When Milton S. Hershey was planning the town surrounding his chocolate factory in the early 1900s, he was determined to make it unlike any other company town in the world. His plan was to provide for all the needs of his workers in the perfect modern town.
He provided electricity and running water. His workers collected the trash and plowed the streets in the winter. Hershey also owned many of the first restaurants and shops in the downtown business district.
But when Hershey first offered stock in the Hershey Chocolate Company in 1927, he had to separate his chocolate manufacturing operations from all his other enterprises. All these other businesses were organized under the name Hershey Estates.1
Years earlier, in 1909, Hershey and his wife, Catherine, created a Deed of Trust to establish the Hershey Industrial School. The Hershey Trust, as trustee for the school, now owns the Hershey Entertainment and Resorts company in its entirity and also owns the majority of the voting stock of the Hershey Foods Corporation. Today, the profits generated by these entities perpetuate the Hershey Trust, which in turn funds the school.
Today, Hershey Entertainment and Resorts owns and operates the following:
- Hersheypark - A world-class amusement park featuring more than 50 rides and five live shows
- Hersheypark Arena - A 7,200-seat arena which serves as home to the Hershey Bears
- Hersheypark Stadium - A 25,000-seat stadium which serves as home to the Hershey Wildcats
- Star Pavilion - A 7,200- seat amphitheater which is on the north end of the Hersheypark Stadium
- ZooAmerica North American Wildlife Park - A 11 acre zoo featuring animals of North America in their native habitats
- Hershey Bears AHL Hockey Club - The oldest ice hockey team in the American Hockey League with ties to the Colorado Avalanche
- Hershey Wildcats A-league Soccer Team - A minor league soccer team which is affiliated with the MLS teams D.C. United and the Kansas City Wizards
- The Hotel Hershey - A five-star resort overlooking Hershey atop Pat's Hill with 235 guest rooms and 25,000 square feet of meeting, banquet and exhibit space
- Hershey Lodge and Convention Center - A large convention center with 667 guest rooms and 100,000 square feet of meeting, exhibit, and banquet space located across from The Milton S. Hershey Medical Center
- Hershey Highmeadow Campground - A campground located along Hersheypark Drive just south of the Swatara Creek with nearly 300 open and shaded camp sites on 55 acres
- Hershey Nursery - The provider of all the Hershey entities' landscaping and floral needs
- Hershey Laundry and Textiles - The provider of all the Hershey entities' laundry and textile services needs
There was a time when Hershey Entertainment and Resorts attempted to branch out from its Hershey enterprises. The company opened a second amusement park in Connecticut, and hotels in Texas, Philadelphia and the Pocono Mountains of Pennsylvania. It also owned a food service supplier, the Hershey Country Club and several other golf courses in the Hershey area.
During the economic recession of the early 1990s, these enterprises were sold off and the company refocused its efforts in Hershey.