Iconic R.I. businessman Rosen to speak in Cranston

By Meri R. Kennedy
Posted 7/19/17

Harris “Hershey” Rosen was the founder of the iconic R.I. company, School House Candy, and soon he will head back to his old stomping grounds. With five factories located throughout New England, …

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Iconic R.I. businessman Rosen to speak in Cranston


Harris “Hershey” Rosen was the founder of the iconic R.I. company, School House Candy, and soon he will head back to his old stomping grounds. With five factories located throughout New England, this national company was best known for its Easter Baskets and jellybeans. Keeping track of documents, records and more became a personal mission for Rosen. His systems allowed him, as he said, “to put my hand on any piece of paper or item I needed at School House Candy” within 15 minutes. Today, he thinks you should be able to do that to and not only in your business, but also in your home.

That was the beginning of “My Family Record Book” – now in its second printing, having first been titled “Guide So Your Loved Ones Can Go On Living!” In addition to the book, Rosen is speaking throughout the region about topics from basic organizing techniques for families, to cataloging of important family information, to if, when and how to downsize, and how to properly make that process go easier.

You can meet him personally on Wednesday, July 26, from 5 to 7 p.m. at the Corner Bakery in Garden City, where he will be in the private meeting area to speak.

When Rosen retired, he got even more involved in organizing. Always one to have systems in place for everything; including his collection of music and CD storage, he wanted to share what he learned not only in business but from his time in the Army. He would do this anecdotally and informally, always sharing with friends when they asked.

One day a close friend said, “Why don’t you write a book I could have used it when Jim [her husband] died? I wouldn’t have felt so lost and scared.” So, Hershey went on a mission to try and prevent the tough situation this woman found herself in; at the worst time of her life.

Rosen graduated from Harvard and said he’s been “trying to control chaos since 1954.” He served in the U.S. Army, as a Financial Control Officer, and received a Letter of Commendation for improvements made to the Army’s worldwide accounting system. After running School House Candy for 40 years, he became a mediator and settled over 200 disputes for the state of RI and The Community Mediation Center of R.I. He team-taught management at the University of RI and delighted in working with students.

His book reads like a how-to with thoughtful vignettes sprinkled throughout, as well as some cartoons to lighten up what can be a burdensome thought, how to get every important piece of information out of your head and down in written form.

“I did this to provide myself – and now others – peace of mind. Whether someone is ill, on extended vacation, or nears the end of their life, the peace of mind that comes in knowing that those you love will have an easier time going on without you is very important to me, and to those I’ve heard from,” said Rosen.

Rosen believes that while there is always an app for everything these days, documenting the information in an easy word document is easier, and more user friendly.

The whole topic had him thinking: “Would my significant other know the password to my computer or to my phone? And where are the phone numbers for the specialists we see, or the vet for the dog, the numbers for my daughter who lives out of town? Would my family know who my accountant is or my lawyer or how to call the right repair people for the car, or the house?”

“No question about it – if you stop and ask yourself those questions – and take a moment at dinner to ask those around your table some of them – you will undoubtedly come up short,” said Rosen.

You can check out more about Hershey at www.MyFamilyRecordBook.com. His book sells for $15.95.


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