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Clinton Chambers has left Mosgiel to pursue a business opportunity in the city.
Mr Chambers finished as Burns Lodge at Holy Cross Centre business manager in Mosgiel last Friday.
He has bought organic shop Taste Nature in High St, in central Dunedin, with naturopath Tracey Loughran and the friends took over on Monday.
Taste Nature was a natural fit, as he lived off the land at his home in Waitati, where he grew his own food, Mr Chambers said.
He began working at the lodge about two and a-half years ago to set up an accommodation and conference centre ‘‘from scratch’’ in the former seminary in Church St.
He spent the first year bringing the facility ‘‘up to standard’’, including reconfiguring the rooms, building a website and making it possible to book accommodation online.
Business began to boom in the lodge last year, he said.
‘‘We had a copious amount of bookings.’’
The lodge had three tiers of accommodation — budget, which was ‘‘popular with school groups’’, standard, in ‘‘old historical single rooms the priests lived in’’ and premium ‘‘en suite rooms — hotel style — where the staff used to live’’.
About 80% of the 92 rooms had shared facilities, he said.
The facility could sleep up to 120 people and had dining facilities to cater for up to 100 people.
The diocese recently launched a feasibility study to determine the investment required for the lodge to ‘‘reach its full potential’’.
‘‘The future is a little uncertain,’’ Mr Chambers said.
The lodge was an ‘‘amazing asset for Dunedin’’.
‘‘I’ve loved working here.’’
He had worked in tourism and hospitality for 25 years and enjoyed starting a business in a facility with ‘‘huge historical significance’’ and brimming with character.
‘‘The opportunity was golden — that’s why I jumped at the chance, because of what you could do with the place.
‘‘I’ve achieved everything I set out to achieve and I’m leaving on a high.’’
He intended to stay on as Mosgiel Business Association chairman and retain links to the town.
‘‘I’ve made some really good friendships out here — it’s like a second home.’’