What started as a business hope and dream for the Gonzales Healthcare Systems board of directors has become a reality. It is one of the bright shining beacons of how a community can promote and sustain itself. The best news of all is that it continues to evolve in its service and commitment to the community.
The business we are writing about is Thrive — one of the biggest assets the community and county of Gonzales has. What started out as an idea for a community wellness center, Thrive has evolved into not only a state-of-the-art wellness center, but also a community home for physical therapy, community events and gatherings, and a meeting facility for the entire region.
“The board of directors of the healthcare system identified a wellness center as a community need over 10 years ago,” said Dewey J. Smith, Director of Thrive. “They started fundraising efforts over a decade ago, and then formed an operations committee made up of hospital staff and employees and members of the community.
“They were looking for community input on what Gonzales wanted — not only in the physical composition of the building, but what functionalities and other services did they want. The board listened, solicited input and brought back invaluable information to the table so that the planning and design was more in line with community needs and wants.”
After seven or eight years of fundraising, the hospital board contacted Quorum, the hospital management company out of Tennessee they have been affiliated with for over 15 years.
“We told them what we wanted to do and explained the wide variety of services we wanted to incorporate into this building, and they recommended we hire a consultant to help us work through our planning, development and actual building,” Smith said. “They sent me to Charlotte, Mich., and we worked with Hayes-Green Beach hospital and their wellness facility called Alive. It was very similar to what we were thinking about for Gonzales, and it was a perfect match for us.
“I spent a lot of time talking to their director, and even went to Charlotte, Mich. for several days in August of 2015 to ask questions, take notes, and bounce ideas off them. They were very helpful in answering questions about design, functionality and even just brainstorming.
“That was a crucial period for Thrive, and it was extremely beneficial as we designed and implemented plans when it came time to break ground.”
Smith returned from Michigan with an education on how to proceed. Thrive broke ground in November 2015, with many of the ideas and suggestions and lessons learned from Alive to put in place. When Thrive opened in 2017, it was an instant home run for Gonzales.
The facility is a glorious physical structure. Located within its walls are a variety of different functions that make it a family/community-oriented facility, not just a wellness center.
Thrive has a state-of-the-art fitness facility, sauna and indoor pool. It has the only racquetball court in Gonzales County, a full-service exercise facility, a half-court basketball court and a rock-climbing wall.
“We are not just a workout gym,” Smith emphasized. “We have great exercise equipment and facilities, but we are so much more. We want to reach out to the community to remind them and inform them we are much more than that — we are a community and family-oriented business that offers a wide variety of services and amenities.”
The list of services and amenities offered at Thrive is a long one. Thrive includes a spa that has everything from massages and facials to laser hair-removal with its state-of-the-art SCITON laser.
They have SPROUT, a childcare area. They have NOURISH, a demonstration kitchen and dietary teaching opportunity. There is CREATE, meeting rooms that can host company meetings, community seminars, birthday and even wedding receptions.
Thrive has ACHIEVE, a wonderful department that helps in physical, occupational and speech therapy. There is an acoustic therapy pool there as well. GROW is Thrives’ child pediatric therapy arm, and then there is the important ENHANCE, which includes three physicians who have their clinics on site. One is Dr. Craig who does cardiology, and the other two are Dr. Box (orthopedic surgery) and Dr. Koerner (general surgery). Throw in FUEL, the center’s local food and drink facility and REMEMBER, the free walking path and you have a facility that other cities would die for.
“Thrive is striving to be the community asset it was meant to be,” Smith said. “We are constantly evaluating what the community needs and is asking for, and we try to respond to that. We are so much more than just a fitness center. This is a facility as good as anything you would find in Austin or Houston, and it is right. Gonzales deserves to have something like this.
“Gonzales is a family-oriented community,” Smith continued. “Everything here revolves around family—not just in the home but in business and the work-place. Thrive offers that family/community atmosphere in a well-designed facility that serves all those functions.
“That’s why this is a great place to live in, play in and work in.”