Click for Ann Arbor, Michigan Forecast
Wednesday October 22, 2014
Follow us: facebook twitter RSS feed
Print Comment E-mail

Put on a Happy Face

 

continued

Zahra has known Messmore since he was a high school kid waiting tables at a Dexter restaurant. And Messmore, in turn, knows Boston brothers Bert and John Jacobs, who created the Life Is Good line of feel-good message T-shirts. He says the Jacobs brothers wanted him to come to Boston and work for corporate, but "I told them I was living the dream, teaching Spanish at Saline High School," which has been his day job since he graduated from U-M five years ago. Buying the store (which isn't a franchise per se, just an agreement to sell LIG products) was his solution.

Messmore is a man of almost preternatural energy and goodwill: with his wiry frame, closely shorn hair, and wide grin, he looks like that smiley stick figure that appears on a lot of LIG clothing. And his sunny optimism is just the icing on a keen business acumen. While still in college, he bought his Main Street condo above Starbucks. He can't quite remember if it was bought solely on the proceeds of working "about a hundred hours a week" waiting tables at the Red Hawk, or if by then he had also gotten into day trading, where he also made a small pile. Along the way, he started a computer service business that he runs out of another Main Street address.

The LIG store is just a sideline, largely staffed by his past and present students. Messmore proudly pays the $10.10 an hour that he hopes will become the national minimum wage, and some percentage of store profits are kicked back to a Life Is Good foundation.

Bookmark and Share
previous  ·  1 l 2 l 3  ·  next page
all on one page
read more stories here -> Marketplace  l  Culture  l  Community  l  News
Ms Green Construction, We are energy saving specialists that make existing homes energy efficient
Top of the Lamp, Ann Arbor's locally owned lighting specialty store.
custom sound systems for your home
A Visitors Guide to Ann Arbor