Case Study

New Casual Wing Spurs Growth at Genesee Valley Club

The success at Genesee Valley Club in Rochester, New York following the recent completion of a capital improvement program is a wonderful example of a club evolving and changing while remaining true to its values. Founded in 1885, Genesee Valley Club has long been Rochester’s premier dining and social club. Its “Front Club” is a traditional, formal wing and its “Back Club” is a casual social and athletic wing that combines the best of the Club’s traditions with a whole new approach to casual dining, fitness and family. It is driving the Club to new heights and is where the investments went.

The process began in 2012 when the leadership began a strategic planning process to understand and address the forces that were causing the decline in membership over the prior four years. While the recession was a factor, Rochester’s business and social environment played a role due to changes in technology and global forces. The high-tech universities in Rochester were producing entrepreneurs and startup companies that were no longer in a single corporate tower and also maybe looking for something a little less traditional. With that, “Front Club” usage declined as more and more activity gravitated towards the “Back Club”. However, the “Back Club’s” atmosphere didn’t represent something that could serve as the Club’s primary dining and social venue. After analyzing the marketplace and options, it was clear that upgrades to the “Back Club” were needed to re-energize the Club. With that, the membership overwhelmingly approved a $3.5 million program in spring 2014. It included a pub, casual grill, significantly expanded fitness center and children’s facilities.

The Pub is the buzz of the Club! It’s a great meeting place for members and the staff has powered it with legendary food, service and programs like happy hours and young professional cocktail receptions. There’s also a new Billiards/Pool Room where singles and doubles tournaments have been held. A whole new set of social circles has been created and the Club has become a place for drop-in interaction. The Armstrong Grill often sells out for lunch and dinner and has attracted a fairly robust breakfast trade. There’s even an outdoor patio and fire pit area for dining and socializing in summer. The “Front Club” has even seen a renewed energy and usage by members as fine dining is alive and well with outstanding cuisine, service and ambiance.

The significantly expanded fitness center features state-of-the-art equipment and classroom space for a full range of programs like boot camps, parent-child yoga and even swing dance lessons which are extremely popular as classes are sold out. The program also ramped up the Club’s commitment to families with an outdoor playground and childcare facilities that feature dedicated rooms for youth. There’s even been a renewed energy in the Club’s squash programs.

Since the new facilities opened in May 2015, new life and energy have been given to the Club and membership has returned to pre-recessionary levels! While remaining true to its heritage as the premier club in Rochester for fine dining and entertainment, Genesee Valley Club introduced new activities and programs to all member segments that have broadened their experience at the Club.

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Genesee Valley Club

Rochester, New York