For many children, next week means back to school. A lot of shopping will be taking place between now and Monday to prepare for a new year.
In Hershey, shopping options have evolved over the years. Today, Hershey has a wide array of retail venues that are housed at an outlet center located off of Hersheypark Drive. Shopping downtown is limited, to say the least. It wasn’t always this way.
Milton Hershey’s plans for a model industrial town included establishing a store to meet the community’s shopping needs. Like many of his other ventures, the first store, established in 1907, was a modest venture, located in a corner of the Cocoa House. This general store soon expanded, quickly outgrowing its original location. In 1909 a building was begun on the southwest corner of Chocolate and Cocoa Avenues to house the rapidly growing business. This new building was designed with a Spanish style of architecture, with projecting red-tiled eaves and stuccoed walls. When first erected the building formed a perfect a square, 120′ on each side with 2 stories and a basement. A addition was built in 1911.
The Hershey Store Company offered many different things to its customers. The store liked to boast that it could care for people’s needs ‘from cradle to grave.’ A article in the May 28, 1914 issue of the Hershey Press, stated:
“The store can furnish the lumber, hardware and other materials to build a house, can furnish the workmen to supply complete lighting equipment, can install any kind of heating and plumbing system and can furnish it (the house) throughout from the stove in the kitchen to the elegant suite for the parlor, including carpet, rugs, shades and everything needed or desired for the house. It can furnish clothing for the whole family with groceries, meats and vegetables, ice for preservation and coal to cook them. From the west annex it can supply the farmer with tools and machinery, with carriages and wagons, with seeds and feed for stock, and can shoe his horse and repair his wagons and harnesses.”
A drug store was available within the store with a druggist on duty until 10:00 every night. There were services available in the basement including cobbling, electrical heating, plumbing and tinning departments. The store also took orders for automobiles and had a bakery.
As it continued to expand its services, merchandise and business, the store again outgrew its confines. In 1920 it relocated across the street to the Hershey Press Building, standing on the corner of Chocolate and Park Avenues. This three story building covered nearly 60,000 square feet, more than twice as much as had the previous location. The business was renamed the Hershey Department Store and operated from this location until it closed in 1973.