Hershey Closing Original Chocolate Factory, Replacing Workers with Machines
October 12, 2010
The Hershey Co. says it needs to close the historic factory, and cut 500 jobs, to remain competitive in the global market, according to the NPR. The factory on the corner of Chocolate and Cocoa avenues will soon be closing, and the chocolate making will move to another facility being built just outside the town. When Milton Hershey broke ground on this factory in 1903, he saw more than smokestacks and a brick building. Hershey wanted to give his workers more than a paycheck. He wanted to create a worker''s paradise. Inspired by another famous chocolate maker of his day Cadbury in England, Hershey provided amusement parks, community centers and family events. A theme park, a theater, low-rent housing and cheap public transportation were all things Milton Hershey brought to the dairy region of Pennsylvania when he created Hershey, the chocolate center of America. The chocolate factory is no longer the biggest employer in town; the Hershey Medical Center is. The number of workers who actually make chocolate continues to shrink. Hershey is spending $300 million on a new facility being built just outside town. Six-hundred workers from the old factory will move there; the rest are being replaced by machinery. Hershey is reshaping itself to fend off global competition. It has a huge new competitor in Kraft, which recently bought the British Cadbury company. Hershey had wanted to move production out of the Pennsylvania town altogether but decided to keep it here when the union agreed to the job cuts.