What Do You Love About Life?
Do what you love; the money will follow.
One of the greatest stories of following what you love is the story of
Milton Hershey. Milton loved chocolate. Who doesn’t? The food
products that bear Milton S. Hershey’s name represent an
ongoingdedicationtoqualityandvalue—acommitment established by Hershey
In the early 1900s, Milton Hershey made one of the great
American fortunes through dogged persistence and the courage to pursue
a dream. Though he was modest and unassuming in
appearance,Mr.Hersheywasashrewdanddetermined businessman. He had a
genius for timing and an instinctive ability to choose loyal and able
people to help him.
The early years of Milton Hershey instilled in him the value of hard
work. He was born on September 13, 1857, in a farmhouse near the Central
Pennsylvania village of Derry Church. He was a descendant of people
who had come to Pennsylvania from Switzerland and Germany in the
1700s. Raised as a Mennonite, he attended school only through to the
fourth grade before his father, Henry Hershey, put him to work as a
printer’s apprentice in Gap, Pennsylvania.
It soon became apparent his talents did not lie in printing, he went on
to become an apprentice to a Lancaster candy-maker. In 1876 atthe age of
18, he opened his own candy shop in Philadelphia. The business failed
after six years. The next stop was Denver, Colorado, where
he accepted a job with a local caramel manufacturer.
There, he learned that superior results could be achieved when
fresh milk was used in the caramel-making process.
Mr. Hershey moved on to Chicago in 1883, then to New Orleans and later
to New York City—attempting to establish his own candy business
in each location. He returned to Lancaster, in 1886, where, after
raising the necessary capital, he began the business which established
his reputation as a candy-maker—the Lancaster Caramel Company.
Knowledge and Foresight
Mr. Hershey became fascinated with German chocolate-making machinery on
exhibit at the Chicago International Exposition in1893. He bought the
equipment for his Lancaster plant and soon began producing his own
chocolate coatings for caramels.
In early 1894, the Hershey Chocolate Company was born as a subsidiary
of his Lancaster caramel business. In addition to chocolate
coatings, Mr. Hershey made breakfast cocoa, sweet chocolate, and
In 1900, Mr. Hershey sold the Lancaster Caramel Company for $1 million.
However, he retained the chocolate manufacturing equipment
and the rights to manufacture chocolate, believing a large market
existed for affordable confections that could be mass produced. He
proceeded to prove his case.
He returned to his birthplace, Derry Church, and located his
chocolate manufacturing operation in the heart of Pennsylvania’s dairy
country. There he could obtain the large supplies of fresh milk needed
to make fine milk chocolate.
In 1903, with the money he received for his caramel business, he began
to build what is now the world’s largest chocolate
manufacturing plant. It opened in 1905, and Mr. Hershey’s great
contribution to the American food industry had begun—the mass production
of milk chocolate. Milton Hershey’s employees were
The chocolate business continued to thrive under Mr. Hershey’s guidance,
as did the community he established around it. A bank, department store,
school, park, churches, golf courses, zoo, and even a trolley system
(to bring in workers from nearby towns) were all built in rapid
succession. Although the town was well established by its 10th
anniversary in 1913, Mr. Hershey started a second building boom in the
1930s. During the Depression, he kept men at work constructing a
grand hotel, a community building, a sports arena, and a new
office building for the chocolate factory.
Mr. Hershey’s belief that an individual is morally obligated to share
the fruits of success with others resulted in significant
contributions to society. Together with his wife, Catherine, he
established the most prominent of his philanthropic endeavors—the
Hershey Industrial School—in 1909. It is now called the Milton
Hershey School. Saddened because they had no children of their own, the
Hersheys were anxious to put their growing fortune to good use.
Today, the 10,000-acre school houses and provides education for nearly
1,100 children whose family lives have been disrupted. Through
the Hershey Trust Company, the School owns 31.4 percent of
Hershey Foods’Common Stock classes outstanding, controls 76 percent of
the corporation’s voting shares, and is a direct beneficiary of Hershey
Foods’success. In addition, Hershey Trust Company owns 100 percent
of the stock of Hershey Entertainment and Resort Company, another
firm developed from several smaller businesses established by Milton
A man of principle, Mr. Hershey was a“doer”” not a philosopher. He never
wrote and seldom spoke about his beliefs. Nevertheless, he obviously
thought a lot about such matters as success and the value and purpose
of money. Throughout his life, he was committed to the highest
standards of quality, honesty, fairness, and integrity. His imagination
and drive, his ceaseless labor and his care and concern for others were
an inspiration to all who worked with him.
Milton Hershey was the rarest of men—both a dreamer and a builder. He
had the genius to develop his chocolate business in the right place at
the right time. His personal convictions about the obligations of
wealth and the quality of life in the town he founded have made the
company, community, and school a living legacy.
Milton Hershey did what he loved to do. He discovered his passion and
pursued it relentlessly. Think about him again. How many people would
warmly accept you and embrace you if you told them that you were going
into the business of making chocolate? Wouldn’t most people consider you
A golden key to long-term happiness in whatever you do in your life
is,“You must love it enough to possess a passion for doing it.”Milton
Hershey loved chocolate. I know…you love chocolate too. But Milton
Hershey loved it so much that he created a dynasty that reached farther
than most could dream. He affected people’s lives and made an impact
that has changed, not just Derry Church, Pennsylvania, but the whole
Do what you love to do. Don’t just go and do something for the money. Do
it because you feel passionate about it. Then and only then can true
success and happiness fill your life.