Expanding Wilmington Businesses Share Growth Stories

By Cece Nunn, posted Jun 2, 2022
A panel of business leaders gathered Thursday morning at the Wilmington Convention Center to share growth stories and insights. (Photo by Vicky Janowski)
For the Wilmington-based executives gathered Thursday at the Wilmington Convention Center, their companys' backstories are different but their results are the same: ongoing growth.

To Danielle Mahon, founder and president of Topsail Steamer, that means preparing to offer franchising opportunities for her take-home seafood steam pots business, which currently has six locations including Surf City on Topsail Island and Wrightsville Beach. 

"As part of our growth strategy, we are at the very end of our franchise development process and we expect to be able to launch that program in mid- to late summer," Mahon said. "We are super excited to partner with new owner-operators and bring Topsail Steamer across the country."

Mahon shared the stage with Carolyn Aubitz, national talent acquisition manager for Megacorp Logistics; Ben Currin, CEO of Vantaca; and Natalie English, president and CEO of the Wilmington Chamber of Commerce. The panel was featured at Thursday morning's event, Power Breakfast: Growth Stories, hosted by the Greater Wilmington Business Journal.

The officials shared some insight into each company's growth, while English discussed the chamber's role in helping existing and potential companies achieve their goals.

Since Jan. 1, Vantaca has added 30 employees to its roster of 100, said Currin, who became the CEO in 2020 after serving as chief operating officer. Founded in 2017, Vantaca is a cloud-based software platform for the community association management industry. Early on, Vantaca had a small software development in Atlanta, but eventually focused the company's hiring in Wilmington, Currin said, while still bringing on the best candidates.

Founded in 2009 by Ryan and Denise Legg, third-party logistics firm MegaCorp Logistics specializes in full truckload shipments and less-than-truckload shipments throughout the U.S. and Canada

"We are a third-party logistics company; we go out and find shipping managers that have a need to move the goods that you find in your stores, restaurants, grocery stores every single day. And then we're going out and finding independent truck owners, owner-operators, small carriers to be able to move that freight from point A to point B," Aubitz said.

She said MegaCorp is growing at its Wilmington headquarters and at its locations elsewhere.

"Our second-largest office is in Covington, Kentucky, and in that market, there are a lot of other logistics and 3PL services, in Cincinnati, Ohio; Chicago ... even there, we're growing strong," she said, with plans to expand from their current location of 20,000 square feet to 40,000 square feet.

Earlier this year, MegaCorp officials announced that the company plans to hire 300 more employees after being approved for local economic development incentives. Vantaca, which has also garnered local incentives along with state funds, last year revealed a $5 million expansion and plans to hire more than 100 additional employees.

English said it's important for Wilmington to boost existing businesses so they remain in the Port City.

"We are here to make sure that you all can continue to grow your businesses, that you run into fewer regulations or that when you do run into those regulations, you have a way to get over a barrier that might be preventing your growth," English said of the chamber's work. "We also in partnership with New Hanover County added a different component of our economic development ecosystem in the last year and that is to focus on existing businesses specifically, and especially those in a smaller category."

To hear more of the panel discussion on growth stories, listen later to the talk on the Business Journal's WilmingtonBiz Talk podcast, available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify and Stitcher.
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