Susan Peltier had been searching for a way to revamp Western Racquet & Fitness Club’s “Corporate Wellness Program.” Little did she know, her solution had just been hired as a part-time Group X instructor.
Jennifer Younk — the part-time Group X instructor — had recently moved with her husband back to Green Bay, Wis. from Milwaukee to be closer to their family. “Jennifer had successfully managed a corporate wellness program in Milwaukee,” said Peltier, the general manager of Western Racquet & Fitness Club in Green Bay, Wis. “Our corporate wellness program consisted of nothing but a list of local businesses and a special rate sheet. So, we invited Jenn to revamp our program, taking the best from her previous position and creating a real program that would in fact help area employers create a healthier workforce.”
Prior to hiring Younk, Western had completed a $3.5 million renovation that expanded the club’s cardio, strength and free-weight areas. The renovation also gave Western added amenities like a café and luxury locker rooms. “We felt we were now in a position to reach out to the business community,” Peltier said.
One of Younk’s projects was to find a health care provider that could supply a variety of opportunities for the club, such as lectures for lunch and learn series’ and nurses that could draw blood for cholesterol screenings at health fairs. “We felt this would give our wellness program added legitimacy and make us more competitive with other health clubs,” Peltier said. “She contacted a clinic group named Prevea Health and Wellness, which was affiliated with two hospitals in the city.
“Younk began her discussions with the Service Line Directors at Prevea and it soon became apparent that they were not even aware that Western had undergone a renovation. We invited these directors to come and tour the club. Their excitement at what they saw spread to the highest ranks of the Prevea organization. Before we knew it, we were contacted by the President and CEO of Prevea, Dr. Ashok Rai, requesting a tour and meeting regarding our facility.”
Peltier and her team attacked the meeting with Dr. Rai with the belief that Prevea would actually accept the club’s offer. The Western team arranged its presentation around programs that would allow the two companies to partner successfully.
“Twenty minutes into the meeting our world changed forever,” Peltier said. “After agreeing to everything that Jennifer had requested, he informed us that his real reason for meeting with us was to see our facility and determine if we were the health club partner that he had been looking for, for over a year. Unlike his competitors, who had built their own health clubs, he did not want to be ‘in the health club business.’ He needed a partner that understood fitness and he liked what he saw at Western. Negotiations ensued and The Prevea Western partnership was officially announced in February 2010.”
The partnership has allowed Western to create LEADWELL (The Prevea/Western Corporate Health and Wellness Program). LEADWELL provides members with Wellness Education, Medical Programming and Fitness Programming.
Initially, Peltier said members were skeptical of the partnership. “Some expressed concerns that we were going to become ‘too medical,’” she said. “I think those fears have been assuaged and they now see that our focus hasn’t shifted away from fitness and promoting healthy lifestyle choices.
“They now seem to actually enjoy the access to medical experts that the partnership has provided. They are utilizing the drop-in ‘Weekend Warrior Injury Clinic’ that we established in-house and attendance to our ‘Well Said Lecture Series’ has been good.”
Western has been able to attribute about 200 memberships thus far to its partnership with Prevea. “We expect that number to grow due to the completion of the adjacent clinic and the expansion of the medical programming piece of the partnership,” Peltier said.
The adjacent clinic, supported by the partnership, will house a variety of services, including sports medicine and physical and occupational therapy. “Western will be gaining additional Group X space that will allow us to create a separate Mind & Body, cycle and TRX studios, plus a new multi-use studio enabling us to hold classes of up to 80 people,” Peltier explained. “The hope is that this new joint venture encourages the flow of members and patients back and forth, benefiting everyone.” -CS
By Tyler Montgomery