by KELLEY GUSICH | photos by Alicia Jeanne Photography

Love of the Area

faces_finkel3Leonard Finkel grew up in South Jersey outside of Philadelphia, but he moved to Vista almost 20 years ago because he wanted to get into the golf business. His family business is furs, and the Finkel family eventually became the official furrier of the Philadelphia 76ers hockey team and the Philadelphia 76ers basketball team. Leonard eventually struck out on his own with a number of businesses – including a small chain of retail fur stores, mostly in ski resorts. However, in his mid-30s, an emerging passion for golf presented him with the opportunity to become a golf/travel writer and consult for golf companies. “Being a writer was a ticket for me to travel the world and experience the best of what my passion had to offer,” Leonard shared.

Extensive business experience morphed Leonard’s equipment reviews or travel/destination reviews into requests for more advertorial writing – like an advertisement, but telling a company product or story in an editorial-like way. “Whether it was an equipment or travel story,” he affirmed, “I always tried to deliver information that would lead people to want to try a product or travel to that destination.” To utilize his expertise in helping the Vista community, Leonard and wife Lynell started attending Vista City Council and planning commission meetings.

Name: Leonard Finkel
Community: Stratford Place
Family: Wife – Lynell
Hobbies & Interests: Golf, mountain biking, no limit hold ‘em poker, travel, national parks
Favorite Places in Vista: My home, Buena Vista Park, Souplantation, the Vista Farmers Market
Interested in the SVC?: Get involved at or request a newsletter at


Their involvement expanded to the South Vista Communities organization. The SVC’s mission is to maintain and improve the quality of life for South Vista’s residents and businesses. Leonard serves as treasurer and board member, responsible for establishing policies and conducting/approving projects relating to quality of life issues in South Vista. As treasurer he’s responsible for day-to-day maintenance of SVC’s bank accounts and finances, as well as providing financial statements to the board and filing state and federal paperwork. He also tutored elementary students through the Vista Library system for four years, and was on the planning commission for the Boys & Girls Club golf outing for three.

Leonard’s main interests include golf, travel, mountain biking, no-limit hold ‘em poker, and spending time outdoors – especially in national parks. “Just before I moved to California 20 years ago,” he said, “I went to 19 different national parks that year.” He finds his newest love for mountain biking to be exhilarating. “I love the thrill, but I’m a bit more conservative going downhill after suffering a few falls.” He really wants Vista to keep its character. “This is such a wonderful place to live.”