Milton grew up under the watchful eyes of his father, who had plenty of good ideas but could not seem to succeed in business. He dropped out of school at just 13 years old and started a confectionery company in Philadelphia, using money his aunt gave him – determined to succeed.
The candy company failed after a few short years, as did a second candy company he started just a few years later.
Almost broke, he started a third venture, the Lancaster Caramel Company, that grew rapidly in the first years of business— he then sold it to his biggest competitor for $1 million in 1900 and got to work building a new chocolate factory. At one point, the company made 114 different types of chocolate, before developing the simple “Hershey” chocolate bar known worldwide today.
The beloved chocolate bars were merely an end to his true goal, which was bettering the world.
Milton was most proud of the school he and his wife Catherine created for orphaned boys. He gave all of his wealth to the school a few years after Catherine passed away and established a trust to ensure their vision remained in tact for years to come.
When asked, late in his years, about the secret to success he offered this: work hard, stay focused, and treat people right.