A Healthy Diet and Exercise: Entrepreneur Mickey Jacobs Offers Both at Southern Bodies
As the owner of ICS Services, Mickey Jacobs had a solid business that was paying the bills and then some, providing electrical services all around the country. While the expansive market area contributed to Jacobs’ business success, it also caused him to pause the hustle and think about what was really important. Jacobs was approaching 50 years of age and wasn’t sure he wanted to continue spending 12 hours a day, seven days a week working — not to mention the extensive travel that went along with it. “I had a great business that was doing really well. I was making good money. But it hit me one day that there’s more to life than just money,” he said.
He began to think about doing something connected to another area of his life he really loved: working out. At the time, Jacobs was a long-time member of Southern Bodies, a workout facility in Tifton, Georgia. “I’d been a member for 20 years,” he pointed out. He confessed that he’d been interested in owning a gym for quite a while, and, one day, upon walking into Southern Bodies for his daily workout, he decided to see if the previous owners, Steve and Teresa Landers, had any interest in selling their facility. As luck would have it, they did.
“I simply told them that if they ever had any interest in selling the place, I would be interested. To my surprise, they said ‘let’s go,’ and just like that, I was a gym owner,” Jacobs said.
The transaction became official on December 20, 2019, when Jacobs became the proud new proprietor of Southern Bodies. Now the owner of two businesses, he certainly had enough to keep him busy. But his entrepreneurial spirit was still burning strong. He had owned a restaurant back in the 1990s, and a suggestion from a business associate made Jacobs think about merging his former restaurant experience with his new business.
“June Adams mentioned we should put a restaurant inside the gym. I got to thinking about how hard it was to eat healthy on the run,” he explained. “I knew that we had several members battling weight problems, but because of their busy schedules, they were having to eat when and what they could — and that meant going through drive-thrus. But those weight and health issues were why they were coming to the gym in the first place. I thought about June’s suggestion and decided to put a restaurant inside the gym.”
That, said Jacobs, would allow members to choose healthy foods while they were working out and hopefully keep them from having to choose fast food. As an added bonus, the fulfilling experience of owning a restaurant almost 30 years earlier would mean working knowledge for his new project.
“I enjoyed both sides: owning the gym and running a restaurant,” he commented.
So what does the restaurant’s menu offer members? “We serve healthy meals,” Jacobs noted. “But we want to serve tasty foods at the same time. I didn’t want to serve food that was healthy but didn’t taste good. I didn’t want our members having to force it down just to eat healthy.”
Jacobs once again consulted with Adams to create a delicious menu, pointing out that she had years of experience in the food business. They soon came up with a generous menu that includes plenty of classics: veggie omelets for breakfast and lean meat dishes, such as a lean hamburger steak with light gravy, for lunch. There are a few surprises as well.
“We also have taco salad, Korean BBQ, stuff like that,” he said. “The menu changes every week. We wanted to make it as much of a real restaurant as possible. We offer items that you can order ahead of time or on the spot, and we even deliver.”
According to Jacobs, he plans to offer prepared, packaged meals for members, perfect for taking home and reheating during busy weeks for tasty yet healthy options. The new to-go meals should be ready very soon. Jacobs is excited and said he couldn’t be more pleased with his new venture.
“This is a match made in heaven. I have found my happy place,” he beamed.
Written by: Phil Jones
Photography submitted by: Mickey Jacobs