Brandt's Jewelry – over 100 years experience in the family
By Howell Dennis
CROWLEY – To say that the jewelry business comes naturally to the Antis family is a vast understatement.
“I got started under my father, David, who opened up in this same location in 1954,” said Jay Antis, president of Brandts Jewelry. “My grandfather, Isadore, opened I. Antis Jeweler on Canal St. in New Orleans back in 1903.”
It seems the Antis family has been setting their mark in the jewelry business ever since.
Brandt’s Jewelry (named after Jake Brandt, the former owner of the building) has been serving Crowley from their downtown location for over fifty years. Antis is very proud of the fact that the business has never switched owners or locations.
“I spoke with a colleague a while back and he mentioned just how rare that is these days,” he said. “After I thought about is I realized that he was right.”
Brandt’s Jewelry prides itself in selling diamonds and fine jewelry at discount prices. They have one of the best jewelry designers in the area in Harold Letz who has been working with them for 28 years.
“We like to call him our master craftsman,” said Antis. “He is extremely talented and artistic. He can fix or design just about anything.”
Letz’s talent is one of the reason’s Brandt’s is known for their “one day service”.
“If someone drops an item off for repair we can usually have it ready within a day,” said Antis.
One get’s a real treat when they speak with Jay’s father.
David Antis, 91, is a World War II veteran having served as a medic.
His service took him to Normandy, Germany and Marseille, France. After serving our country, he didn’t return home directly like most of the other servicemen.
“I decided to go to Rome and meet the pope,” he said. “The pope at that time was Pius XII. That was really something.”
If one is looking for a reminder of just how much times have changed look no further than the elder Antis.
“Before I started with my own business I worked for a watch company in New York,” he said. “I was making five dollars a week. Eventually I got a raise up to ten dollars so I bought a car.”
His travels eventually brought him to Crowley in 1951. David Antis worked for a jeweler in town for some time when he decided to go off on his own. His boss at the time couldn’t pay him money so he gave him some jewelry instead. That’s when he got some advice from a well known citizen of Crowley.
“Edwin Edwards told me that instead of suing, I should keep the jewelry and start my own business,” he said. “I started right here with just one counter and it eventually grew to all of this.”
One person both Jay and David wanted to be sure to mention was their beloved wife/mother, Gerry.
“Mom worked here for forty years and was very well known in Crowley,” said Jay.
Brandt’s jewelry is located at 502 North Parkerson St in Crowley. They can be reached at (337) 269-1441.