Five years ago, Martin Binder Jeweler took a chance. After more than 6 1/2 decades at the same location, they built a shiny new showroom along U.S. 30 in Valparaiso, with a grand opening in 2014. Not entirely to their surprise - but pleasantly exciting - it has turned out to be a perfect blend of tradition meets next generation.
“In short, five years ago, we designed a location for the next 75 years,” said Bob Flude, grandson of Martin Binder and president of Martin Binder Jeweler. “The growth at our new location has far exceeded our expectations. We've been able to properly introduce and showcase our own collections and the major brands we carry. We hear all the time from our customers how much they love our one-of-a-kind pieces,” Mr. Flude said.
From an interior perspective, the new showroom is larger and more accessible, with wider aisles, larger cases, and improved lighting. From an exterior perspective, Martin Binder listened to clients and provided a location that is easy to access off U.S. 30 (Morthland Drive) with ample parking.
With the opening came a tinge of uncertainty. Would loyal customers who have chosen Martin Binder Jeweler for 80-years respond well to a new location? New jewelry lines? A whole new experience?
“The last five years have proven to be far more successful than we could have imagined,” said Jeanette Binder, daughter of Martin Binder, mother of Mr. Flude, and custom jewelry designer. “Right from opening day, we were grateful to see the familiar faces of our long time clients and to simultaneously be introduced to so many new ones. Customer service did not skip a beat,” she said.
Much of that success has come from Martin Binder’s unwavering commitment to always being that hometown fine jewelry provider. Mr. Flude grew up behind the counter, and has come to know families four generations deep.
“I always enjoy hearing customer stories about Martin Binder Jeweler, but the ones that mean the most are when I learn that our family has made a difference,” Flude said. “When a customer tells me a story about working with my grandparents, Martin and Mary, or working with my Aunt Carol, Uncle Martin, my mom Jeanette… stories like, ‘Your Grandfather repaired my watch and let me pay $1 per week because I just started my new job,’ and ‘Your Uncle Martin once delivered a gift to our house on Christmas Eve,’ or ‘Jeanette designed this for me’ - examples such as these always make me feel proud,” Mr. Flude said.
“We’re blessed and extremely proud to be a part of our third generation, family-owned and operated business,” Binder added. “It’s something that is so seldom seen these days.”
Mr. Flude said he has a great amount of pride for his hometown, and what his family has been able to offer the community since 1950.
“From supporting Valparaiso University Basketball in the 1950s, supplying tiaras for the Home Coming and Fair Queens, supplying more accurate stopwatches to the Valparaiso Swim Team in the 1960s and 1970s - my grandmother Mary Binder was always community minded, and taught me the importance of giving back.”
When you have the fundamentals in place, success comes naturally.
“We keep up with the times and technology while holding true to the traditions my father and mother taught us,” Jeanette Binder said. ”We recognize the need to be progressive and forward thinking but realize that our unique advantage is our tradition of providing a great overall experience, developing a relationship with our clients and going to great lengths to provide them with exceptional products. Our clients recognize, admire, and respect that.”
This commitment involves securing the finest gems from all over the world. Mr. Flude travels wherever necessary in search of the highest quality stones and best value for clients.
“Whether I am in Bangkok, Mumbai, or Hong Kong, I want everyone to have a timeless piece of jewelry they can enjoy for a lifetime. When I am overseas I have an opportunity to choose from primary stone lots,” he said.
For example, when Binder professionals want to make a diamond tennis bracelet, Mr. Flude requests four times the stones needed, which allows him to hand-select stones so they match in size, color and clarity. He also has the ability to see colored stones before they hit the US market, which is when they can triple in price.
So what’s in store for the near future?
“Now with our $1,940 give back we will be giving almost $10,000 to local organizations. We are also hoping to start a college scholarship soon in the name of my grandparents Martin & Mary Binder,” Mr. Flude said.
In the meantime, check out Martin Binder’s upcoming events. Mother’s Day Savings begins online and in-store on April 27, and the Lagos Trunk Show runs from 11 a.m. - 6 p.m., May 9 in store. Martin Binder Jeweler is conveniently located at 650 W. Morthland Drive, Valparaiso. Call 219-462-5931 or toll free 800-337-5184, or visit them online at Check out their website for details: https://martinbinder.com/.