ELKO – From one generation to the next, an Elko family business transfers command. Kierra Watson is now the general manager of Empower Fitness, owned by parents Jeff and Mindy Watson.
“It (physical fitness) has been my whole life,” said Kierra. “My parents started working out, themselves, in 2002. Ever since then I was in that Kids’ Club. In 2007 my parents bought the gym and I lived here.”
As she grew up she never really thought about leading the business endeavor. In fact, she attended college at Utah State University with other plans, graduating in 2021.
“I want to go to college and do my own things,” she said. “I got my associate’s degree in general studies with a certificate in business. Then my dad offered me the position as soon as I got the degree. It kind of just worked out.”
Kierra now manages both the Elko and Spring Creek gyms.
“From the time I wake up until the time I go to bed, I am constantly on the phone, answering customer questions, talking to employees, taking care of the social media. I am planning events now. I handle all the inventory and retail, basically, everything at the moment.”
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“It’s been a challenge, for sure, but I love it a lot.”
Kierra says she really likes the people she works with.
“I worked at a restaurant when I was living in Logan and I would work 10 hour shifts,” she said. “At the end of that shift I would be just drained. I did not want to talk to anyone, I didn’t want to do anything. But, 10 hours here feels like a breeze. I am doing what I love. I get to talk to tons of people all the time. I love health and fitness.”
Besides coming from a family of fitness enthusiasts, Kierra also played soccer while growing up and studied Brazilian jujitsu for six years.
“I dedicated my childhood to soccer.”
Kierra recently started an Empower workshop series.
“My vision is that I will have a different focus for each workshop,” she said. “Our first Empower workshop was an ‘Empower Women’ workshop.”
She also plans a youth workshop like when her father taught teenagers how to properly bench, deadlift and squat.
“It was phenomenal to see these kids — lifting barely anything to due to poor form — to being stronger doing the correct form.”
Kierra is also planning workshops in women’s lifting, meditation and nutrition and supplements.
People can find out about the workshops through Facebook, fliers posted at the gyms, and a newsletter Kierra puts out weekly.
“We eventually will get a link on our website,” she said.
“For spring break we have Little Yogis and Twinkletoes programs. This is our second or third year doing this.”
Kierra said she thinks the friendly, inviting atmosphere at the gym keeps people coming back.
“Our facility has been voted the cleanest gym in Elko for a number of years,” she said. “We want it to feel like family to everyone because we do care. My dad cares more than anyone I have ever met. He loves everyone that walks through that door.”
Besides fitness, the facility also provides tanning booths and a massage therapist.
“We do have a 19K coming up,” Kierra said. “It’s the ‘Empower to Empower Run.’ We start in Spring Creek and end in Elko over E Mountain.”
The event is scheduled for May 21. It is free to members and $25 for non-members.
“Our members care about each other, even if they don’t know each other,” Kierra said. “If someone is struggling there is always another member rushing to help out a member.”
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