S.J.M(ichael) Bachelor #2
Successful Jewish Male revels in
challenges of business and romance.
RUTH LITTMANN STAFF WRITER
Billboard man #2.
hink way back. Remember
"Meow Mix" commercials?
Remember the little guy
who sang: "He likes tuna,
liver, chicken ... ?"
Now fast-forward a bit. Did you
catch those billboard guys last
month on the Lodge Freeway?
The ones who plastered their faces
on the street sign in an oh-so-un-
derstated quest for dates? And do
you remember that dark-haired,
dark-skinned Bachelor #2?
Michael Jeffrey's his name.
Mike and the cat-food kid?
They're one and the same.
Mr. Jeffreys (born Michael Jef-
frey Weisbart) is a 31-year-old na-
tive New Yorker, the middle of
three boys and the son of a moth-
er who taught voice lessons.
Seized by the show-biz bug,
The Jewish Community
Center finds itself in a
situation of declining
membership and, as a
result, had to make
cuts to prevent facing
In the Center's attempt
to correct this situa-
tion, they are trying to
attract younger mem-
Do you belong to the
JCC? Why/why not?
What would it take to
get you to join?
Michael began doing commercials
as a tot. He made enough money
to put himself through private
school and college. Sounds im-
pressive, eh? It was. But Mr. Jef-
freys admits to difficulties.
`The truth is, I was a screw-up
kid. My grades were really, real-
ly bad," he says. "It was New York
City that was screwing me up. I
knew I had to get away."
During his second semester at
an upstate college, Mr. Jeffreys
earned all As. The University of
Michigan accepted him and he
moved to Ann Arbor as a sopho-
more in 1983.
At U-M, this paradigm of un-
tapped potential remained no an-
gel of academia. He did as little as
possible to graduate with an eco-
nomics degree, which, he says, be-
stowed him with blurry memories
of supply and demand.
"Going to class was not my
forte," he says.
Mr. Jeffreys, however, was far
from idle. During his third se-
mester at U-M, the 20-year-old
pitched a marketing idea to the
manager of "Nectarine," an Ann
Arbor neon-lit dance club. Im-
pressed, the manager hired him
as director of promotions. Mr. Jef-
freys came up with all sorts of
ideas to lure students during
study breaks: black-and-white ap-
parel nights, Greek nights and
The fashion shows, he says,
drew high-profile merchants and
aspiring models from U-M's stu-
`They were the best of the best,"
In 1985, Mr. Jeffreys produced
a U-M student calendar featuring
pictures of campus beauties and
beefcakes. The calendars also
made a profit. But, perhaps for the
first time in his life, Mr. Jeffreys
was more awestruck by the edu-
cational side of it all. He says those
college extra-curriculars gave him
the experience to do what he's do-
ing now: operating a more than $1
million business with 30 employ-
But success, as they say, didn't
come overnight. For Mr. Jeffreys,
it came after a summer of waiting
tables and tanning in Atlantic
City, N.J. It came after he watched
the East Coast grow cold, his pock-
etbook empty. It came after a trek
back to Ann Arbor. Along the way,
he lived on meals of canned stew
at Amoco stations.
Perhaps what helped him sur-
vive the canned stew was a vision.
In 1986, Mr. Jeffreys organized
some private investors to start his
own talent and modeling agency.
Before selling the businesses in
1990, he had booked local talent
with companies like General Mo-
tors, Domino's Pizza and New
York Carpet World.
In 1987, Mr. Jeffreys embarked
upon another project that started
with kittens. He wanted one.
Browsing through the newspaper,
he spotted an ad which led him to
the home of a young family with
felines — and something else.
Mr. Jeffreys borrowed a few of
the cassettes, listened to them and
became enthralled. They covered
topics like: how to set goals, how
to budget your time and build self-
esteem. Others touched on nutri-
tion and good health.
"Self-improvement in every
area," Mr. Jeffreys says. "I was a
human sponge. I was never
taught this stuff at college. It
changed my life completely."
Mr. Jeffreys says the cassettes
helped him become a more upbeat
and confident individual. He de-
cided to form a club for the like-
minded. Drawing from past
business experience, he booked 10
motivational speakers for live
seminars which each drew more
than 150 people. Since that time,
the forums have expanded to in-
clude three cities: Southfield,
Mich.; Cleveland, Ohio; Pitts-
They are sponsored under the
name of Yes! A Positive Network,
Mr. Jeffreys' business.
Yes! A Positive Network, is
based in Auburn Hills near the
Palace. Locally, "Yes!" motiva-
tional seminars take place at the
Plaza Hotel in Southfield. Once a
month, 10 times a year, a featured
speaker discusses issues like
"High Performance Selling," or
Mr. Jeffreys' company sells
these seminars to individuals and
businesses for $75 per person per
seminar. Yearly rates are $395.
The idea, he says, is to attract
people with affordable prices so
they'll recharge their mental bat-
teries on a regular basis.
The "Yes!" seminars teach
BACHELOR #2 page 84
Al Sasson, 29, Troy
"No. I'm into basketball and there is not
enough adult basketball on a regular basis.
I joined Franklin where they have better
basketball facilities. I belonged to the JCC
and I loved it.
If the JCC
had time set
adults on a
"No. There is
not enough open basketball time
and the gym needs updating. If
there was more open basketball
and the floor and rims' were re-
done, I'd consider it. The Center is
affordable but it's not the quality I
Jennifer Weiss, 24, West
"No. I used to belong to the
JCC but I got a better deal at
Vic Tanny, where I'll proba-
bly be a member for life."