Built Oregon -Oregon's Entrepreneurial Digital Magazine

Past Podcast – Antoine Simmons of Haystack Lodgings

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From the Corporate Nest to Entrepreneur’s Digs: Lessons Learned From Taking The Big Leap

Download the video of the 4/16 Podcast here (from Dropbox) 

Originally Recorded: April 16th, 2015 


Antoine Simmons of Haystack Lodgings

Moderated by:

Lori Kimbel, Built Oregon writer and owner, Northeast Oregon Business News

Hosted by:

Terry St. Marie, Built Oregon co-founder and writer (www.terrystarbucker.com)


Antoine Simmons was a middle manager at Intel with a great job and a good life, but yet, in 2001, he took off his golden handcuffs and took the big leap as an entrepreneur by buying an ocean front Inn and becoming a hotelier.

Today, he and his wife Rocio own and successfully operate 5 properties on the Northern Oregon coast under the banner of Haystack Lodgings.

Writer Lori Kimbel, who recently profiled Antoine in Built Oregon magazine, will moderate the podcast, and will interview Antoine about his big decision to become an entrepreneur, and the lessons he’s learned over his 15 years in the hotelier business.

Key Points

  • The “leap” decision and how to assess the risk
  • The effect on family and friends (and how to deal with it)
  • How the Oregon entrepreneurial ecosystem and sense of place affected the decision
  • What worked in getting to success (and are great lessons for you)
  • The trip wires to watch out for, and the “do-overs”
  • The importance of community in building a business

Download the 4/16 Podcast/Video here


antioneAntoine Simmons left a corporate job at Intel in Hillsboro, OR in 2001, and with his wife Rocio moved his young family of three small children to the coast to follow their dreams. They saw a great opportunity and purchased the Blue Gull Inn in Cannon Beach.

In 2003, they acquired the Inn at Haystack Rock. Managing multiple properties, they then created a company to reflect the business and called itHaystack Lodgings.

In March of 2011, they took another leap of faith and purchased their first oceanfront motel in Seaside called the Inn at the Prom. They completely renovated the motel down to the sheet-rock.

In March of 2014, they acquired a historic treasure, The Gilbert Inn. The Inn is directly across the street from the Inn at the Prom in Seaside. Today they own and operate 5 distinctive properties on the northern Oregon coast.

Lori's Avatar bwLori Kimbel lives in the small town of Elgin in northeast Oregon with her husband, Mark and youngest daughter, Hannah. Lori currently owns and publishes Northeast Oregon Business News, which serves Baker, Morrow, Umatilla, Union and Wallowa counties and will soon begin publishing The Gorge Business News as well. (www.neobn.com) Digital issues can be seen atwww.issuu.com/lorithompsonkimbel.

Lori is also a freelance writer. Her work can be seen at www.lorikimbel.contently.com

In addition to her love of writing, Lori is also an artist and enjoys digitally enhancing the many photographs she takes as she travels around the Pacific Northwest. Her work can be seen atwww.lorikimbelphotography.com