Hershey was born on September 13th, 1857, in Derry Township, Pennsylvania, on a farm to Henry and Veronica "Fanny" Snavely Hershey. He had only one sibling, Serina, who sadly died from scarlet fever when Hershey was only nine years old. Hershey was raised in a very devout Mennonite family. He had a very limited and rural education due to his father constantly working new jobs to make quick cash, which caused the family to move around a lot. By the time Hershey was thirteen years old, he had attended six different schools. His parents eventually separated, leaving Hershey's upbringing to his mother. After completing the fourth grade, his mother decided he should leave school and enter into a trade.
Hershey's mother was able to find him a job working as an apprentice at a printing press. He would help set up each letter for the printing press and then load the paper and ink for the printer to work. He thought the work was boring and didn't enjoy the job. After two years working for the printing press, Hershey was fired because he was very mischievous and dropped his hat into the printing press on purpose. Afterwards, his mother helped him find an apprenticeship job with a candy maker in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. For four years, Hershey learned the art of candy-making and developed and excelled this skill. After completing his apprenticeship, Hershey decided to take his passion to whole new level.
Started from the bottom
At nineteen years old, Hershey borrowed $150 from his aunt and started his own confectionary shop in Philadelphia. For the next few years, he worked his hardest, but he wasn't able to make enough profit to keep his business open. He eventually closed his business and moved out West with his father. In Denver, Hershey worked with a candy maker and learned the technique of making the best caramel and learned that the best tasting candy is made from fresh milk. Hershey soon ventured out and started businesses in Chicago, New Orleans, and New York City, which—like his first business—ended in failure. He then retreated back in to Lancaster and reinvented the way he was going about his business.
Now He's Here
With the help of a former candy maker, Henry Lebkicher, his aunt, and his mother, Hershey started the Lancaster Caramel Company. He focused primarily on caramels using the techniques he learned in Denver. He redeveloped the caramel candy by adding fresh milk which gave the candy a more distinct flavor, chewiness, and shelf life. For the time being, he sold these caramels on a push cart and made a decent profit until the business was discovered by a English candy importer. The business expanded and his "Crystal A" caramels was a huge demand all over the world. Hershey then took a trip to England and discovered that the caramels were being cut up in bite-size pieces and then dipped in chocolate. After learning the process of chocolate-making, he took the chance and brought it back the US. He traveled to Chicago where chocolate really sparked his interests. He would then developed three signature chocolate products—Hershey's Cocoa, Hershey's Baking Chocolate, and chocolate-dipped caramels. Soon after, Hershey sold the company for a million dollars and focused solely on chocolate.
Bigger is Better
At 37 years old, Hershey started the Hershey Chocolate Company. His business was able to quickly find success. This all came to be when Hershey needed a place for his factory. He founded and started a community or town in his birth town of Derry Township which he simply called Hershey. He was able to establish his factory, houses, churches, post offices, and schools. The people who flocked to this region contributed to the success of the company and made the community an attraction place.
During the early years of the company, it produced many of the products we see today such as the Hershey's Chocolate Bar and the Hershey's Kiss. With easy access to resources and the mass production of the various chocolate candies, he was able to lower the price which gave all people the ability to buy his products. For the first 50 years, the company was able to strike gold without the use of much advertisement. Advertisement wasn't a big thing until the company expanded overseas to over 90 countries. After 40 years with the company, Hershey stepped down and a year later, he died from pneumonia. Today, Hershey 's has become one of the most popular household names with more than 147 products.