VALPARAISO | A Northwest Indiana jewelry store that recently expanded to a much larger location has been named the top family-owned business in the state.
The U.S. Small Business Administration announced its 2014 Indiana Small Business Week awards, and the Valparaiso-based Martin Binder Jeweler took home a top honor: family-owned small business of the year.
"We are humbled and honored to receive this award, and thank the SBA," said president Robert Flude III. "But we haven't done this alone. Thanks to our terrific area, Valparaiso and Northwest Indiana, we are fortunate to have third and fourth generation residents who are our customers and friends, along with a smart, dedicated staff. There are many people, and outside professionals including Rene Martin at Merchants Bank that have helped us achieve this award. They've all contributed to helping us grow."
Martin Binder was recognized for its hard work, innovative ideas and dedication to the community, said Sharon Harvey, public affairs director for the Small Business Administration's Indiana District. She said the company is a success that is helping along the nation's economic recovery.
In March, Martin Binder opened a new jewelry store on U.S. 30 in Valparaiso, taking over a 9,000-square-foot office building with 75 parking spaces. The new store is three times as large as the 3,000-square-foot storefront the jewelry used to occupy downtown, before it outgrew the space.
"We miss being in downtown Valpo, but with the rate we were growing, we knew that we needed more space to better serve our clients and support our brand partners,” Flude said. “It’s been an amazing journey for our family."
In 1940, the business was founded by Martin and Mary Binder as a small watchmaking shop. Fine jewelry was later added, and the store expanded to take over a city block downtown. Flude, the grandson of the founders, took over as president a few years ago, and his mother, Jeanette Binder, serves in the family business as the jewelry designer.
Last year, Martin Binder was named Family-Owned Business of the Year by the Northwest Indiana Small Business Development Center.