Milton Hershey, Hershey Foods – A Biography Of The Chocolate King!
There are a few names that are synonymous with the candy that is sold in various retail outlets today, and many of them have been around for years. Hershey is one of them but would have never came into being if it were not for the dream of a humble farm boy from Pennsylvania. Milton Hershey fell into the candy trade by accident but is now king of it, despite the fact that he died over 60 years ago. The entrepreneur has earned legendary status and you can read on to find out how and why.
The Chocolate King Is Born
Milton Snavely Hershey was born on September 13, 1957 in Derry Church, Pennsylvania. His parents lived in a farming community and made a living off the land. However, during the entrepreneur’s early childhood, the family moved a lot. An unsettled Hershey barely managed to attend school and make friends before they were on the move again. As a direct result, he left school after completing the fourth grade, which was early even by the standards of the time.
Milton Hershey was determined to settle down and make a living but his first foray into the world of work was hardly a success. He began an apprenticeship with a printer in Lancaster, Pennsylvania but absolutely hated the business. He persevered for a few weeks before deciding to move on to pastures new. Remaining in the town, the entrepreneur managed to get another apprenticeship but this time with a candy maker. Finding that he loved it, he stayed for four years and then put his knowledge to good use by setting up his own candy business.
The Beginnings Of Hershey Foods
Milton Hershey’s first few ventures into the candy industry were nothing short of a disaster. He did not make any money at all from his first three business ventures and moved home to Lancaster in 1883. However, shortly after his move back, he opened the Lancaster Caramel Company. It made a lot of money during the first few runs of the unique caramel recipe that Hershey had formulated and, as such, spurred the entrepreneur on. Not satisfied with only producing one product, Hershey began to seek out machinery that could make it possible for the company to produce more products and found it at the World’s Columbian Exposition in 1893. Seeing an opportunity, he invested in machinery to make chocolate and was soon experiencing unprecedented success.
Hershey sold the Lancaster Caramel Company at the turn of the 20th Century for $1 million. This was a fortune at the time, especially considering the deal actually guaranteed that the chocolate production was not part of the sale and that the entrepreneur could continue to produce chocolate independently. With the proceeds of the sale, Hershey built his own factory near Derry Church. There he could tap into the farms in the area to get fresh milk for the chocolate, and he would also have the space to expand when the company required. Hershey Foods was born.
The Hershey factory was completed in 1905 and contained a variety of machinery that would enable Hershey to mass produce chocolate products, which were soon in a number of stores all over the US. However, his fame grew as a result of his vision of a Hershey town. The entrepreneur began to build houses, transport links, churches and stores around the factory and used the former to house his employees. This became a massive talking point in the Depression. Hershey had money and an extremely popular product and put it to good use to create jobs. As such, when thousands of businesses in the United States were going under, Hershey prospered.
The legacy that Milton Hershey created is still as popular now as it was in the early years of the 20th Century. He died in 1945 but worked up until the year before. He was incredibly successful and proved that it was possible to build a business up from nothing. Through hard work and his inability to rest on his laurels, the entrepreneur created a place for himself in the American candy industry. That place is still occupied by Hershey Foods today.