By day, Ignite Wanaka general manager Naomi Lindsay helps businesses get on their feet. At night, she dreams of greens.
Now she is stepping back from her Wanaka Chamber of Commerce role to launch her own gig, the Well Bean Cafe, operating from the Wanaka Lakes Health Centre.
Ms Lindsay acknowledged some could think it “mad” to start a cafe when the hospitality industry has been shredded by Covid, border restrictions and a vanishing workforce.
“It is a risk, but I am confident I can make it work.”
Ms Lindsay started local food tour business, Forage and Feast, in 2021, and felt the cafe would “mesh in nicely”.
“Anyone who knows me, knows I am a big foodie, I love entertaining, I love cooking. A number of times in my career I have thought about giving it all up and training to be a chef . . . I love the chamber work but I am really in my happy place in the kitchen.”
Ms Lindsay has a background in media, marketing, events and administration. She was previously the general manager of the Warbirds and Wheels visitor attraction.
She felt proud to have grown Ignite Wanaka membership from 130 to 340.
She was also proud of introducing the annual Ignite Wanaka Business Awards and an events strategy to help motivate, train and connect members during the economic downturn.
Chamber chairman Andrew “Howie” Howard acknowledged Ms Lindsay’s “brand and passion has been synonymous with Ignite Wanaka for the last eight years”.
“Her down to earth enthusiasm has matched our business community’s culture and has helped drive our success,” he said.
Mr Howard said Ms Lindsay would work with the chamber on an exit and transition plan. Events and services would continue while the board recruited a replacement.