Chris Ross is the Director of Operations at Blu by the Sea, a rehabilitation facility in Destin, Florida, that provides therapy and other services to help patients overcome issues relating to addiction and mental health. Founded over 10 years ago, Blu by the Sea has assisted over 1,000 clients through its varied programs and services that include the support and guidance of Mr. Ross, who has firsthand experience in overcoming addiction through the use of alternative treatment programs and continued therapy.

As a standout athlete in Eastern Kentucky, Mr. Ross’s football prowess earned him a college scholarship to play quarterback at a school in Indiana. Though he was poised for collegiate football success, he suffered an injury that required prescription painkillers and ultimately ended his athletic career. Depressed from no longer being able to compete in the sport that had always been a key part of his life, he began to abuse prescription painkillers as a way to self-medicate, leading to the feeling that his life was lacking direction and that he had no goals to pursue. Eventually the self-medicating and social drinking turned into an unhealthy addiction, so he found himself seeking help.

Mr. Ross’s family offered their support and helped him receive treatment at a number of rehabilitation facilities. When treatment at even the most prestigious facilities in the country resulted in little success, he sought an alternative treatment program that helped him finally overcome his addiction. After realizing that there was a significant need for more alternative treatment programs like the one that had assisted him, he and his family decided to convert their beach home in Destin, Florida, to the Blu by the Sea rehab center. Since its founding, the program has been an overwhelming success and Mr. Ross has been able to help many people overcome their issues relating to addiction and mental health.

How did you get started? What inspired you to start this business?

My family and I wanted to help others in the way I had been helped. It is our goal at Blu by the Sea to assist our clients in regaining complete control of their lives through treatment.

How do you make money?

We charge a very affordable tuition fee to clients of the program. Our goals are not profit-oriented, however, as we founded this business to help people, not to generate as much profit as possible.

How long did it take for you to become profitable?

We converted our family beach house into Blu by the Sea, so a lot of the standard startup costs were already taken care of. Once we had clients in place we began to generate a profit that has allowed us to bring in additional staff to improve our programs at the facility.

When you were starting out, was there ever a time you doubted it would work? If so, how did you handle that?

I had my doubts at first. We were, after all, opening our home to strangers but I also have a great deal of faith. My family and I committed ourselves to doing something good, and we believe that positive endeavors will always succeed in the end.

How did you get your first customer?

Our first client, like the majority of clients who come to Blu by the Sea, came to us through a referral.

What is one marketing strategy (other than referrals) that you’re using that works really well to generate new business?

We utilize a network of mental health care professionals working in various settings who recommend our programs to potential clients. We hope to attract clients from across the country, so we have also begun to utilize digital advertising targeted to people who may be in need of our kind of assistance.

What is the toughest decision you’ve had to make in the last few months?

We decided to scale back our operations in order to provide more one-on-one therapy. We want to serve as many people as possible, but we felt it was best to focus on the quality of the care we provide rather than the quantity.

What do you think it is that makes you successful?

I have always been a committed and hard-working individual, but I think the fact that I can personally relate to what our clients are going through is what makes the program special.

What has been your most satisfying moment in business?

Every Christmas we receive hundreds of cards from former clients who are able to truly enjoy their lives now that they have overcome their addiction and have regained control over their lives. Their success is the most satisfying part of what we do.

What does the future hold for your business? What are you most excited about?

We plan to continue to offer the best level of care and treatment possible, and I am most excited about helping more and more clients enjoy the opportunities they create for themselves through treatment.

Are you willing to be a mentor? If so, how would you like to be contacted?

Of course I am willing to be a mentor. After all, mentoring is one of my main obligations at Blu by the Sea. I can be reached by phone at 850-797-0761, or by email at

What is your personal philosophy regarding the mission of any business?

While I have a keen understanding that business must be profit-driven by definition, I believe it is necessary to focus on providing something that is truly beneficial and accomplishes some sort of fundamentally positive outcome.

Connect With Blu By The Sea: