Napa-Sonoma SBDC

Maison Porcella Charcuterie

By attending our NxLevel Entrepreneurship program plus the skillful guidance of Advisor Anni Minuzzo, Marc-Henri was able to reach his dream of opening his own charcuterie.

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Maison Porcella

Challenge

During an early culinary internship in San Francisco, Marc-Henri had discovered Sonoma County and it is there he returned with his French wife and business partner, Maud, in 2018 to launch Maison Porcella.  “The greater Bay Area embraces the European mentality of respect for the environment, sustainable agricultural practices, and appreciation for my exceptional charcuterie products.”

The rules and regulations of the USDA, FDA, CDFA and CDPH can be confusing and daunting to food entrepreneurs in the US and California.  Marc-Henri turned to the Napa Sonoma Small Business Development Center for assistance in navigating the many challenges of creating his food business.  

Game Plan

He was referred to Anni Minuzzo, owner of Food Sage Consulting, specialty food category expert, and a member of their team of Advisors.  First Marc-Henri got the industry overview and fundamental resources while taking Minuzzo’s workshop, From Kitchen to Market.  Then in 2019, with Anni’s encouragement, Marc-Henri enrolled in the SBDC’s 11-week intensive business program, NxLevel.   This experience taught Marc-Henri the importance of creating a plan in order to achieve his business objectives.  That November he was one of 3 chefs featured in Sonoma Magazine and his community was starting to recognize Marc-Henri’s culinary excellence. 

Marc-Henri knew it was his destiny to continue his journey and pushed on with each and every lengthy, and sometimes costly, step.  In the Spring of 2020 he qualified for the SBA EIDL loan which allowed him to purchase some labor-saving equipment. By December of 2020 Marc-Henri Jean had successfully passed both the written and oral exams to become a licensed Meat Inspector.  

Results

In February 2021 Marc opened a booth at the Healdsburg Farmers Markets and Maison Porcella’s delicious creations have become wildly popular, selling out each week.  And savvy IG followers started ordering his charcuterie for pickup at his Santa Rosa production kitchen.   His 2021 sales for Q1 & Q2 are 3000% higher than they were in 2020!  Marc will be hiring his first apprentice/employee to ensure that Maison Porcella can keep up with the demand for their scrumptious culinary delights.

Marc-Henri has come a long way on his path to living his dream but he is just getting started.  His wife-partner, Maud, envisions a French-style retail charcuterie shop somewhere in Sonoma County.   The next project for Marc will be getting his USDA certification which will allow Maison Porcella to enter the wholesale world of food distribution to high-end grocery and specialty markets up and down the West Coast and then eventually across the USA.

“None of this would have been possible without the guidance and support of the SBDC.  The business acumen I received from taking their Next Level program along with the constant encouragement of Anni Minuzzo kept me going when it would have been so easy to give up.  Now I can see my business dreams are coming to life and I embrace my future as the premier charcutier in Northern California – thank you, SBDC and Anni!”