Success Stories

Milton Hershey

Jul 2, 2017

Almost every kid in this country has at one time or another eaten a Hershey chocolate bar. Hershey chocolate has become famous around the world. But did you know the founder of Hershey Chocolate, Milton Hershey, had many failures in business before he started his famous company?

Milton Hershey grew up in the rolling farm country of Pennsylvania. Before he became interested in making chocolate, Milton Hershey trained to become a printer. He worked for a small newspaper at first, and then decided that printing was not the right profession for him.

Then he got a job at a candy factory in Lancaster, Pennsylvania, a few miles from his home. After working a few years at the candy factory, he decided to open his own little candy business near Philadelphia. His first business had to close because it was not making money. After closing his first business, he traveled to Denver, Colorado, to learn how to make caramels.

He took his new skills back to New York and worked selling candies on the street. But this second business also failed.

Hershey returned to Lancaster to find that his relatives had given up on him, refusing even to take him in, let alone lend him money to start another business. But Hershey would soon find salvation in the form of an old friend and employee.

Henry Lebkicher, who had briefly worked for Hershey in his Philadelphia store, not only offered Hershey a place to live, but also lent him the money he needed to bring his candy-making equipment from New York. The pair then scraped together enough capital to start the Lancaster Caramel Co. By experimenting, Milton discovered how to make delicious chocolate by using fresh, sweet condensed milk. His milk chocolates were so popular that he sold his caramel factory and focused his business on making chocolate only. The following year Milton started the Hershey Chocolate Co.

Hershey's path to success was fraught with obstacles and setbacks that would have crushed lesser men. But through perseverance, ingenuity and his ability to bounce back from failure, he built one of the great American fortunes from the ground up and brought joy to millions.

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