Hershey Entertainment and Resorts Company

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Hershey Entertainment & Resorts
Formerly called
Hershey Estates (1927-1976)
HERCO, Inc. (1976-1980)
Privately held corporation
Industry Entertainment and hospitality
Founded 1927; 91 years ago (1927)
Founder Milton S. Hershey
Headquarters Hershey, Pennsylvania, United States
Key people
Jane Cooper
Sheila E. Dow-Ford
Richard A. Harvey
Eric Henry
Jeffrey W. Jones
Joseph M. Senser
Executive Officers:
William F. Simpson (CEO)
David P. Lavery (CFO)
John Lawn (COO)
Garrett Gallia (VP)
Andrew Helmer (VP)
Jane LaFranchi (VP)
Leslie Ferraro (VP)
Brands Hersheypark
The Hotel Hershey
Services Amusement park, attractions, hotels, restaurants, meetings
Owner Hershey Trust Company
Website www.hersheypa.com

Hershey Entertainment and Resorts Company is a privately held corporation based in Pennsylvania. Milton S. Hershey established HE&R in 1927 to distinguish and separate his chocolate manufacturing company from his other business ventures. All his non-chocolate producing businesses were established as Hershey Estates, renamed Hershey Entertainment and Resorts Company in 1980.



In 1894, Milton S. Hershey founded the Hershey Chocolate Company as a subsidiary of his Lancaster Caramel Company. In 1900, the American Caramel Company offered to purchase the Lancaster Caramel Company for $1 million. Hershey accepted the offer, maintaining ownership of the Hershey Chocolate Company. In 1903, Hershey began purchasing land in Derry Township, Pennsylvania, not far from the family homestead he owned, to create a company town for his proposed chocolate factory.[1] To build the structures of the town, Hershey created a subsidiary company called the Hershey Improvement Company. This company was the predecessor to Hershey Entertainment and Resorts.[2] After the factory was completed and put in operation in 1904, the Hershey Improvement Company turned toward building the town, which included homes, stores and parks. Hershey Park was opened on May 30, 1906, having a dance hall pavilion, band shell for shows, and tennis courts and a baseball field with a grand stand available for sporting events.[3][4] As the park gained popularity, further improvements were made, such as a grand entrance for the park in 1916.[5]

In 1905, Hershey created the Hershey Trust Company to provide banking to the town of Hershey. In 1909, Hershey and his wife Catherine, who were unable to have children, established the Hershey Industrial School for orphan boys (renamed the Milton Hershey School in 1951). Hershey created a deed of trust establishing a trust fund for the school. He named the Hershey Trust Company as administrator of the school trust. In 1918, three years after Catherine Hershey died, Hershey transferred nearly all of his assets, including his control of the chocolate company, and various other entities, to the school. This made the Hershey Trust Company owner of the Hershey Improvement Company.

In 1920, Hershey experienced financial difficulty following the collapse in sugar futures. Hershey was forced to sign a promissory note from National City Bank to keep the chocolate company in business. Under the terms of the note, National City Bank sent R.J. DeCamp to be on the board of managers, to assume management of the company. DeCamp remained on the board until 1922, when the company settled the debt.[5] During that time period, DeCamp prevented substantial improvements to the park or the town, as it was considered too costly an investment. Once Hershey regained control of the company, this made him realize that he should split his operations such that if the chocolate company ever failed again as it had, it wouldn't directly impact the town as the DeCamp period had.

Hershey Estates[edit]

In 1927, the Hershey Chocolate Company was incorporated, became a publicly traded company on the New York Stock Exchange, and became the Hershey Chocolate Corporation. The Cuban businesses held within the chocolate company were spun out into a privately owned company called Hershey Corporation. All of Hershey’s other non-chocolate business endeavors were incorporated into a separate entity known as Hershey Estates. All three entities were owned by the Hershey Trust Company - under public majority share or privately held ownership. This meant that the Hershey Estates was a distinctly separate company from the chocolate corporation.

In 1933, The Hotel Hershey opened, becoming Hershey Estate's second hotel in Hershey. Hershey Estates was a conglomeration, having ownership of such things as a bakery, electric company, creamery, sports arena, air park, amusement park, and lumber yard. The Estates company maintained this kind of control until the 1960s, when they began selling off public works companies such as the electric company, gave control of the roads they owned to Derry Township, and began closing poor performing divisions. In 1971, Hershey Estates began a large renovation project for Hershey Park, involving new rides, a gate around the park, live acts, and other kinds of entertainment. The park was also renamed Hersheypark.[5]

HERCO / Hershey Entertainment & Resorts[edit]

In 1976, the company changed its name from Hershey Estates to HERCO, Inc., because public perception led many to believe that Hershey Estates referred to land that Milton Hershey once owned. In 1980, the name was changed to the current name: Hershey Entertainment and Resorts Company (HE&R), a backronym.[6][7]

Between 1980 and 1987, HE&R began expanding their presence to hotels in the Pocono Mountains, Philadelphia and Corpus Christi, Texas, as well as purchasing Lake Compounce in Bristol and Southington, Connecticut. However, economic and political circumstances caused the Philadelphia and Corpus Christi hotels to struggle substantially. This caused HE&R to experience severe financial difficulties, leading to the promotion of J. Bruce McKinney as CEO of the company. One of his first significant decisions was the controversial move to sell Hershey Lake Compounce.[8]

Ultimately, McKinney successfully led the company back to financial stability, which led to substantial growth within Hersheypark and at the Hershey Lodge in the mid and late 1990s.[9] McKinney retired in 2000 and was replaced by Scott Newkam.[10]

Newkam served as CEO of HE&R until 2006, when Newkam was replaced by Ted Kleisner. On January 1, 2013, William F. Simpson Jr. replaced Kleisner as the CEO of Hershey Entertainment and Resorts.[11]

Company divisions[edit]

There are two main divisions of the Hershey Entertainment and Resorts Company: Hershey Entertainment Group and the Hershey Resorts Group.[12]

Hershey Entertainment Group[edit]

Hershey Resorts Group[edit]

  • Hotel Hershey
    • The Spa at The Hotel Hershey
    • The Jeweler at The Hotel Hershey
    • Circular Dining Room - Fine American Contemporary Cuisine
    • Iberian Lounge
    • Trevi 5 - Authentically Modern Italian Grill
    • Harvest - Genuine American Cuisine
  • Hershey Lodge
    • The Bear's Den - Casual Sports-themed restaurant
    • Hershey Grill - Contemporary Cuisine with upscale casual ambiance
    • Fire & Grain - Innovative breakfast and dinner menu of re-mastered comfort foods and cocktails.[1][13]
    • The Forebay - Premium steaks, seafood and pasta served in a cozy loft setting
  • Hershey Country Club
  • Hersheypark Camping Resort
  • Houlihan's
  • Devon Seafood Grill - Premium Seafood
  • Cocoa Beanery - Specialty coffees, lattes, cappuccinos, pastries and lunch items

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "The Hershey Company". The Hershey Company. Retrieved 20 January 2015. 
  2. ^ "Paul Wallace Research Collection". Hershey Community Archives. Retrieved March 19, 2015. 
  3. ^ "The Opening of Hershey Park". The Hummelstown Sun. 25 May 1906. 
  4. ^ "Opening of Hershey Park". Lebanon Courier and Semi-Weekly Report. May 30, 1906. p. 5. "Hershey Park will be formally opened to the public on Memorial Day, May 30th. 
  5. ^ a b c Jacques, Charles J. (1996). Hersheypark: The Sweetness of Success. Pennsylvania: Amusement Park Journal. ISBN 0-9614392-2-X. 
  6. ^ The Hershey Archives
  7. ^ "The Hershey Company". Hershey Entertainment and Resorts. Retrieved 20 January 2015. 
  8. ^ "Bristol Fights Park Closing". The New York Times. October 11, 1987. pp. 1, 13. Retrieved March 19, 2015. 
  9. ^ "Congressional Record - Extension of Remarks" (PDF) (PDF). United States Government Publishing Office. March 1, 2000. p. E206. Retrieved March 19, 2015. Mr. McKinney is remembered chiefly for leading the team that brought the corporation out of near financial ruin to an extremely high level of prosperity, saving the company from certain failure. Because of his honorable services, a year later, on March 1, 1986, Mr. McKinney became the chief operating officer at HERCO, later assuming the role as chief executive officer on August 10, 1987, and then taking the position of chairman of the board on October 24, 1989. Mr. McKinney remained at HERCO for another eleven years, eventually becoming chief executive officer and chairman of the board. On September 22, 1999, after seven consecutive record-breaking years from 1993–2000, Mr. McKinney decided to respectfully retire from HERCO. 
  10. ^ "Congressional Record - Extension of Remarks" (PDF) (PDF). United States Government Publishing Office. March 1, 2000. p. E206. Retrieved March 19, 2015. Assuming Mr. McKinney’s responsibilities is Mr. Scott J. Newkam, who was named president and chief executive officer. 
  11. ^ Gleiter, Sue (November 25, 2012). "Hershey Entertainment's new CEO expects updates at Hersheypark, restaurants". The Patriot-News. Retrieved November 30, 2012. 
  12. ^ "Hershey, PA About Hershey Who is Hershey Entertainment & Resorts? Find ThiAbout: Hershey Entertainment & Resorts". Hersheypa.com. Retrieved 20 January 2015. 
  13. ^ "Hershey Lodge - Fire & Grain". www.hersheylodge.com. Retrieved 2017-05-22. 

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