2 years ago by Bob Gough
Jay Lowenthal and a childhood friend have a new venture in Nashville
Contrary to conventional wisdom in Quincy, there is life after basketball.
Jay Lowenthal lived the vagabond life of a college basketball coach, stopping in Quincy and Bloomington, Illinois and Beaumont, Texas among other places. He coached at then-Quincy College from 1986-1989, posting a 43-45 mark before heading to Illinois State to become an assistant coach at a Division One program. This was all part of the plan to eventually run his own major college program.
“Basketball was very good to me and my three years in Quincy were awesome,” he said.
But after his departure from Lamar University in Beaumont, Texas in 1995, Lowenthal began to re-evaluate his life. His wife’s family had roots in Nashville, Tennessee, so they moved there from Texas.
“I asked my wife ‘So tell me why I wouldn’t want to be a realtor?” Lowenthal said. “She said ‘I don’t know. I think you’d be really good at it. I’m kind of surprised you hadn’t asked before.’ I talked with the owner of the company my wife worked for and met with a couple of realtors in Nashville…and here I am still in it 17 years later.”
So Lowenthal went into the real estate business in Nashville, but recently he began a new business opportunity with one of his childhood friends from Pontiac, Illinois who moved to a suburb of Nashville in the mid-1990’s.
“Every year we would gather around the holidays and he made peanut brittle,” Lowenthal said. “We would say ‘Wow, this is good. We need to open a company because this could be really good.’ So we finally did. It’s really taken off the last six or seven months.”
Brittle Brothers makes peanut, cashew and pecan brittle. The company started making the brittle in a Nashville church kitchen, but the need to mass produce on a larger scale is forcing to look for a larger space to make the brittle.
Currently, Brittle Brothers is available in Nashville and Memphis. Lowenthal said he is in discussions with a company in Chicago to market the brittle there and also with Niemann Foods to put the product in its County Market stores throughout Missouri, Illinois and Iowa. Along with the Quincy connection, Lowenthal said there is a County Market in his hometown of Pontiac as well.
The product is also available online at www.brittlebrothers.com.
Lowenthal says he finds business success as rewarding as coaching success, but in a different way.
“They’re two different feelings, but they are both great feelings,” Lowenthal said. “You get instant gratification after a win, but I think you get to see the residual effects…and more long-term success…in the real estate and business world.”