Topsail Steamer’s Journey to Franchise Success with Spadea Lignana

Danielle Mahon, a dynamic late-life entrepreneur at 53, has transformed her entrepreneurial spirit into a flourishing franchise, Topsail Steamer, with the indispensable guidance of Spadea Lignana, a top franchise law firm.

Danielle Mahon, Topsail Steamer

While there is no shortage of fast casual restaurant franchises, Topsail Steamer is an up-and-coming player with a unique and inviting concept. Marrying the fresh, oceanic flavors of coastal seafood with a dedication to quality, customer satisfaction and at-home-cooking, Topsail Steamer has significantly broadened its presence since its establishment in 2017. Pivotal to this expansion is a strategic partnership with Spadea Lignana, a top franchise law firm expertly navigating businesses through the intricacies of franchising.

Topsail Steamer was founded by Danielle Mahon, a late-in-life entrepreneur who turned a novel idea into a thriving franchise. Her journey began with an insightful observation during a family trip. 

“The idea for Topsail came during a girl’s trip with my mom and sisters in the Outer Banks off season,” Mahon said. She noticed a busy takeout counter where customers picked up seafood steam pots to cook at home. Inspired, she envisioned a business model independent of a traditional restaurant setup where customers can enjoy a seafood feast in the comfort of their homes. 

“I grew up going to the Jersey Shore, where it was all about eating crabs, shrimp and shellfish,” said Mahon. “I knew this concept could be perfect on the coast. That idea had legs. I was also becoming an empty nester at the time and everything fell into place.” 

The first Topsail Steamer opened in 2017 on Topsail Island, NC, offering a diverse selection of fresh seafood in a single-use pot, with a blend of spices and accompaniments for an easy, enjoyable cooking experience.

The concept was a hit and Mahon expanded it to include six brick-and-mortar locations around the area. But the brand’s growth trajectory reached a whole new level when she decided to expand through franchising, recognizing its potential for scalability. 

“Franchising made a lot of sense for our model — we operate in a small footprint, require low labor and have easy operations,” Mahon said. 

But Mahon knew that franchising was a whole new ball game, and one that she couldn’t navigate alone. That’s when she was introduced to Spadea Lignana

“Their expertise in franchising was pivotal for a new brand like us,” said Mahon. “The firm’s proactive approach, from legal assistance to strategic advice, has been a game-changer for us. There is a lot of learning that goes into franchising, so it is really important to have a good, experienced partner alongside you for the journey.”

Today, Spadea Lignana’s comprehensive support system, the CORE program, provides ongoing guidance, ensuring that Topsail Steamer and its franchisees thrive in a competitive market. For example, Mahon says the firm was instrumental in helping the brand create its Franchise Disclosure Document (FDD), a key component of any successful franchise. 

“Typically, when you create an FDD, there are many things that you have to think about as a business in terms of how you want the relationship to be between you and your franchisee,” said Mahon. “Because Spadea Lignana has done it so many times, they are able to make sure our FDD represents our core values.” 

Now, as Topsail Steamer continues to grow, its partnership with Spadea Lignana remains a cornerstone of its success. The brand recently announced the signing of its second franchisee in Charlotte, NC, for example, following the successful launch of their first franchise owned by Mahon’s sister and brother-in-law. This milestone marks a significant step in Topsail Steamer’s expansion, setting the stage for further growth.

Overall, this collaboration highlights Spadea Lignana’s commitment to nurturing and advancing the dreams of entrepreneurs like Mahon, promising a future where more people — both customers and franchisees — can experience the unique benefits that Topsail Steamer offers the communities it serves.

For more information on Spadea Lignana, please visit https://www.spadealaw.com/.  

To explore franchising opportunities with Topsail Steamer, visit https://topsailsteamer.com/franchise