Pace Fit reopens for the first time since last March.

Emily Teixeira

On Monday, February 8, Pace Fit will reopen. They will be open from 10 a.m. to 3 pm. Monday through Thursday and closed Friday through Sunday.

In order to limit risks of spreading COVID-19, there will be Plexiglass barriers in place between employees and customers, one-person shifts to promote social distancing between employees, online order and delivery options, and mask and glove mandates for all employees.

Kearra Antoian, a junior marketing major who serves as Pace Fit’s Marketing Manager, says that she is excited for Pace Fit to reopen for the first time since it closed alongside the rest of the university last March.

“We took time over the summer and early in the semester planning to reopen, but we were never sure of what was happening because of the current situation,” Antoian says. “Of course, there will be some hurdles and situations that we will have to overcome in order to remain open and ensure everyone is safe and healthy, but with the right staff and planning, I have hope that we will have a successful spring semester.”

Senior Business Information Systems major Haley Sellar, Pace Fit’s Assistant Purchasing Manager, is also excited to reopen.

“When we couldn’t reopen last semester, I was a little sad,” Sellar says, “I liked working, it was something to do instead of just sitting in my room. I like talking to people, and it’s in the gym, so it’s a fun crowd there. There were sports teams that would come by, and other regulars. I got to know some of the customers… I’m happy to reopen. Hopefully people still come by.”

Both Sellar and Antoian enjoy taking part in one of Pace’s student run businesses. They are grateful for the opportunity to make connections with people in their fields and get hands-on, real world learning experiences.

While other student-run businesses, such as Pace Perk, were allowed to open last semester (with safety precautions in place), Pace Fit operates under the same regulations as the gym, which did not get the green light to reopen until now.

The revival of Pace Fit will not come without its challenges. Reduced hours and one-person-per-shift regulations mean that it will be harder to find times for all of their behind the counter employees to work.

Sellar expressed concerns about getting customers to return, saying that they might not know that Pace Fit has reopened, or they might not feel as comfortable coming down as they normally would. However, she wants to reassure customers that Pace Fit is doing everything in its power to reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19 during its operations.

Sellar mentioned that Pace Fit might introduce rewards punch card and other promotional activities to get people excited to come back. Antoian said that they are introducing the Smoothie and Snack Bundle, where students can buy a large smoothie and their choice of Hippeas or Veggie Straws for $8. Pace fit will also partner with Pace Delivers for students living in Alumni and Elm.

“Pace Fit has had to overcome challenges brought on by the pandemic, and while it’s been some time since we have open for our customers, we are so excited to finally be opening on Monday,” Antoian says. “We missed our customers dearly and can’t wait to see them again! We are excited to offer Pace Fit to the first-year students this semester, too!”