Running a business in the Queenstown CBD is not always easy.

October 9 2017 by Kim Wilkinson

Running a business in the Queenstown CBD is not always easy.  Rent increases, changing trends, more competition including strong demand from national and international companies can make it difficult for local businesses to cope. Then there is the risk of natural disasters including flooding from Lake Wakatipu. This past month however Wilkinsons Pharmacy has been celebrating. They are celebrating the fact that a pharmacy has been operating from the corner of The Mall and Rees Street for 150 years. For a business to achieve this in New Zealand is a rarity and in Queenstown even more so.

Local businesses are still a big part of our community. Along with council offices, libraries, arts and cultural centres and educational facilities they help to make up the community fabric of central Queenstown. I applaud the work QLDC are doing with the Town Centre Master Plan. Their desire is to help locals maintain easy access into downtown Queenstown and to keep our community spirit alive. A town centre with businesses relevant to locals helps to maintain a balance with our visitors. 

Lewis Hotop became a local when he came to Queenstown in 1867.  He worked for Hallenstein and Company in Rees Street. Later he bought their pharmacy business and changed the name to Hotops Dispensary. It was on the same site where Wilkinsons Pharmacy is today. 

In Lewis' day horse and carts would pull up to hitching posts outside the shops and customers had easy access to businesses. Today cars still have easy access into the CBD but the problems arise when we try to exit the CBD. Lewis Hotop was mayor of Queenstown on three separate occasions and Hotops Rise was named after him. In a map of the Borough of Queenstown dated 1877, Hotops Rise can be seen as an extension of Camp Street going through to Coronation Drive. It is still a legal paper road today and can be opened up as an easy way for vehicles to exit the CBD through to Frankton Road. Locals would probably appreciate that. 

Lewis continued to operate the pharmacy up until 1920 when my grandfather Gordon Wilkinson purchased the business. Last year Glenn Mitchell and Bronwen Judkins bought the pharmacy from my wife and I ending 96 years of the pharmacy being in the Wilkinson family. Let's all celebrate with them in achieving 150 years of the pharmacy existing on the same site and hope that more local businesses like theirs can continue to develop and attract locals into the centre of this wonderful town of ours. 

- Kim Wilkinson
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  • Smash Place

    I disagree that their should be kudos allround for those that are currently involed in the CBD. Both the QLDC and some of the CBD property owners should hang their heads in shame at the poor state of some of their buildings and quality of retail fit outs.
    After years of doing their best to make it near imppssible to get a car park and providing an overpriced and mismatched retail offering and a evening experience were you are surrounded by yobbos and drunks.Now we the ratepayers at the insistence of the big end of town with the assittance of their hand maidens the QLDC are asked to tamely hop on a bus and return to supposedly revitalised CBD both of which have been ironically subsidised by the ratepayers who doubt are delighted to helping to further enrich those who have done little to deserve such support.

    Posted 11/10/2017 7:27pm (10 months ago)

  • Danny Dyers Chocolate Homunculus

    Smash Place - Totally agree. The bigger idea behind this by Downtown QT and QLDC is this - drive out all the locals from the town center with initiatives paid for by their rates in the hope that when's there no car parks left and the parking is so expensive they cease to come in allowing nothing but a conveyor belt of shopping experiences for Chinese tourists in the hope businesses can live off the Renminbi alone.

    Throw all the locals on the pheasant wagon to free up the roads for overseas drivers so they don't feel threatened, Once the bus is in place and the roads are clogged with Toyota Highlanders blindly driven by people who obtained their licences in a simulator (which is actually the trend currently in China!) The next thing that will be targeted will be the drinking culture in Queenstown.

    Bars will be next on the hit-list followed by the creation of a super casino meanwhile QLDC keep their "community heart" in town so they can pop out for lunches and drinks after work and look each ailing barkeep in the eye with "we're doing our bit" whilst systematically destroying everything that made this town great.

    Posted 12/10/2017 9:28am (10 months ago)


    Its ironic that we have a town centre manager whose wages are in effect paid by the ratepayer ,who delights in telling all and sundary how it is and should be and that we are a bunch of woosers if we don't agree with his grandiose plans. Yet the CDB is looking dirty and unkempt with little or no apparent effort to provide an interesting shoping experience,is anyone holding him to account?
    At least in past we had a Mayor Copper and his wife who made an hands on effort to spruce the CBD and the mall up with hanging flower baskets etc and a police sergeant Malone who put the would be thugs in their place.
    No fancy muilti millon plans and overpriced mangers,just some plain roll up your sleeves and get it done.Oh for the good old days.

    Posted 12/10/2017 5:50pm (10 months ago)

  • Mr Greeny

    Smitten....you are right about that....the so called "town Centre Manager" struts around the town like he owns the place....he has far too much to say for himself....I vote get rid of him

    Posted 13/10/2017 5:00pm (10 months ago)


    Mr Greeny
    Sorry I dont think such positions are voted on by ratepayers.Might be appropriate and interesting to seek an "official request for information" surrounding this appointment ,as its doubtfull you well get a straight answer from the QLDc.

    Posted 13/10/2017 7:58pm (10 months ago)