- story by Ellis Anderson
The Bay Town Inn is one of Bay St. Louis's celebrity businesses - the 12-room bed-and-breakfast has been a favorite of travel writers and featured several times in national publications.
Now the national broadcasting world has discovered the inn and its owner, Nikki Moon. The business was featured in the fifth season of the popular PBS show Start Up.
Moon says that the show's host, Gary Bredow and his production crew filmed the interview in the spring of 2017. The episode premiered in March 2018. As of this week, the episode is available online for streaming (we've embedded the segment below).
According to the show's website, Start Up interviews small business owners around the country "to hear their personal stories and find out what it really takes to start a successful business from the ground up... Start Up is a fast-paced series that captures the heart and imagination of anyone who has ever dreamed of starting their own business."
In the interview, Moon discussed her first career in sales. When asked by host Bredow what she sold, her response: "A very strange commodity; I sold New Orleans." The former tourism director of sales explained that she worked for the city's tourism division from 1979 until 2013.
Moon left the job the first time in 2003 when she purchased a historic bed-and-breakfast on the beachfront in Bay St. Louis. Two years later, Hurricane Katrina destroyed the inn and nearly took her life. The interview follows her through the trials and tragedy that followed, which led to her eventually rebuilding a new Bay Town Inn on the site of the former one.
Moon has obviously not forgotten her original career. In the interview, she touted Bay St. Louis as being a charming arts community by the water with great restaurants and boutique shopping. She also lauded the town's walkability and safety.
The Bay's Historic District earned high marks too - the inn is located within the district and the city's Historic Commission had oversight of the new inn's design. "It [the Historic District] is a great thing, because it keeps everything with the right look."
When Bredow asked Moon to name the hardest thing about working for herself, she said it's the fact there's nobody to blame when she makes a mistake. The best? The rewarding feelings she has making travelers' experience in Bay St. Louis a positive one.
Moon's final advice to those contemplating starting their own businesses?
"Just do it!" she said.