Hershey Entertainment and Resorts Company

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Hershey Entertainment & Resorts
Hershey Estates (1927-1976)
HERCO, Inc. (1976-1980)
Privately held corporation
IndustryEntertainment and hospitality
FoundedOctober 31, 1927; 92 years ago (October 31, 1927)
FounderMilton S. Hershey
Key people
Jane Cooper
Sheila E. Dow-Ford
Richard A. Harvey
Eric Henry
Jeffrey W. Jones
Joseph M. Senser
Executive Officers:
John Lawn (CEO)
David P. Lavery (CFO)
Garrett Gallia (VP)
Andrew Helmer (VP)
Jane LaFranchi (VP)
Leslie Ferraro (VP)
The Hotel Hershey
ServicesAmusement park, attractions, hotels, restaurants, meetings
OwnerHershey Trust Company

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 of 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.[1] 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.[2] 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.[3] 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.[4] 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, with a dance hall pavilion, band shell for shows, tennis courts and a baseball field with a grand stand available for sporting events.[5][6] As the park gained popularity, further improvements were made, such as a grand entrance for the park in 1916.[7]

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.[7] 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 established[edit]

In 1927, the Hershey Chocolate Company was reorganized and divided into several independent entities under the ownership of Hershey Trust Company. The chocolate company was incorporated and renamed Hershey Chocolate Corporation (today known as The Hershey Company) on October 24.[8] (A prior company called Hershey Chocolate Corporation existed in the early 1920s when National City Bank took control of Hershey Chocolate Company.) On October 30, the company became a publicly traded company on the New York Stock Exchange.[9] The Cuban businesses held within the chocolate company were spun out into a wholly privately owned company called Hershey Corporation. The Hershey Industrial School remained a separate interest.

All of Hershey’s other non-chocolate business endeavors were incorporated into a separate entity known as Hershey Estates. The company was established on October 31, 1927, in Lebanon, Pennsylvania, with paperwork submitted on October 28. Milton S. Hershey owned 47 of the 50 shares in the company, and Ezra F. Hershey, John E. Snyder, and William F.R. Murrie each owned one share. A share was valued at $100, for a total capital stock of $5,000.[10] On October 31, Hershey Estates elected to increase its capital stock from $5,000 to $50,000 and 46 of Hershey's shares were transferred to Murrie under Hershey Chocolate Company.[11] The increase was issued for property.[12]

On November 12, Hershey Chocolate Company sold the property designated for Hershey Estates to the company for one dollar.[13] On December 12, Hershey Estates relocated from Lebanon to Hershey.[14] On December 20, Hershey Chocolate Company filed notice to the Dauphin County prothonotary's office and the Secretary of the Commonwealth's office that they were no longer connected in the operation of various companies including Hersheypark and Hershey Laundry.[15] This formally separated operations between Hershey Estates properties and Hershey Chocolate Company operations.

Company growth 1930s-1970s[edit]

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.[7]

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.[16][17]

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.[18]

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.[19] McKinney retired in 2000 and was replaced by Scott Newkam.[20]

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.[21] John Lawn succeeded Simpson as chief executive on June 14, 2017.[22]

Company divisions[edit]

There are two main divisions of the Hershey Entertainment and Resorts Company: Hershey Entertainment Group and the Hershey Resorts Group.[23]

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][24]
    • The Forebay - Premium steaks, seafood and pasta served in a cozy loft setting
  • Hershey Country Club
  • Hersheypark Camping Resort
  • Cocoa Beanery - Specialty coffees, lattes, cappuccinos, pastries and lunch items

Restaurant Group[edit]

  • Houlihan's
  • Devon Seafood Grill

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Hershey Community Archives | Lancaster Caramel Company". www.hersheyarchives.org. Retrieved 2018-07-31.
  2. ^ Smith, Andrew F. (2011-12-02). Fast Food and Junk Food: An Encyclopedia of What We Love to Eat [2 volumes]: An Encyclopedia of What We Love to Eat. ABC-CLIO. ISBN 9780313393945.
  3. ^ "The Hershey Company". The Hershey Company. Retrieved 20 January 2015.
  4. ^ "Paul Wallace Research Collection". Hershey Community Archives. Retrieved March 19, 2015.
  5. ^ "The Opening of Hershey Park". The Hummelstown Sun. 25 May 1906.
  6. ^ "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.
  7. ^ a b c Jacques, Charles J. (1996). Hersheypark: The Sweetness of Success. Pennsylvania: Amusement Park Journal. ISBN 0-9614392-2-X.
  8. ^ The Hershey Company Form 10-K Report for the Fiscal Year Ended December 31, 2009, U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, February 19, 2010, retrieved December 18, 2018
  9. ^ "The Hershey Company (NYSE:HSY) Celebrates their 90th Anniversary of Listing". YouTube. New York Stock Exchange. October 30, 2017. Retrieved December 18, 2018.
  10. ^ Hershey Estates Articles of Incorporation, Harrisburg, PA: Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, October 31, 1927
  11. ^ Hershey Estates Waiver of Notice, Harrisburg, PA: Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, November 26, 1927
  12. ^ Hershey Estates Articles of Amendment, Harrisburg, PA: Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, December 2, 1927
  13. ^ Indenture Between Hershey Chocolate Company and Hershey Estates (Deed Book U, Volume 21, Page 1), Harrisburg, PA: Dauphin County Recorder of Deeds, November 12, 1927
  14. ^ Hershey Estates Articles of Amendment, Harrisburg, PA: Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, December 15, 1927
  15. ^ "Hershey Estates Take Over Five Company Units". Harrisburg Telegraph. December 20, 1927. p. 1.
  16. ^ The Hershey Archives
  17. ^ "Corporation Profile". Hershey Entertainment and Resorts. Retrieved December 18, 2018.
  18. ^ "Bristol Fights Park Closing". The New York Times. October 11, 1987. pp. 1, 13. Retrieved December 18, 2018.
  19. ^ "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.
  20. ^ "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.
  21. ^ Gleiter, Sue (November 25, 2012). "Hershey Entertainment's new CEO expects updates at Hersheypark, restaurants". The Patriot-News. Retrieved December 18, 2018.
  22. ^ Scott, Jason (June 14, 2017). "Hershey Entertainment names its new CEO". Central Penn Business Journal. Retrieved December 18, 2018.
  23. ^ "Hershey, PA About Hershey Who is Hershey Entertainment & Resorts? Find ThiAbout: Hershey Entertainment & Resorts". Hersheypa.com. Retrieved 20 January 2015.
  24. ^ "Hershey Lodge - Fire & Grain". www.hersheylodge.com. Retrieved 2017-05-22.

External links[edit]