New heights: Mountain Club founders Jason Wilby, left, and Chris Davern in their new Beach St premises


While so many Queenstown businesses are retrenching, at least one’s doing the opposite
and finding a new niche for its offering.

Co-working space company Mountain Club, which set up at Five Mile just over a year ago,
lost half its members during the Covid-19 lockdown.

However, it’s rebounded with more members than ever, doubled its Five Mile floor area
to about 800 square metres, after a neighbouring tenancy fell over, and added another 500sqm venue in the CBD.

Founders Chris Davern and Jason Wilby say the lockdown convinced many out-of-towners
they could work remotely, so why not in Queenstown, where they don’t need to spend hours a week commuting.

But, Wilby says, what people want from a work space is also changing.

‘‘Previously, a work space was an office and a computer and a desk, and now, what I think
we’re seeing from Covid, is you can work from anywhere but what people want is human contact.

“They want the fun thing, they want to come out and have a coffee a couple of times a week and meet some colleagues and spark some ideas.’’

In the Mountain Club ‘community’, members tap each other for advice.

Davern: ‘‘The other thing that’s so surprising is post-Covid we’ve seen members who were
working in tourism creating new non-tourism-related businesses, and learning from other

‘‘I think this feels like a beating new heart of the Queenstown economy.’’

Davern says with membership starting at $190 a month, they’re helping people start up businesses as they don’t have to commit to all the overheads they’d need to if they leased
office space.

They’ve also employed a community and wellbeing manager — an international CrossFit coach — to take fitness training and the like, and have boardroom space and an acoustic pod for recording.