Desobry s.a.

Tournai, with a population of 70,000 and located a half-dozen miles from the French border, gets to call itself Belgium's oldest city. That explains the magnificent Our Lady's Cathedral dominating the city's skyline.

Cookie maker Desobry's head office/factory lies about a mile from Tournai's city center. Desobry was founded in 1947 and moved to its current site in 1970. Back then this was the boondocks and there wasn't much around. Now, the factory/head office is completely hemmed in by residential housing and apartments.

On one side of the two-story building is a large construction site and it looks like the factory is being expanded. The reception area is very tiny with two chairs. Two glass displays are filled with company products and I note the bowl of cookies for visitors to sample. I explain myself to the receptionist and how I mailed a letter of introduction more than five weeks ago to General Manager Thierry Huet. In a few minutes I'm meeting with Pio Stevens, who's business card reads " International Business Development".

About 260 people work here in the head office/factory which, by the way, doesn't have an elevator. Employee parking is free and plentiful with those riding their bicycles to work enjoying covered parking. Smoking isn't allowed in the workplace, there's no formal dress code and no onsite recreational facilities. It's a mile to the nearest freeway, 60 miles to Brussels airport, there's no company cafeteria--though there's a break room. Any employee perks? Employees enjoy a 25%-30% discount when purchasing cookies from the factory shop.

GM Huet occupies a second floor, middle office with a view of the factory. How do Desobry cookies taste? I don't know as Stevens lets me leave empty-handed. However, later in the day I stop by a supermarket and buy a box containing an assortment of Desobry cookies. The verdict? Two thumbs up.

Company website: