Laughing Cow, Boursin parent moving HQ to Loop

By Tribune staff report
Posted March 24 at 8:12 a.m.

The maker of Laughing Cow cheese wedges, Bel Brands USA, is moving its corporate headquarters to downtown Chicago later this month from Elk Grove Village. About 80 workers will make the move to 30 S. Wacker Drive, where Bel Brands is leasing 27,000 square feet.

Bel Brands manufactures and markets popular Mini Babybel snacking cheese, Boursin, Merkts, Kaukauna and other natural and gourmet cheese spreads and is part of Bel Americas, a subsidiary of Paris-based Fromageries Bel.

The company employs about 600 workers in the U.S., mostly at its manufacturing plants in Leitchfield, Ky., and Little Chute, Wis.

Since moving its headquarters to Illinois from Little Chute in 2006, the company has seen rapid growth, led by its Laughing Cow and Mini Babybel cheeses. Bel Brands USA said its net sales have almost doubled to about $300 million annually, and increased 25 percent in 2010 versus 2009 results.

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  1. Not in Chicago March 24 at 9:51 a.m.

    How much (or what) did the city pay (do) to “encourage” them to move to the city.

  2. John in Chicago March 24 at 11:25 a.m.

    This is another of those zero sum game deals that get touted as a “big win” for Chicago. Since the company is only moving from the O’Hare area to downtown, the metro area is actually no better off. Not one new job is added in Illinois by this move.

    Meanwhile, metro Chicago lost a quarter million jobs in the past decade- and a quarter million residents, according to the Census.

    I’m glad Bel Brands is staying, but it is a sad testament to Chicago’s weak economy that a company just staying in the metro area is a headline.

  3. Carelvys March 24 at 11:32 a.m.

    Laughing Cow is the best!

  4. JoeyB March 24 at 11:45 a.m.

    John, “metro” Chicago didn’t lose any residents in the last census, it gained residents.

  5. Chicagofemale March 24 at 11:50 a.m.

    I love cheese!!! Mooo!

  6. mike March 24 at 12:18 pm

    John, it’s NOT a “headline”.

  7. Chicago trees March 24 at 12:44 pm

    Great news for Chicago and this is significant because it helps reduce suburban sprawl and Bel Brands employees can now take public transit to work. It will also help attract more residents to the city which is better for the environment and culture. The suburbs are BLAND and BORING.

  8. Ed March 24 at 12:45 pm

    More business down in the Loop is a good thing.

  9. Bluecrane March 24 at 1:28 pm

    LOL – John in Chicago – Metro lost a quarter million people and a quarter million jobs???? Where do you people conjure up such nonsense. Chicago and Cook County lost while the rest of the area gained more. People are moving around in the area but we’re doing just fine thank you. And “THAT’s” according to the census.

  10. Jeff March 24 at 5:32 pm

    How much is this going to cost the employees to get to their jobs?
    Is the company picking the added expense and not include it on a 1099?

    I feel sorry for them and for the employees from United.

  11. Infidel Taco March 24 at 7:03 pm

    John in Chicago: “Meanwhile, metro Chicago lost a quarter million jobs in the past decade- and a quarter million residents, according to the Census.”

    Not sure about the jobs figure, but according to the Census, metro Chicago gained almost half a million people, from 9.2 million to just under 9.7 million.