Hershey chocolate became famous all over the world thanks to a quiet but very hard-working and generous person – Milton Hershey, the founder of the company.
Milton Hershey grew up in Pennsylvania, USA. His mother wanted him to learn practical skills. She believed practice is more important than college education. So when Milton finished the fourth grade, she arranged for him to become a printer’s assistant. But Milton didn’t like the job and left it soon after. In a while he became an assistant in a candy factory. He helped to make candy and became very successful at it.
After a few years of training, Milton understood that he wanted to start his own business. He borrowed some money from his aunt and set up a small candy shop. For five long years Milton Hershey worked extremely hard but had no success. He invested in the business more money than he made from it. Finally, he closed the shop and found work with a candy maker again. It was there that he discovered caramel and how fresh milk could be used to make it.
In 1883 Milton Hershey got back to the idea of his own business. He bought the equipment and started the Lancaster Caramel Company. Success soon followed. Within a few years, Milton Hershey had a growing business and was selling his caramels all over the country. At that time he became focused on milk chocolate, which in those days was an expensive dessert imported from Switzerland. Milton Hershey was determined to find a new formula for the product that could allow him to manufacture milk chocolate in large amounts and sell it countrywide.
So, in 1900 Milton Hershey sold his caramel company for $1,000,000 dollars and started up a chocolate factory. In fact it was more than a factory. Milton Hershey built a whole town around the factory – with houses, schools, churches, and stores. He wanted the people who worked in his factory to live nearby and feel comfortable. The factory was focused on producing the Nickel Bar, a relatively cheap chocolate bar that everyone could afford. Later, Hershey Kisses were added. These delicious, bite-sized pieces of chocolate were named after Milton Hershey himself.
As success and profits rose, Milton Hershey invested more money in the infrastructure of his town and added a sports arena, a stadium, and a school for orphaned children.
Milton Hershey died in Hershey, Pennsylvania, in 1945, one year after his retirement as chairman of the board. He was 88 years old. By the end of his life Hershey had donated most of his money to his town and the school for orphans. His chocolate factory remains the largest in the world. The town of Hershey is still home to about 12,000 people and draws more than 30 million visitors each year. They come to see the famous Hershey Park, which boasts a roller coaster, Ferris wheel and other rides. The factory tours draw more visitors annually than the White House. Guests can take a tour through a mock chocolate factory that includes a ride through a simulated roasting oven, and eating samples of Hershey chocolate.