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La Vita Zen, a Mediterranean lifestyle business, opens on Longboat Key

Jenni Kopelman, who has traveled extensively in Italy, will use the Italian lifestyle as a starting point.

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  • | 1:00 p.m. January 24, 2022
Jimmy Bonner and Kelli Spring hold the ribbon for Jenni Kopelman
Jimmy Bonner and Kelli Spring hold the ribbon for Jenni Kopelman
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A morsel of the Mediterranean has arrived on Longboat Key with the opening of La Vita Zen, a lifestyle coaching business by recent Longboater Jenni Kopelman. 

Her business will operate out of an office above the Lazy Lobster in the Centre Shops, a space she has transformed into a warm and welcoming area with blues, whites and vibrant Mediterranean yellows. It’s big enough to host one-on-one fitness sessions or small gatherings when she hosts clients. Kopelman became a member of the Longboat Key Chamber of Commerce and held a ribbon cutting ceremony at the office on Jan. 11 with ambassadors there to hold the ribbon while she hoisted the oversized scissors. They celebrated with prosecco and Italian pastries. 

“I’m trying to bring the Zen magic of Italy,” Kopelman said. “This is where the Italian magic happens.” 

Kopelman, a woman with Italian family who has traveled extensively in the country and hopes to live there part-time soon, is a certified fitness trainer, lifestyle coach and chef. Those will be the building blocks of her business and her programs will serve to support her life coaching business. Habit-changing is a big part of her coaching philosophy, from small changes to big ones over time. 

“Self-care, I’ve found, is not always prioritized, so the goal is to help people become their best version and put self-care and wellness at the cornerstone of that,” Kopelman said. “People on Longboat have done so many things in their lives but now is the time to play and maintain longevity.” 

The space is decked out in calming blue and white with pops of yellow.
The space is decked out in calming blue and white with pops of yellow.

After moving to Longboat Key, she saw a need for a gathering space, so she decided to open a physical business with her life coaching. Using the resources and other businesses on Longboat Key is important to her as she builds community. 

“I thought, ‘What can I do during the pandemic to elevate people’s joy?’” Kopelman said. “I wanted to create a place where people could drop in and feel connected … There’s a social aspect to finding your creative self.” 

One of her ideas is a monthly women’s workshop where they’ll focus on a different topic, like cooking around Italy, astrology or other spiritual themes. In the future, Kopelman will be hosting trips with clients, all specifically timed to center around events in Italy like the wine crush or gondola race. Here at home, she already has two weekly events — Mediterranean Mondays and Tuesday Italian classes — that she hosts offsite. The former is at Harry’s Continental Kitchens and the latter is held at La Norma, where students dine with their Italian teacher after class. Many things, like the beach yoga and Italian-inspired cocktails of Mediterranean Mondays, will be outside, to get students in touch with the natural beauty of Longboat Key. 

“It brings our world a little closer,” Kopelman said. “And we can bring our island a little closer, too.” 


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