Who doesn't love chocolate. Buyers were found pretty quickly, and the deal promised to be profitable for all parties.
Only the residents of the town of Hershey intervened in the matter. Potential buyers included such giants as American Wrigley, British Cadbury and Swiss Nestle.
It was only under public pressure that the Hershey Trust made the final decision to abandon the deal. The Board rejected all offers to purchase, requesting that the sale be discontinued. This unexpected turn of affairs is due to the unusualness of the brand itself. Hershey Foods seems to have stepped out of the textbook of utopian socialists, or maybe just embodies the religious views of its creator. It was this unusual appearance of the company that prevented it from being sold so easily.
Milton Hershey, whose name the company received, was born in 1857. He was born in the small town of Derry Church, Pennsylvania. Milton's family was very religious. The family's ancestors came to the country in the 18th century from Switzerland and Germany. In America, a group of compatriots formed a small community. That is why Milton began to speak not in English, but in some unusual "Pennsylvania Dutch". The family moved frequently, as a result, Milton graduated from school only four classes.
True, the mother did not strive to give her son a normal secular education. In her opinion, books only harm. That is why, at the first opportunity, Milton was given the opportunity to acquire professional skills. At first, the teenager worked a little as a printer's assistant, but the printing did not captivate Milton, and he became an apprentice to a local pastry chef. He sold ice cream and cheap caramel. Milton liked this work so much that he plunged into this craft, cherishing the hope in the future to open his own business.
However, the first attempts to launch their own businesses - in Denver, New York, Chicago, Philadelphia and New Orleans - ended in failure. It's good that Hershey managed to find out from one pastry chef a secret known to everyone today. It turned out that the caramel had to be diluted with fresh milk to taste. This discovery inspired Milton so much that he made another attempt, this time in Lancaster. Tired of Hershey's useless activities, relatives refused to help him, only his mother and aunt took his side.
Through a series of experiments, Milton came up with an original caramel recipe called Hershey's Crystal A. This was the beginning of fame. The new caramel was liked not only by the Americans, but also by foreign importers. Having received a large order from England, Milton decided to take out a loan from Lancaster National Bank. Instead of presenting a surety, Milton gave his caramel a try to the head of the bank. In the end, he himself vouched for the novice businessman, believing in him. The money made the business prosperous, and the sale of caramel made Milton Hershey one of the richest residents of Lancaster by 1894.
Finally, he got the first free money in his life. American wealthy people at that time loved to travel a lot, and Hershey did the same. He has traveled to France, Mexico, Egypt and England. At the same time, he examined not only museums, but also shops, as well as factories, plants, wholesale enterprises. Hershey made useful business contacts, and also drew new ideas for his business. Having made his first million in the production and sale of caramel, Milton decided not to stop. He received his world fame and enormous fortune thanks to chocolate.
And the idea to do it with him came to Hershey at the 1893 World's Fair in Chicago. There, the businessman was impressed by the German equipment for the production of chocolate. Hershey immediately bought the equipment and brought it to his place in Lancaster. At first, in the new workshop, icing for caramel was created, a little later the range was expanded with cocoa for drinking and chocolate for baking. By the end of the 1890s, Hershey finally decided to switch to a new direction. In 1900, the business that made him wealthy was sold to competitors for an impressive million dollars. The American left himself only one shop for the production of chocolate.
Hershey had to start looking for a place to build a new plant. For this, he returned to his native Derry Church. He bought the parental house long ago, giving it to his father, and now he himself decided to settle there. It was captivating that there were many unemployed in the city who would gladly go to work in a new factory. And a large number of farms near Derry would provide milk necessary for the production of chocolate. That is why the decision was made - in 1903 the construction of the factory began, and from 1905 it began to work.
But to recoup the investment needed a real hit product. Then Hershey thought about creating an original milk chocolate recipe that could compete with recognized Swiss brands. The businessman never tired of experimenting, trying new ideas, combinations, additives. So the Hershey's bar was born, which has become a favorite treat of Americans for many years. And in 1907, another bestseller was released - Hershey's Kisses chocolates.
The idea of their creation also belonged to the head of the company. Interestingly, after getting rich, Hershey did not become a curmudgeon. Moreover, his religious views did not allow enjoying wealth, while his compatriots lived in poverty. But the businessman did not know how to give away the money he earned. He saw his mission in creating new jobs, as well as in maintaining unique working conditions for employees at that time.
Around the factory in Derry Hershey, a whole city grew up, to which Hershey gave his name. It contained everything needed for the workers and their families - churches, a bank, shops, parks, laundries, golf courses, a hotel and even a zoo. Most of the employees lived in this city, but the businessman did not forget those who lived outside of Hershey - a special tram line was built to make the journey to the factory easier.
During the Great Depression, Hershey itself saw a second construction boom. To provide jobs for all residents in need, Milton even began building a huge Mediterranean-style hotel. And the prototype for it was the Cairo Heliopolis Hotel, which impressed the businessman so much during his trip to Egypt. On May 26, 1933, the hotel was officially opened, in honor of which a party for 400 people was organized! A year later, the hotel also opened a golf club, and a little later a ballroom appeared.
But the most important charitable act of the "king of chocolate" was the opening in 1909 of an industrial school. Since 1951, it has been named after its founder. Unfortunately, Milton and his wife could not have children, so they gave all their love and care to the orphans. And although Hershey himself grew up in a full-fledged family, his childhood was also not easy. Therefore, the millionaire considered himself obliged to limit as many children as possible from difficulties. Hershey remembered that he had never completed his studies, so he took care of getting his pupils not only professional skills, but also high-quality secondary education.
In 1915, Hershey's wife died, and in 1918 he himself wrote a will. According to him, his entire personal fortune, at that time about 60 million dollars, had to go to the school. And this decision remained unchanged until the businessman's death in 1945. Now Hershey Foods is a public company, but the school itself, thanks to the Hershey Trust, owns 31% of the shares. The school also controls 76% of the company's voting shares.
Interestingly, Hershey has always had close contact with the American military. For example, in 1937, the army approached the president of the company with a request to create a new bar specifically for soldiers' rations. The new product had to weigh no more than four ounces, tolerate high temperatures well, be nutritious and taste as good as possible. After several experiments, a chocolate appeared that met all the requirements. This bar could withstand temperatures up to 50 degrees and contained 600 calories.
The people changed the official name "Ration D" to "Logan's bar", in honor of the military customer. Army orders were not very large at first, but World War II required streaming production. In 1939, Hershey was already producing 100,000 bars a day. And in 1943, the military demanded to create an improved version of the product, so a new hit appeared - Hershey's Tropical Chocolate Bar. This chocolate bar, along with the Apollo space crew, even visited the moon.
After the founder's death, the company continued with his chosen market strategy. For example, Hershey didn’t like advertising - he believed that a good product would speak of itself. As a result, the company did not even have its own marketing department until the mid-1960s. For a while, this approach worked - having tasted the bars in the army, Americans continued to be loyal to the brand even after the end of the service. This even served as a pretext for a lawsuit, which was satisfied, by the way, for excessive addiction to chocolate.
By the early 1970s, management realized that the company was beginning to become obsolete. This applied to both production and market image. Over time, Hershey Foods lost even the leadership in the domestic market to the eternal competitor Mars. The time is ripe for the decision to restructure the company. For the first time, people from outside, with good education and experience in marketing, were invited to the positions of managers. Previously, it was believed that a manager must have worked at Hershey Foods for many years. The company built new factories and modernized existing ones, and it expanded through external acquisitions.
Thanks to such measures, Hershey Foods returned to its honorable first place in the American confectionery market. True, the success in business hit tradition. So, in 2001, Richard Lenny became the first alien head in the history of the company. He neglected the principles of Milton Hershey, deciding to carry out cuts, the closure of non-core areas, the sale of products in cheap stores. This led to the longest strike in the company's history of 44 days, which caused concern among shareholders and the desire to sell the shares of the chocolate giant.
True, the experts did not understand why such a legendary business should be sold. The residents of Hershey took the side of the company, and the state attorney general himself led the army of patriots. As a result, the court banned Hershey Trust from selling the company to anyone. This is how the public and traditions defeated greed and business calculation.