The Village of Velvendo, Greece, holds special significance for Gus Andy. It is a place that makes him feel grounded. “New York scares me. The chorio gives me a sense of belonging,” says Andy. His admiration and nostalgic affection for his village, Velvendo are evident by his actions – even if he doesn’t say much about it.
Through the Velvendo Society, Andy’s philanthropic efforts have helped shape and preserve the Village of Velvendo. Educational scholarships, library projects, environmental programs, and his belief in AHI (American Hellenic Institute), are all part of a list of Andy’s effortless investment to perpetuate Velvendo and Hellenism.
He was born Costas Antoniades in 1938 in the Village of Velvendo, Greece. In 1951, at the age of 13, Andy and his family moved to Chicago, Illinois, and then Florida. As a boy, he spent much of his time at the New Jersey shore where many of his fellow countrymen (especially those from Velvendo), dwell and manage food businesses throughout the summer.
Today, he divides his time between Florida and Cape May, New Jersey, where he is the owner of the La Mer Beachfront Inn. He is a member of the St. Demetrios Greek Orthodox Church in Wildwood, New Jersey, where he has helped sustain the parish. He is also a proud member of the Velvendo Society, where he continues his philanthropic endeavors.
For Andy, he’s never really left his Hellenic roots or his people. Here in South Jersey, a little slice of Velvendo exists. It’s what gives him a sense of purpose and belonging. It allows him to live the simple life he’s felt connected to all along.