If you’ve visited Hershey, Pennsylvania recently, then you know something’s brewing.
Since late 2022, construction crews have been working on a new endeavor downtown code-named “Project Milton.” Today, as the work advances and the building comes together, I’m excited to pull back the curtain and reveal that Project Milton is a new chocolate manufacturing facility—the first one Hershey has built in the United States in more than 30 years. When it opens in mid-2024, this facility, operating as an extension of our Reese plant, will help us meet growing demands for our products. And it’ll be right here in Hershey where it all began in 1894.
Investing in our core brands
The new facility increases our chocolate-making capabilities and ensures operational flexibility. Not only will it greatly increase our ability to keep up with the rising demand, it will also be able to grow and adapt to changing trends in the years ahead.
Reinvesting in our people + community
The new plant will also bring benefits to the greater Hershey community, starting with jobs. We plan to hire about 125 people by the time the facility opens next summer, and in time we’ll double that number of hires as we increase production. We’ve already seen a lot of job interest from current employees, who are drawn to the employee-first culture we’re building into the new plant, including digital tools for scheduling and labor management and equitable advancement and development opportunities.
Building on a Legacy
When team members come to work every day at the new plant, they’ll step inside a building that radiates with Hershey pride, from the limestone elements that match our original factory and corporate headquarters to the brown Hershey-Bar-shaped panels that line the facade. The first group of employees will even have the honor of choosing the name for the facility, and that name will live on for generations.
Leading this project has been a dream, even after 16 years of working for Hershey. There aren’t many jobs out there that offer the opportunity to create a lasting legacy; not just in the sense of constructing the physical building, but also in creating culture. When I’m retired, I plan to drive my grandkids past the plant and talk about how we built it, and how we invested in people and changed lives. I'll probably also tell them about how their parents—my four children—were inspired by a certain iconic film and were convinced I was the whimsical chocolatier of a magical chocolate factory.
Throughout this project, I’ve also thought a lot about Milton Hershey. In 1894, when he founded The Hershey Company, he built a legacy that continues to enrich lives. In 1903, construction began on the 19 East plant to meet the ever-increasing consumer demand for Hershey’s chocolate (that plant is now our corporate offices). And today, more than 125 years later, we’re still driven by the same purpose as our founder: to be a part of making more moments of goodness. That’s what this new facility represents to me.