July 1, 2016
IN FOCUS: Chris Sales & Steven Michael Hillen
Managing director, Maroochydore
After starting Luxe Commercial, self-made businessman behind the enterprise, Chris Sales, has certainly become a force to be reckoned with.
Chris has forged a name for himself in the real estate industry within the space of six short years, launching his boutique business Luxe Commercial in January last year. But his journey to get to this point began much earlier.
“When I left school at the age of 18, I bought my first house and got into renovating,” says Chris.
“I also started my own business around the same time, and my idea for Luxe kind of grew from there after I combined the two to get into commercial real estate.”
Chris’s concept was to turn the commercial side of the industry on its head by offering clients premier service unlike anything they’d seen elsewhere.
“I noticed there was a gap in the market,” says Chris.
“I wanted to bring out the sophistication that is usually only offered in the residential real estate game – to get rid of the dingy, industrial feel and make it a more classy experience. And above all, I wanted to have a boutique firm that was service based.”
Having built his business from two people to a successful team of eight servicing the entire Coast from Caloundra to Noosa, Chris has plenty to be proud of, yet maintains it is their efforts that inspire him the most.
“I love that I have the ability to do what I love on a daily basis with an absolutely phenomenal team backing me. I wouldn’t be able to do what I have done without them,” he says.
“For me, getting Luxe to the point it is now as a full service agency, along with its continued growth each month, is my greatest achievement. That and the culture. Our team has been hired on attitude, and we pride ourselves on promoting that supportive and friendly culture.”
STEVEN MICHAEL HILLEN
Head chef, Maroochydore
Fun, free and full of flavour. That’s how Ocean Ended’s head chef Steven Michael Hillen describes his kitchen.
Steven has been cooking up amazing creations at Ocean Ended since it opened its doors for service nearing the end of 2015, and it’s a role you can tell he loves from the excitement in his voice.
“We have a fun little kitchen here,” he says.
“I’m very lucky I get the freedom to play with different ideas. I have a sous chef who I’ve worked with for years and we get each other’s cooking style, and an apprentice who fits in with us really well, so it’s a nice environment to work and learn in. There’s no pressure either – I think too many chefs take themselves far too seriously.”
Steven got into cooking about 20 years ago after completing a degree in hotel management.
“I had loads of part time jobs in the industry, but I liked the cooking side of things better and I did a lot of travelling when I was younger, so it was good for that.
“It’s just something I’ve really always enjoyed.”
Ocean Ended in particular is an endeavour Steven feels happy to be involved with, as he loves that the restaurant opens diners’ eyes to different options.
“We focus on seafood as it suits the beautiful ocean and river environment we’re in. But we try to use fish that you don’t usually tend to see on menus. We serve more local and whole fish, cook them simply, and let their natural flavours sing.
“There’s so much seafood that is caught, but not typically sold, because people have never really heard of it, and there’s some beautiful fish out there that people know nothing about. I love getting great feedback from people thanking us for introducing them to new fish. People seem to really love uncomplicated, yet bold food, and that’s what we pride ourselves on.”