10 March 2007

Swiss Connection

(Photo from the Andre's Confiserie Suisse Website.)

When I first learned we would be moving to Switzerland, I had many, many questions. Some of those questions could only be answered by the Swiss government. So I looked up the Swiss Embassy information online and was surprised to see there was a Swiss Consulate in Kansas City. I immediately called the telephone number listed.

"Andre's Chocolates. May I help you?"

"Um. I was trying to contact the Swiss Consulate? I must have the wrong number."

"No, this is the right number. Let me get him for you..."

Turns out that the Swiss Consulate in Kansas City was Marcel Bollier, the son of Andre and Elsbeth Bollier.

Andre and Elsbeth are natives of Basel, Switzerland. They emigrated to the United States in 1955 with the dream of starting their own Suisse Confiserie. The dream was realized in Kansas City, where Andre's grew from humble beginnings to a large enterprise with franchises in California, Colorado and Texas. The management team now includes three generations of Bolliers.

While in Kansas City I met a friend for lunch at Andre's, surrounded by a Swiss Chalet setting and eating traditional Swiss food and followed by a fabulous chocolate dessert. I was relating the consulate story to her when our waitress arrived. She overheard a bit and I explained the rest.

Due to an illness in the family, there is no longer a Swiss Consulate in Kansas City. It is an unfortunate loss. For my dealings with Marcel were far more positive and informative than any I have had with either the Swiss Consulate in Chicago or the US Embassy in Bern. Marcel did not have immediate answers for all my questions, but he quickly researched them and called me back.

Although the Kansas City Swiss Consulate is no longer, the Bolliers remain just one example among many of the Swiss immigrants who moved to the United States and succeeded through hard work. And they continue to give Kansas Citians a taste of authentic Swiss Chocolate.

Thank you!

1 comment:

swissmiss said...

I had no idea. Cool - and how lucky for you.