Airlie Beach, in the Whitsundays in North Queensland, is certainly one of the contenders for ‘paradise’ – aquamarine water, impossibly white sandy beaches and coral teeming with life. Nestled in the hills are beautiful houses, and the marina is home to a broad range of yachts and boats, from little tinnies to luxury yachts.
Earlier this year Dave and Corrina Ross decided to make the sea change, and moved up to Airlie Beach from Townsville to take over the Elite Airlie Beach franchise from retiring owners Rex Snowsill and Cathy Smith. Dave and Corrina took over the franchise on 1st August this year, after long careers in other sectors – Dave is a carpenter, holds a builders supervisors licence and has worked in construction for over thirty years, and Corrina worked in the mining industry for over ten years as a site co-ordinator in a chemical laboratory.
Corrina and Dave are close friends of Rex and it was while looking after Rex’s house last Christmas that the topic of taking over the business was raised, although Dave thought Rex was joking. “Just before Rex went off on holiday and we went up to look after his house while he was away, he mentioned that he was planning on retiring and would we like to take over the business. We thought he was joking, but when he came back we found out he was serious!” says Dave.
Dave and Corrina went back home to Townsville and had a good think about it. The more they thought about it, the more sense it made, so they decided to take up the challenge. “When we looked at the business we realised what a great opportunity it was.” continues Dave. “Rex and Cathy have built the business up over the years and it’s now one of the biggest if not the biggest cleaning company in the Whitsundays.” Airlie Beach itself is growing at a fair clip, both as a tourist destination and as a place to live. Elite’s work is split evenly between commercial work and residential work, with pest control making up a large component of the work – something where Dave’s previous experience is very helpful.
Elite Airlie Beach offers two very specialist services, firstly they do a lot of work on board luxury yachts berthed in the marina. These yachts are really floating holiday homes and are generally very well appointed and furnished. Elite are the experts at keeping the carpets and upholstery in perfect condition, with minimal fuss and disturbance to those on board. Secondly they operate a specialist rug cleaning service. Rugs are brought in to their facility for the most thorough clean possible. Portable equipment will do a good job of cleaning rugs, but to achieve the best results it is best to have your rug cleaned using their in-house cleaning equipment. “We’re planning on being here long term.” says Dave. “The lifestyle is hard to beat, Airlie has a buzz about it, plus we love the outdoor, boating, fishing life, so it’s perfect for us.”