Four entrepreneurial couples that have the Valentine’s Day spirit

With Valentine’s Day just one day away, many retailers are relying on the temporary spending splurge to boost sales, despite consumers’ cynical views on the commercial nature of the event.


In a bid to celebrate what Valentine’s Day really stands for, StartupSmart identifies some of Australia’s leading entrepreneurial couples.


Roger and Lesley Gillespie


The Gillespies are the founders of much-loved bakery franchise Baker’s Delight, established in 1980 as a single bakery in the Melbourne suburb of Hawthorn.


By 1988, the Gillespies owned 15 bakeries. The business then became a franchise, growing to more than 40 bakeries by 1991.


In the next two years, Bakers Delight expanded to 200 bakeries and, just 10 years later, 600. There are now more than 700 bakeries across three countries, with the Gillespies still at the helm.


“In FY11, we took on 50% more franchisees than in previous years – in FY12 we’ve already exceeded expectations,” Lesley Gillespie said recently.


“Consumer demand for fresh bread and a unique service offering has fuelled our longevity and continued growth, with 31 years of experience. Our intent is to be around for another 31 years.”


Max Moar and Iris Lustig-Moar


Max Moar and his former wife Iris Lustig-Moar are the directors of Lustig & Moar, which has built an impressive reputation as one of Australia’s most prestigious property developers.


Arriving in Australia at the age of 23, Max Moar founded the business with his then father-in-law, the late Ted Lustig.


With the aim of building “socially significant” buildings, Lustig & Moar projects include Melbourne’s Park Hyatt Hotel and Grant Hyatt Hotel, and Chatswood Chase in Sydney.


After the death of Ted Lustig in 2003, Iris took over his position and took control of the company, together with Max.


Max and Iris are separated but they continue to run the Lustig-Moar property development empire. They are also making a name for themselves as serious art investors.


Ervin and Charlotte Vidor


In 1963, the Vidors established The Toga Group as a property, construction, investment and management group initially focused on medium-sized residential and commercial developments.


Toga now employs more than 1,800 staff in Australia, New Zealand and Europe across a range of areas including property development, design, construction and project management.


The Vidors are believed to be worth more than $480 million.


David McMahon and Maxine Horne


McMahon and Horne established Fone Zone, with its first store on the Gold Coast opening in 1995.


Fone Zone is one of Australia’s most successful specialist mobile communications retailer, with 150 branded outlets and more than 900 team members across every state and territory.


The company specialises in mobile communications, and is considered an industry leader in the advancement of mobile technologies.


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