Entrepreneur of the Year brings summer cookouts home
This Month, the local ready-to-cook low country boil company Topsail Steamer was named Entrepreneur of the Year as part of the 2021 Coastal Entrepreneur Awards.
Topsail Steamer was founded in 2017 by DANIELLE MAHON who wanted to share her experiences of summer seafood cookouts on the Jersey Shore growing up.
The first location opened in Topsail Island that year and the company has now expanded to include soon-to-be seven locations. Additionally, through a partnership Goldbelly, a national food delivery service, it also ships its pots to all 50 states.
Topsail Steamer’s seafood comes from local sources whenever possible, according to Mahon.
With Topsail, customers can choose from different Bay Buckets or make their own buckets. Options include shrimp, snow crab, little neck clams, sausage and kielbasa, scallops, lobster tail, oysters, plus potatoes, corn, and seasoning. All items are packaged inside a single-use pot along with instructions for cooking.
Mahon discusses growing the company, being recognized as Entrepreneur of the Year and her favorite low country boils.
WILMA: Earlier this year there was a TikTok created by someone who had gotten a Topsail Steamer pot as a Valentine’s Day gift from their mother, which ended up having more than 200,000 likes. How does word-of-mouth and user-generated content like the TikTok video help the business?
Mahon: “We feel fortunate to have so many Topsail Steamer fans. Because of that, and because social media is so personal, we intentionally share what our fans are posting on social. We get so many fun pictures, post,s and shout-outs that share real-life snapshots from families enjoying their Topsail Steamer experiences. Our steampot’s mix of fresh, daily-catch wild shellfish, sweet corn, red bliss potatoes, and cocktail sauce are visuals that just really work on social media – our customers capture the experience with their videos and pictures from all over, and that in turn helps other people find Topsail Steamer.”
WILMA: The business started out with your two kids as the company’s first employees and has grown to soon-to-be seven locations. Why do you think you were able to grow the company so successfully?
Mahon: “Family is everything to me and has been a big part of Topsail Steamer’s success. My son and daughter help to run our day-to-day operations along with sister, brother-in-law, niece and so many fantastic Steam Team members at each location. In terms of why we have been successful, honestly, it’s having a team with similar core values that all work together toward the common mission of providing a way for families to make memories with our steam pot experience. I can’t tell you how wonderful it feels for our customers to message us and tell us that our Topsail Steamer pots have become part of their traditions – summer vacations, birthdays, Labor Day, anniversaries, Mother’s and Father’s Days, Thanksgiving, New Year’s – you name it. It’s unbelievably gratifying to see our vision come to life – helping families elevate from making dinner to making memories with Topsail Steamer.”
WILMA: What does being recognized as “Coastal Entrepreneur of the Year” mean to you?
Mahon: “It’s truly an honor and I couldn’t be more humbled by this experience and to have been included in a group of such talented and dynamic group of entrepreneurs. To know that our customers, our colleagues, the business community has that much faith in what we’re doing at Topsail Steamer – again, it’s so gratifying. This award is a testament to our team’s hard work and strives for excellence. We are, every day, thankful for our wonderful Steam Team, customers, and the support of our local business community.”
WILMA: What is your favorite seafood Bucket?
Mahon: “I love them all! I do have to say I’m a bit partial to the “Crabby Jimbo” and “The Miss Emily 2” – as they’re named after my son and daughter.”
WILMA: What is the best way to enjoy a low country boil for those who may not have tried Topsail Steamer yet?
Mahon: “Gather around the table with friends and family (of any size)! Spread out the paper and prepare to linger awhile with some great local fresh seafood, good conversation, and great fun ( oh and a cold beverage or 2).”
To view more of photographer Terah Wilson’s work, go to terahwilson.com.
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