32963 Homepage

Want to purchase reprints of your favorite 32963 or photos?

Copies of Vero Beach 32963 can be obtained at the following locations:


Our office HQ: (located at 4855 North A1A)
1. Corey's Pharmacy
2. 7-Eleven

(South A1A)
3. Major Real Estate Offices


1. Vero Beach Book

2. Classic Car Wash
3. Divine Animal
4. Sunshine Furniture

5. Many Medical

Things ‘working out’ for Vero gyms as clients return

STORY BY STEPHANIE LABAFF (Week of October 1, 2020)
Photo: Summer Desouza training with Freddy Vega at Vero Fitness.

Vero Beach gyms and athletic clubs were finally allowed to resume operation at full capacity this week, and most gym owners and managers who have struggled to stay partly open through the pandemic seem at least somewhat optimistic about the future of their businesses.

“There's so much uncertainty right now but we will survive,” said Bob Del Vecchio, owner of the Vero Beach Athletic Club. During the early stages of the pandemic, Del Vecchio said he lost all his trainers and his yoga, circuit training and martial arts classes.

Del Vecchio says clients have been slow to return because they are worried about their health. At the same time, he credits a surge in new clients to his reputation for having “the cleanest gym that they have ever seen in their life.

“It's a slow process but we are gradually increasing with our numbers, particularly in the training,” he said.  “Instead of 10 a week I'm back up to more like 35 to 40.”

"I feel like most people are going to return,” says Bonnie Pfiester, co-owner of Lift Fitness along with her husband Steve Pfiester. “They’re just waiting to feel safe to return. A year from now there’s going to be a lot of home gym equipment for sale. There’s just something about the atmosphere of going to a place designed to motivate you and to have access to such a variety of equipment to help you.”

“We’re actually seeing a big increase right now,” said Kasey Campbell, administrator at Vero Fitness, formerly known as Jungle Club. “It was a little slow there when we first reopened but it's definitely picking back up now. We’re getting a lot of the younger crowd in. We’re getting people telling us that they want more classes added. We’re trying to keep up with all of them."

Campbell said outdoor classes have been popular since the shutdown. The gym limits the number of attendees at indoor live classes and has added virtual classes. Altogether, Vero Fitness offers more than 90 classes a week.

“People are nervous and scared to get back out there, but your health is the No. 1 thing that’s going to help you out. If you’re not healthy, if you’re not fit, this thing seems to be attacking the ones that aren’t,” said Campbell.

Mother and daughter Ann Tench and Elizabeth Tench both have memberships at Planet Fitness, where staff members are required to wear masks and clients must wear masks when they move from one piece of equipment to another.

Elizabeth returned to her workouts at the gym not long after it reopened. “It’s too hot to exercise outside, and I need to work out for both my physical and mental well-being,” she said.

But for her mother Ann Tench, getting back to the gym was not worth the risk at this point. While she misses her nightly visits to Planet Fitness, she said, “I am in my 80s, and I have an underlying condition. Outside in the evening is the safest place for me to walk right now.”

At city-owned Leisure Square – where staff and guests are required to wears masks inside the facility – business last week was “still a little bit lower than what we were beforehand but we’re definitely doing better and it's growing back,” according to Vero Beach Recreation Director Jim O’Connell.

“Our membership numbers are pretty good. A little lower than what we would hope for right about now but not disastrously so,” he said.  “People need to get back to doing the things that are good for them – the healthy things, not just physically but mentally. You’re forcing isolation on people, perhaps for their own good, but there’s also a mental health aspect to that.”