Confiserie Laederach AG

Heading to Zurich after my 2006 travels in Slovenia, Croatia, Italy and eastern Switzerland I saw Glarus on the map and decided to make a detour and check out this picturesque town of 5,000 people in the east central part of the country. Glarus is also one of Switzerland's 26 cantons (similar to our states in the USA) and with a population of 25,000 inhabitants-it's one of the smallest in terms of land and population-size. Cycling through downtown Glarus I come across an elegant chocolate store. Unfortunately it's closed but, I recognize the name "Confiserie Laederach". Visiting companies in Switzerland back in 2004 I had this manufacturer of chocolate on the list of companies to be visited but, never made it here as it was too far off the beaten path. Figuring the factory can't be too far away in this narrow valley I head off.

Ennenda is a small village next to Glarus and that's where I come upon Laederach's surprisingly large head office/factory complex. Founded in 1972 by Rudolf Laederach, this family-owned and run business generates revenues of $10 million dollars and employees 80 people.

A narrow fast-moving river runs past the factory on the back side and cows graze peacefully across the other side of the road. Its lunchtime and I didn't mail the usual letter of introduction a month earlier to the CEO but, I drop in anyway. Walking up to the reception counter I don't see any samples of chocolate goodies for visitors. I ask one of the two receptionists if she has worked here for a while and she answers, "yes, about 12 years". I ask if back in 2004 she remembers getting a note from management about a guy on a bicycle from California showing up. The woman shakes her head. I explain what I do and how I just happened to be in the area and wondered if anyone would have a few minutes to meet with me. I'm out of luck thanks to a combination of it being a Monday, in the middle of summer and, lunchtime.

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