Lawrence businesses optimistic


The township of Lawrence is in an unusual scenario compared with its Clutha neighbours facing the post-lockdown economic recovery. Much of the economic activity in the area is stimulated by tourists, many from outside New Zealand.

As international travel restrictions are set to stay for the foreseeable future, Clutha Leader reporter Jack Conroy checked in with some newly returned Lawrence business owners to get their thoughts.

Lawrence retailer Lindy Chinnery said much of her business has come from overseas visitors, but she remains optimistic.

Since Alert Level 3, the Handwoven Designs owner has been able to enter her workplace to prepare woollen creations able to be sold under Level 2.

“I get quite a few international visitors,” Mrs Chinnery said.

“But if New Zealanders start travelling around their own country, maybe Lawrence will appeal to them.

“It’s one of the more visual, boutique towns.”

Blue Spur Butchery and Deli owner Jan Harper had a different experience during lockdown, but was no less upbeat.

“The community has been extremely supportive,” Ms Harper said.

The butcher was able to continue her work during Level 3, performing home kills for farmers who could not leave their properties, and having meat packs delivered to people in the area.

She believed the Lawrence community’s enthusiasm would bring people through tough financial times.

The Prospector Cafe and Accommodation owner Fiona Anderson said takeaway options had been available from the shop from Level 3, picked up from an outside window, and the policy had continued.

“Anyone who wants takeaways, they don’t come in, they wait outside,” Mrs Anderson said.

The policy was to prevent overcrowding inside the cafe. Members of the public had been supportive from the beginning, she said.

The local support made her confident about the future of the business, along with hope for increased domestic tourism in the summer.

“We tend to quiet around this time anyway . . .it could be a concern after winter. “It’s still a popular destination, it’s a good run from Dunedin and it’s a good run from Cromwell if people want to just come for a drive or take their bike.”

Clutha district councillor Mel Foster was also hopeful, and said plans were under way to develop methods of making Lawrence more attractive to domestic travellers.

“We’ve started to think of ways to help that,’’ Mrs Foster said. ‘‘I’ve set up a business network where we can share ideas about how to attract people to the area.”