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Meet Mike LeVasseur of Xxela Marketing Services in Woodstock

Today we’d like to introduce you to Mike LeVasseur.

Mike, please share your story with us. How did you get to where you are today?
From 1983 to 1999, I was the VP of Sales & Marketing for a specialty ad agency called Telephone Directory Advertising in North Atlanta. I was the rainmaker and my job was to acquire new clients. Since this is considered the hardest job in an ad agency, when the company was acquired and my position was phased out, I figured I might as well keep the clients I acquire and start servicing them as well!

I founded Xxela Marketing Services in 2000 with one client, First Union Bank; we handled their White and Yellow Page listings and ads in over 300 directories covering the East Coast. We became certified by the Local Search Association and added clients like Rhodes Furniture, Ducati, American Home Patient, MICROS Systems, Papa Murphy Pizza, Triumph Motorcycles, the Farm Credit System and BioGuard Swimming Pool Products.

Although our main purpose was to handle print directory advertising for national clients, we quickly added Internet marketing and online listing management to our list of services; our goal is to act as an extension of our clients’ marketing/communications departments.

In addition to being a marketing maven, I am also a professional pianist and have a degree in music from City College of New York. I have performed at well-known venues in New York (the Copacabana, Dangerfield’s, Playboy Club), Atlanta, traveled abroad and also performed at the White House for the Pageant of Peace in 1976.

I have a beautiful daughter from a previous marriage but right now, my most important job in life started in 2011 when my wife and I took custody of her son’s child. My stepson and his wife were both Marines stationed in Okinawa but they were negligent in raising their son and we adopted Everett in 2013. He is now 7 years old and keeps us on our toes. He has asthma and an auto-immune disease called eosinophilic esophagitis that we manage by controlling his food intake; he is allergic to dairy, wheat, eggs, nuts, soy, fish and basically can only eat fruits, vegetables and some meats. To ensure he gets proper nutrition, he has a Gtube in his stomach and tube-feeds overnight with an elemental formula. He is the focus of our lives!

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
When you run a business, you have to roll with the punches! We have had clients file for bankruptcy and lost our first client, First Union/Wachovia after Bank of America acquired them. You always have to have new clients coming in to replace those that leave for reasons beyond your control.

Often times life interferes with running a business; I am an only child and after my step-father passed away in 2007, we moved my Mom from New York to Woodstock but then she developed Alzheimer’s and also had complications from a fall. We moved her in with us and as her caretaker, I had no choice but to rely on my staff and let the business run on auto-pilot for two years. Six months after her death in 2011, we got the call that the Marines were sending my stepson and his child to San Diego for evaluation by Child Protective Services and DFACS. When we first took custody of Everett, our lives were turned upside down but we adapted quickly and celebrate Adoption Day every October 28.

Please tell us about Xxela Marketing Services.
Our company provides cost-effective ways for potential customers to contact our clients.

As an agency, we provide a turnkey service with regard to placing our clients on search engines, Internet Yellow Pages (DexMedia and, mobile media and old-fashioned print directories, which are still widely used by an older demographic and especially in rural areas where broadband and cell service is limited. Our clients trust us to give them the best possible exposure at the lowest cost and we are perceived as being an extension of their internal marketing/communications departments. Our clients frequently invite us to attend their annual dealer conventions and spread the word about our services!

Do you look back particularly fondly on any memories from childhood?
Growing up in New York City was a wonderful experience. I was raised by my Mother and Grandmother and we lived on the 5th floor in a walkup apartment building.

Needless to say, I got a lot of exercise going up and down five flights of stairs to take out the garbage, walk the dog and running errands for elderly shut-ins that lived in our building.

My Grandmother used to tell me that we lived on the top floor so that her plants can get more sunlight but somehow, I knew that it was because the rent was lower on the top floor.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Mike LeVasseur

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