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.