Greg Soutiea’s experiences in hospitality management during his years as a student at Southeast Missouri State University sparked an interest that has evolved into a dream career.
Greg graduated from Southeast in 2007 with a Bachelor of Science with a major in mass communication, advertising option, and a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration with a major in marketing, marketing management option. He and his wife recently quit their jobs working for large companies in Boston to chase their dreams and balance their work with their passions. After purchasing the Craignair Inn in Maine with his wife Lauren at the end of 2018, Greg has been able to use his degrees, earn a living and enjoy what makes him happy all at once.
The Craignair Inn sits on a granite ledge surrounded by flower gardens and the sea. The inn originally housed quarry workers from nearby Clark Island. Locally quarried stone from the area was used to build the Brooklyn Battery Tunnel, the Library of Congress and bridges in New York City’s Central Park. The stone can be seen in the causeway that links the mainland and Clark Island. The quarry housing was transformed into an inn in 1947 and has been an idealistic getaway spot for travelers ever since.
On his time at Southeast:
I originally chose to attend Southeast because of the small class sizes, convenience to home and cost-effective pricing. Some of my favorite memories were with Alpha Kappa Psi, working in restaurants (Mollie’s and Saffron) and meeting lifelong friends.
I spent a lot of time at Southeast working in the hospitality industry. I learned a lot by working for the owner of Saffron, Su Hill, and the owners of Mollie’s Restaurant and Bar, Brian and Quantella Noto (Southeast associate professor and Hospitality Management Program director). Learning the hospitality industry along with the business and advertising skills in the classroom prepared me to now, 12 years later, be out on my own doing my dream job.
My wife Lauren and I were exhausted with our corporate day jobs and wanted to do something for ourselves. We travel a lot and always enjoyed staying at local B&Bs instead of hotels. We enjoyed really getting to know the owners and the local community.
Over the course of a year and a half, we looked at several properties around New England. We wanted something in the mountains or on the ocean, so the search was fairly limited. The first time we drove up to the Craignair Inn property, Craignair meaning “black rock” in Scottish, we were sold on the amazing view and quiet location of the Inn.
We are a now 22-room inn with a seasonal, full-service restaurant right on the waterfront in Midcoast Maine. The Midcoast region is the largest lobster producing region in the state and one of the biggest in the country. It is filled with beautiful towns, mountains, running trails, rocky Maine beaches, breweries, wineries and more.
On life between graduation and opening the Inn:
Since graduation, I have primarily been working in the real estate industry. I started out in rental apartment leasing/management. For the past 10 years, I’ve managed high-end condominium properties around Boston. Also, I am an accomplished ultra-marathon distance runner.
On his goals for the future:
My wife and I hope to improve on the business of the former Inn owners while keeping the traditional atmosphere of a country inn in the Midcoast region. We have and will continue to institute more eco-friendly policies, offer food options to guests with all types of dietary restrictions, offer a comfortable and luxury stay for guests without breaking the bank and treat each guest like friends and family.
On advice for Southeast students:
I would tell students to enjoy their time at Southeast and to make the most out of their lives. Working all day every day and missing time with your family or friends is the wrong way to go about it. Find a job or career that allows you to follow your passions and to live in the moment.