Otago/Southland business sales business booming



Just over a year after switching from banking to business, Queenstowner Donna Harpur-Swain’s become ABC Business Sale’s new Central Otago business partner.

Harpur-Swain made the move from ASB, where she’d been for 25 years — most recently as a regional manager — to ABC in September, 2019.

The new title means she’s now the ‘‘owner’’ of the Central Otago area, which covers the entire Whakatipu Basin, including Kingston and Glenorchy, Wanaka and surrounds, Cromwell and Alexandra.

‘‘It’s nerve-wracking, but it is really exciting.’’

At the moment she works with David Moore, in Wanaka, but says she’s on the hunt for ‘‘at east one other person’’ to work with her in the resort, particularly given how lively the market’s been.

The end of last year saw the busiest quarter ABC’s Otago-Southland team’s ever had, during which 18 businesses were sold, with a total value of over $10.8 million.

Harpur-Swain says despite the impact Covid-19’s had on businesses, particularly in the Whakatipu, most of the sales aren’t necessarily entirely pandemic-driven.

‘‘I’ve had a couple of people calling me that have been hurting and just talking through whether they want to sell or not, but I still haven’t had people come to me that are really in a dire situation, which is really nice.

‘‘Some people are concerned about selling because they think it’s potentially the wrong time, but it’s the right time for them and their business — they want to move on, they’ve got other things in life to go to, or it’s just their time in life to retire.

‘‘Regardless of the Covid situation, people just need to think of their personal situation and where they’re at, and not be frightened by that.’’

Interest in buying businesses in the area is also strong, she says.

That’s coming from expats returning to NZ and inquiring about opportunities, and others looking to move from Auckland to ‘‘regional NZ’’.