she decided to do something about it. Both Mary and Marie Meszaros attended classes on making chocolates and made plans to open Mary Jane’s.

The Meszaros looked at different locations for the shop, eventually finding a place through Mary Meszaros’ coworker at the Medical Center.

“It took a lot of people taking a chance on me,” Mary said.

In the years that the shop has been open, Mary Jane’s Chocolates has provided a variety of chocolates to individual buyers, as well as bigger corporations.

They often make large batches of specific types and package them for conferences, company gift bags and special events.

Sometimes the clients provide molds bearing the company’s logo and brand name.For example, Mary has Big Red molds she uses especially for WKU functions.

To deal with regular foot traffic in the store, as well as large orders from companies, the Meszaros family have hired some extra help.

This crew includes a few WKU students.

Bowling Green senior Tessa Seidler has worked at Mary Jane’s Chocolates since just before 2011’s holiday season. Before that, she held serving jobs at chain restaurants around town.

Seidler said working at Mary Jane’s suits her busy schedule better than her other jobs did, and she likes the working environment.

“I’m always learning something new every time I work,” she said.

Seidler helps greet customers, arrange the display cases and package chocolates for clients.

She even knows a little about the process of making the chocolates.

Seidler’s time at the chocolate shop will be coming to an end soon, as she is graduating in May and attending grad school in the fall. She said she hopes to visit often.

Both Mary and Marie Meszaros said their business is primarily upheld by customers and companies who come back over and over again for more chocolate.

“I’m flattered I’m still here,” Mary said. “I’m very thankful.”