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The meteoric rise of Maison Marc gherkins in Chemilly-sur-Yonne

“We don’t always realize how far we’ve come but when we look at everything that’s happened over the past ten years, it’s stirring. It’s really a satisfaction.” It has been just ten years since Henri Jeannequin gave a whole new dynamic to the family production of pickles by founding Maison Marc, in Chemilly-sur-Yonne.

“I wanted to build something”

“In 2012, I was 20, he says. I had just left school and I didn’t know what to do exactly. But I wanted to work for myself and build something.” He took over from his father, Florent, and relaunched production. The beginning of a success story.

The young boss strives to gain autonomy: the pickles are grown in Gurgy, picked by hand and packaged on site, without intermediaries. “There were competitors but I knew that we could have our place by creating our own niche, that of the gherkin of excellence.”

What we fear is too rainy weather, like last year

From extra-fine crunchy to coarse Malossol, Maison Marc will develop a whole range around the condiment. The company forges a top-of-the-range image and clearly displays its “Made in France” approach by means of a tricolor flag visible on each pot. His trademark.

The choice of diversification

“Before, my father produced in July and August, says Henri Jeannequin. Today, the activity is spread over the whole year. We have chosen to diversify so that our biggest client only represents one percent of our turnover. Alongside the traditional gherkins, Maison Marc offers brightly colored veloutés: butternut, zucchini, beets, asparagus… So many recipes from the harvests of the Gurgy fields.

An increase in production

Today, Maison Marc’s turnover has jumped to almost 2 million euros. “The first year, it was 30,000 euros”, remembers, pensive, Henri Jeannequin. A success that stems largely from investments to modernize the production line.

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Within the company, which has about fifteen employees, the pace has accelerated, going from 300,000 to 600,000 jars produced last year. “This year, production could be 800,000 to 900,000 jars, announces Henri Jeannequin. We are dependent on the weather. What we fear is too rainy weather, like last year.”

The health crisis has not slowed down the development of the company. Quite the contrary. “During the pandemic, the last consumer pleasure was to go to the grocery store,” explains Henri Jeannequin. “Where the activity has stopped is at the cruise ship level. But that hasn’t really hurt us.”

One of the objectives: to open the doors of the United States

Present in nearly 3,000 points of sale in France, Maison Marc wants to continue to see beyond the borders of France. Export represents 18 to 20% of its turnover. “We are present in 25 countries including Great Britain, Belgium, Canada, North Korea…”, lists Valérie Diotte, export manager. “It’s a lot of administrative procedures but we are working to open the doors of the United States to us.”

Marc Charasson
marc.charasson@centrefrance.com

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