Belcolade nv



I'm 15 miles northwest of Brussels in an industrial zone on the outskirts of Erembodegem, a working class town of maybe 30,000 inhabitants. In front stands the two-story office/factory complex of Belcolade, a manufacturer of chocolate for the professional industry such as bakeries, ice cream manufacturers and restaurants. The buildings are painted a sort of butter color and near the entrance is a large chocolate-colored billboard with yummy-looking chocolate pictured on it. From the front it doesn't look like a very big place but the factory is not so much wide as it is deep.

I check in with the unsmiling receptionist sitting behind a glass partition counter and explain mailing a letter of introduction a month earlier to Managing Director R. Belceen. A small table near the reception counter offers visitors samples of chocolate shaped like large coins. In a minute Mr. Belceen's secretary steps out and says he isn't in and she knows nothing about the letter. I explain this is my only opportunity to visit the company and would somebody have a few minutes to answer questions. "No", she replies and says the marketing director is on vacation. I tell her my questions are very easy and many times the CEO's secretary (meaning her) answer the questions. Nope, this woman isn't the least bit interested. Not a very hospitable welcome at this chocolate company and I end up leaving with a bad taste in my mouth.