KEARNEY — Weights and exercise machines will soon fill the space where clothing and accessories were on display at Kearney’s Hilltop Mall.
The world-wide fitness chain, Planet Fitness, will take over the old Herberger’s building, said Jennifer Alley, a Planet Fitness manager from Fremont. The Herberger’s store has stood vacant since the retail store closed in August 2018.
The Herberger’s shutdown came after its parent company, Bon-Ton Inc., was sold to a liquidation firm in April 2018. Bon-Ton filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy earlier that year, according to an August 2018 Hub article.
If construction goes as planned, Alley said Planet Fitness hopes to open the Kearney club in early November. The fitness chain is already selling memberships for the club on its website,
Alley is helping to start the Kearney club while the company is hiring staff.
Alley has yet to visit the Kearney construction site, so she was unsure know how much space will be occupied by the new fitness club. District Manager Mike Gillen hadn’t responded to emails from the Hub Wednesday afternoon.
When asked by the Hub about Planet Fitness and how much space it will fill, Hilltop Mall Marketing Director Lindsie Breazeale said, “I’m sorry. I have no comment on the situation.”
Building owner, Michael Perkins of Mid-America Shopping Centers, Inc., also hadn’t returned a call from the Hub late Wednesday afternoon.
Planet Fitness operates more than 2,000 clubs in the United States, Canada, Mexico, Dominican Republic, Puerto Rico and Panama, according to its website. In Nebraska, clubs operate in Lincoln, the greater Omaha area, Fremont and Grand Island. The Kearney club will be the furthest west that Planet Fitness will have expanded in the state.
Alley said Planet Fitness is looking to progress more in Nebraska.
“… so they’re just trying to continue to branch out and go to other clubs in Nebraska because we have done really well here (in Fremont),” she said.
Membership fees start at $10 per month and include a $39 annual fee. Because the Kearney facility is new, members will now pay a $1 start-up fee.
Members who subscribe to the $10 classic membership have access to free weights up to 75 pounds and a variety of cardiovascular machines, including ellipticals, treadmills, bikes and stair-steppers, Alley said. Members may also exercise in a separate room with circuit machines and build core strength, while stretching in another room.
One trainer is available at each gym location as well, Alley said, and is accessible at no extra cost. Fitness classes are also available.
Alley suggested new members take the orientation class because the equipment is “brand new.” She also recommends the “Design Your Own Program” class where the trainer meets one-on-one with clients about their fitness goals and offers workout plans.
The trainer also teaches fitness classes to groups of five to eight people.
“We try to keep them smaller so he can still individually train,” Alley said of the Fremont trainer.
Black Card members have access to basic amenities, as well as massage equipment, a tanning bed and a total body enhancement machine which is engages users core muscles and tones their lower body, Alley said. The Black Card members also have access to discounts and can use Planet Fitness clubs anywhere in the world.
The Black Card membership is $23 a month, plus the $1 start-up and $39 annual fees.
Alley said Planet Fitness gyms aren’t focused on body building.
“Planet Fitness is all about being a judgment free zone,” Alley said. “We just focus on general fitness, because most of our members are first time (users). We also choose to create a comfortable, non-demanding environment.”