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Working out has always been a big part of Bob Maas and Mark Bertram’s lifestyle. And the brothers are ready to share their passion for fitness with others. They’ve purchased Monticello Fitness Factory on 36 Forestburgh Road from another pair of brothers –– Mike and Vince Dollard. The Fitness Factory has been a staple of the community for 30 years.

And as reflected in the gym’s new name, Next Level Fitness, Maas and Bertram have plans to build upon the foundation set by Mike and Vince and take it to the ‘Next Level.’

Maas and Bertram learned hard work at an early age from their parents. Maas worked with their father for 30 years at the family cabinet shop, and works as a part-time constable in the Towns of Highland and Lumberland. Bertram runs a hard flooring company in Shohola, Pa. They had been looking to open a gym in the Port Jervis area, but shortly after deciding it wasn’t the right opportunity, they had heard from a mutual friend that Mike and Vince might consider an offer for their business.

Six months ago they reached out, had a number of negotiations, and the rest is history.

Vince said, “After all these years we would not sell the gym to just anybody. Bob and Mark have a lot of great ideas and we felt they were the right people to carry it (the gym) on.”

Mike added that, “We’re confident they will take the gym where it is now, and make it even better.”

In addition to owning the gym, Mike and Vince are both retired educators. Vince taught science at Monticello High School, while Mike had a 37-year career at Sullivan BOCES. He had a number of positions there over the years including Assistant Superintendent for Instruction.

In 1989 Mike and his wife Adrianne purchased a gym on Landfield Avenue in Monticello and named it Dollard’s Fitness Center. Four years later, they decided to expand and bought out their competition who was operating in their current location. Mike partnered with Vince to buy the gym which would become Monticello Fitness Factory.

Mike and Vince pride themselves on their philosophy of always looking for ways to improve what they offered their members. Mike said, “We also strived to create an atmosphere where everyone feels comfortable no matter what their age or fitness level.”

To run a business for 30 years is no easy feat, but one Mike and Vince are extremely proud of.

But they know they didn’t do it alone. “One of the keys to our success has been the many talented and dedicated staff members who we have had the pleasure of working with over the years,” Mike and Vince said. “We are also grateful to all of our wonderful members for their support and loyalty. Some of our members have been with us for the entire 30 years.”

The Fitness Factory fostered a family atmosphere, one Bertram witnessed firsthand as a young adult working out at Dollard’s Fitness Center.

“We respect what the Dollards have done and we want to maintain the family atmosphere,” Bertram said.

The baton was officially passed on December 1 when Maas and Bertram took over ownership. After throwing around a bunch of ideas, they decided on the name Next Level Fitness. The first notable change as Next Level Fitness is that during the week (M-F) they now open an hour earlier (5 a.m.). They’re also in the process of upgrading some equipment.

While Next Level Fitness will continue to be utilized by the Sullivan County community, Maas and Bertram hope the word spreads even further.

“We want to be a place where [county] visitors can stop in, pick up a shirt and say they worked out at Next Level Fitness,” Maas explained.

Brothers Mike and Vince wish brothers Bob and Mark the best of luck and are sure they are going to be a big success.

Story and photos by Joseph Abraham