Entrepreneurial couple Anna & Matt Laming have built a significant business portfolio based around their passion for Wanaka and for being social. Their diverse company, Dropping Inn, represents quality, connection and community and focuses on collaborating with likeminded people to create new initiatives.
“Having grown up in the South Island, we always planned to return “home” after spending several decades living in cities while working in corporate roles,” says Anna. “We visited Wanaka several times a year for holidays and in 2013, with our then young family, we made the permanent move and haven’t looked back since.”
In 2018 they were looking for a new work challenge and when the opportunity to purchase well established Wanaka eatery Urban Grind arose, they jumped at it.
“As passionate café customers ourselves we saw this as a great established business to share our love of food and drink. Both of us value service and we wanted to continue the great local following Urban Grind had gathered over the years and grow on that.”
Anna says Urban Grind’s open plan, industrial interior has a real buzz to it.
“There is well considered art hanging on the walls, customers enjoy gathering and catching up with friends. The café has a sense of inner-city vibe meets small town community. We love it.”
After establishing their reputation at Urban Grind it was not long before the Lamings’ second business came to fruition in the form of b.social.
“This is a collaboration with James Hay, a local craft brewer extraordinaire who Matt met through local biking events, sponsorship and sales,” says Matt. “We shared a few beers over the years and developed a business ideology for a neighbourhood brew bar to align with James new brewery known as b.effect. The bar opened in 2019 and is a popular spot for gathering with friends and sampling the many beers and delicious food on offer.”
The final piece of the puzzle came together when Matt and Anna, along with friends Keary Adeane and Sally Roundhill acquired the Hawea Hotel business. The hotel has been part of the Lake Hawea township since 1925 and Matt says it’s an amazing location.
“The hotel is a space for everyone to enjoy from locals and families to groups, individuals,travellers and more. It’s a place to relax, socialise, celebrate and connect – where our backyard is your backyard.”
Matt says Dropping Inn has evolved into a company that builds clever brands around social destinations creating opportunities for people to feel connected.
“We like to think our business partners and our customers get to develop a sense of ownership over these social places and create memories that are unique to each brand. We want our social hubs to be local for everyone hence the company name Dropping In – there is a sense of discovery to everything we do which is exciting.”