A family story – from 1960 until today…

Camion de la maison Mons en 1964
The story of MonS is somewhat a saga though it isn’t truly one…
 
In 1964, Hubert Mons and his wife decided to sell cheese on the markets in and around Roanne. As they were from Auvergne, it seemed quite obvious to them, given the strong cheese influence of people from that region!
This was only the thin end of the wedge; they gradually got caught up in the adventure and ended up diving in head first. The 70s were booming and so was the company. While they made their rounds in the countryside with their cheese van, their small business began to grow in Roanne.

 

In 1983, Hervé, the eldest son, after having worked for the greatest cheesemongers in Paris, set up the first fixed point of sale in the Halles Diderot in the Roanne city center. And other shop openings followed: Renaison, Montbrison… He also created the maturing cellars in Saint-Haon-le-Châtel.
 
Intérieur du camion de la maison Mons en 1964

In the 90s, the company took off and got recognized for its know-how. Then his brother Laurent joined him, taking over the running of the emblematic shop in the Halles Diderot and Renaison. This partnership allowed the natural manager, Hervé, to let his entrepreneurial spirit run wild.

He was then ready to organize the exportation of products to a wide range of destinations. Hervé made the most of his “sourcing” ability to collect top-of-the-range cheeses and create an exceptional offer for all clients looking for a bit of exoticism on their cheese plates.

A few years ago, the company became international and is now trading with more than 20 countries (Europe, the USA, Asia, Japan and many others).
In 2000, Hervé was awarded Meilleur Ouvrier de France (Best Artisan Craftsman of France).  Hervé Mons enfant, préparation des fromages

In 2001, MonS created the training center Opus Caseus Concept, under the responsibility of Laurent Mons.Hervé and Laurent were voted “Cheesemongers of the Year” by the gastronomy guide Pudlo France in 2002.

“Congrilait”, the world event that is considered to be the most important in the dairy industry, asked him to co-organize, with the legendary Jacques Vernier – his mentor – their show in 2002.

 
 
Laurent, interested in communication and training, started focusing on image coordination. In 2004, the training center directed the two brothers towards a skill synergy policy.
- Extension of the cellars and construction of the traditional maturing cellar.
 
2005 The international year:
The team came together to organize the first international cheesemonger competition “International Caseus Award” where 12 countries competed.
Partnership with the United States for a chain of specialized shops, creation of a line of products and setting up of a specific merchandizing, design of maturing cellars in Vermont.
 
Intérieur du tunnel de la Collonge

2006: The MonS goes back to its market origins, setting itself up on the London Borough Market, and creates the MONS UK company, represented by a young cheesemonger from its training center, Mr Jonathan Thrupp.
Opening of a shop in Montbrison, “La Fromagerie de Montbrison”, run by Cédric Lenoir, who also passed through the training center and went on to win the Caseus Award 2009.

2007: Opening of a shop, “Maréchal”, in the Halles of Lyon, run by Mr Etienne Boissy (Meilleur Ouvrier de France 2004), who had been patiently waiting to spread his wings in his own shop, after having worked with Mons for quite some time.
The “cheese corners” established in Japan slowly turned into specialized shops, which eventually required the design of a cheese aging cellar for the distributor, and MonS was there to lend a helping hand developing that project.
Most importantly, Hervé travels all over France in search of the best products and for producers who still work with traditional methods and the utmost respect for an ancient and forgotten artisanal know-how. These cheeses are then matured in his cellars. That is one of the reasons why MonS is now the supplier of some of the greatest restaurants throughout the world and a reference in terms of high quality cheeses.
 

Our main focus continues to be retail via points of sale where the emphasis is put on the managers’ professionalism; meanwhile we are developing our export market thanks to our extensive range of cheeses and the added value of our “Affinage” cheese aging know-how.

2008: the only missing aspect in the company was cheese making! Jean-Luc Genin (Vichy Creamery) gave Hervé and Laurent the opportunity to take over a dairy in Saint-Just-en-Chevalet, halfway between Auvergne and Forez. This modern tool now makes exclusive products.

Today, there are 28 people working in the cellars, 155 national clients, 25 importing countries, 130 farmstead producers and 5 shops in France, one shop in London and about 190 different cheeses maturing day and night.
Maturing remains the heart of the trade. In 2009, a new company was born: “La Compagnie d’Affinage des Caves de la Collonge”.
An old railway tunnel was renovated into exceptional maturing cellars. This latest project now enables the company to offer an exclusive range of products.

The particularities of this story… non-standard commercial exposure, impeccable and drastic sourcing, outstanding men…