Health Care

Genesis to open new club in Emporia

Rodney Steven II is opening his seventh Genesis Health Clubs location, this one in Emporia.

The newest club will be the current Walburns Fitness & Wellness, at 1007 Commercial. It becomes a Genesis club effective Monday.

The club has about 10,000 square feet; Steven said the space will be remodeled and about 6,000 square feet will be added.

"We're completely redoing the whole building" in what will be "a pretty large remodel," he said. The remodel and expansion is expected to take five or six months.

Steven is buying the family-owned fitness club from Kenny Walburn and Brian and Frannie Walburn. Kenny Walburn started the club in 1979; Brian and Frannie are his son and daughter-in-law.

The Walburns will retain part ownership of the land, Steven said, and Brian eventually will become manager of the Emporia facility. He is moving to Hutchinson to train with Johnny Steven, who is Steven's brother and general manager of Genesis Health Clubs.

Steven said he met the Walburns a couple of years ago, and the purchase has been in the works for about a year. "They're just great people. I'm looking forward to working with them."

The Walburns also have a location in McPherson; it is not part of the deal.

This is Genesis' third location outside Wichita. In addition to the one in Hutchinson, Genesis has a facility in Salina and four clubs in Wichita. The Salina club is in a temporary location while work continues on its new and retrofitted space. The work is expected to be done in about 60 days.

Work also is under way at the Genesis location on West Central. A 33,000-square-foot addition will house five indoor tennis courts, and a second-floor group fitness studio and viewing room are being added to the club. The $2 million project's completion is expected next month.

Steven said the Emporia club's members will become Genesis members. The club has about 950 members.

The remodeling and expansion will include adding a cycling studio and locker and steam rooms, and expanding the cardio and weight rooms. Twelve to 15 employees will be added.

Steven said, "I don't have a comment for you on that right now" when asked whether he was considering more Genesis locations in the Wichita area. But, he said, "We are looking at some other markets" in the state.

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