Joey Olivo, owner of Legacy Strength in Floral Park, saw COVID-19 as a chance to renovate and reimagine his private gym to make it more accessible during uncertain times.
Something Olivo didn’t see coming from the pandemic was his involvement in winning an Emmy.
News 12 Long Island during the summer of 2020 did a feature on Legacy Strength, profiling its business on Jericho Turnpike as it reopened from COVID-19. On Oct. 30, it won the business/consumer category for short-form content at the 64th Annual New York Emmy Awards.
“The station called and said ‘Guess what, you got nominated for an Emmy,’ and I was so stunned,” Olivo said in an interview. “I was like ‘What do you mean, how’s that possible?’”
Legacy Strength’s profile was part of 30 awards for News 12 networks, the most awards given out that evening. Anchor and reporter Antoinette Biordi received her third Emmy in her career, along with 23 nominations, for her “We’re Open” work.
Biordi’s series showcased local business coming back after the pandemic and included three minority-owned local businesses including Killer Body Fitness in Mineola, Bully Sound Records in Great Neck and the Floral Park gym.
Repurposing the gym was a process that went from two weeks to months, according to Olivo. The delay in plans came at an inopportune time, as Legacy Strength was still closed while surrounding gyms were beginning to open. Olivo said at the time some clients were switching gyms, but he wanted to take the time on changes in order to make sure they were done the right way.
“I said to myself if we do this right we’ll be able to reopen with a whole new base, a whole new vibe and a whole new feeling which is what people want,” Olivo said. “We did and it worked, everybody’s looking for something new and fresh.”
Olivo’s path to owning Legacy Strength started out of high school, when he was a personal trainer. The New York native, who grew up here and in Puerto Rico, went the corporate route briefly, he said, but returned to his passion of training and set a goal around 2008 to open a gym five years after returning.
“I love helping people and seeing people change, making them better,” Olivo said. “Instead of pushing paper I decided I wanted to start pushing people.”
Part of adapting to COVID-19 was offering services online, but more importantly renting out his gym equipment to clients. None of what Olivo thought he was doing would end up with an Emmy win, something he said humbled him and helped him get a new focus on committing to something.
“It’s something you never thought you would achieve, realizing how much work goes into it and all the people in the background just to get it right,” Olivo said regarding the news feature. “It puts your mindset on another level that you can actually achieve anything you put yourself to with the right people behind you.”