For prominent Indianapolis jeweler Marc Aronstam, the new year is starting out on a much brighter note than the way 2014 ended.
A creditor of Aronstam Fine Jewelers liquidated shop inventory valued at $4 million at a Dec. 19 auction, after the store fell behind on loan payments.
But the store remains open and is no danger of closing, Aronstam says, thanks to a host of outside investors who stepped up to help him restock his inventory. He declined to reveal the identities of his investors or how much they contributed.
“There are a lot of people who think I’m gone, but I’m still here,” he said Friday. “With gracious support from the people in the community, we’re definitely alive and going forward.”
Aronstam has been designing and selling jewelry in the local retail community for 40 years. His store at 8685 River Crossing Blvd. sits across from Saks Fifth Avenue at The Fashion Mall at Keystone, in a prime spot along the bustling East 86th Street corridor.
He originally opened his local store in 1985 at East 86th Street and Westfield Boulevard in Nora. He opened a second store, called M. Stevens Jewelers, in 1995 at the River Crossing location—renamed Aronstam Fine Jewelers in 2005 after the Nora location closed.
The December auction, held at Key Auctioneers’ headquarters at 5520 S. Harding St., attracted 553 bidders from 12 states with the help of online bidding. According to Key, some of the more expensive items sold at the auction included a laser-weld workstation that brought $12,000, a platinum diamond bracelet that fetched $10,000, and Breitling watches that sold for $9,000 each.
Key was not authorized to release total auction proceeds raised for client and Aronstam creditor Regions Bank. Aronstam said Monday he believed his debt to the bank was "98-percent settled." A Regions representative declined to comment, citing customer privacy concerns.
Aronstam is bullish on the shop's future. He said the improving economy helped lift last year’s sales past 2013’s numbers, positioning him well for the start of 2015.
Before arriving in Indianapolis, Aronstam helped start Argentum Silversmiths in downtown Bloomington at the age of 19, according to his online bio. The store, renamed Argentum Jewelry, is still in business.
His store on River Crossing once was named the "Top Designer Retailer" in the country by the Contemporary Design Guild.