Most times I know exactly what I will write about in this blog with very few surprises. Someone sends me an interesting press release, or my editor has a good lead. I know what I’m going to find, because I’m given most of the facts beforehand.
However, sometimes I choose a story serendipitously and I almost always chance upon interesting things. For example, while interviewing a small family hardware store, Mike’s Hardware, I found out that the business was once chosen to do a pilot for a national reality TV show or while interviewing a beloved Metairie dentist, Brian LeBon, I found out he had been the New Orleans Saints’ dentist for decades. It always makes me smile to discover these nuggets of unexpected writer’s gold.
This past Saturday, I randomly stopped at a Gentilly yard sale. One thing led to another and I found out the proprietor of the yard sale, Itay Edry works at his family business, David’s Antiques, Jewelry, Collectables Old & New. In April 2013, this small French Quarter business was the first retailer in the city to use Bitcoin. Itay’s mother, Etty Edry, did the initial research on this virtual currency.
A cryptocurrency, Bitcoin is the world’s first free market, decentralized global currency. Unlike other assets, it is not regulated by banks and governments.
“We are the cutting-edge technology antique store,” Itay says with a smile.
Of course, this almost 70-year-old business accepts all kinds of payment. The store’s staff includes Itay, Etty, his sister Sharona, and four other employees. The 800-square-foot store has been on Royal Street for six years and Itay says he loves the location.
“It is the center of the city,” he says. “We get a great deal of tourist trade because we are in the Quarter. Much of it is repeat business — people who love the city and who visit it often. And when they come back to New Orleans, they also come to see us.”
According to the store’s website, stock includes “the rare, the trendy, the precious, the fun and everything in between. We don’t have only one buyer — we are all buyers; making our shop as diverse as we are.”
Almost 90 percent of this business is jewelry but there are also items like Chinese Lac Burgaute snuff bottles and antique wicker bird cages.
Itay once made his living as a locksmith but says he found it too stressful and decided to join the family business. After taking some intensive training, he now embraces his new work with joy. He says he especially likes working with gemstones and doing repairs and alterations.
“I appreciate how customers trust me with their family heirlooms,” he says.
Itay recently worked on an antique Victorian bracelet, slowly shortening it link by link.
“It took a while to get it right, but when I did, the customer was so happy she brought me a tray full of homemade pralines.”
This kind of interaction with his clients is what Itay says he loves the most about the business.
“It’s a friendly place to be,” he says.
David’s Antiques, Jewelry, Collectables Old & New
322 Royal St.