Sweetwater Moves To New $30 Million Campus

Sweetwater, the fifth-largest music instrument and pro audio retailer in the world, according to Music Trades magazine, and one of the fastest growing companies in northern Indiana, moved into the first completed phase of its new $30 million campus at 5501 US 30 West on Friday, November 3. The move included all sales and administrative staff. The company was open for business Monday morning, November 6.

“When I started Sweetwater as a mobile studio in the back of a VW microbus back in the ’80s, little did I know that one day such a result was possible,” notes Sweetwater founder and president Chuck Surack. “It’s truly a dream come true, to be able to make such an investment in the future of this company and its loyal employees, not to mention Fort Wayne.”

The Sweetwater retail store moved the following weekend, at conclusion of business on Saturday, November 11, and reopened at the new location on Monday, November 13 at 9:00 AM. Sweetwater’s entire inventory was moved into Sweetwater’s huge new state-of-the-art warehouse on October 21 and 22. Shipping and receiving resumed the next day.

Sweetwater Productions, the company’s recording studio division, will remain at 5335 Bass Road until construction of new world class, state-of-the-art studios is completed next summer.

Eventually, the Sweetwater campus will include a 225-seat media-rich auditorium, a glass atrium mall, employee and customer restaurant, health club, plus other amenities including “concierge” service and professional services offices.

Planning ahead for this expansion of facilities, Sweetwater has created 41 new jobs to date in 2006, with a total workforce of 248 employees, up from 207 since January. The majority of the new jobs drew employees to Fort Wayne from outside Indiana. “Sweetwater employee growth was up 17% for the year as of early November,” according to Jeff McDonald, Senior Director of Human Resources. The company’s long-term projection is to nearly double its workforce to 400 by 2010.

“We’re well on our way to that goal,” said Surack. “At a time when many companies are downsizing or at best remaining stagnant in terms of their workforce, the fact that we have continued to add jobs at a terrific rate indicates just how strong our growth remains and how optimistic we are about our future. Now that the first phase of our new facility has reached completion, we’ll continue growing our staff in order to provide our customers with even better service.”

The new Sweetwater campus will be one of the first LEED-certified facilities in the region. Developed by the U.S. Green Building Council, the LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) program promotes facility design that practices environmental awareness and conservation, while simultaneously achieving economical performance. The certification process rates the site, water efficiency, energy and atmosphere treatment, materials and resources used, the indoor environment, and the overall innovation in the design.

“We’ve always been concerned with the environment, and have long practiced recycling and other conservation methods here at Sweetwater,” says Surack. “But the LEED certification of our new facility as a ‘green’ building will demonstrate our commitment to protecting the environment and enhancing our company’s relationship with its natural surroundings. It’s a huge benefit in so many ways, both for us and for Fort Wayne.”

About Sweetwater Sound

Sweetwater began business 27 years ago in Fort Wayne, Indiana, and is the nation’s most respected dealer in high-technology equipment for musicians, recording studios, and broadcasters — from microphones and digital recording systems to electric guitars to electronic keyboards and electronic drums. Sweetwater customers range from beginners to rock stars. The company’s equipment can be found in Los Angeles, New York, and Nashville recording studios, TV and radio stations all across the country, as well as in tens of thousands of home recording studios nationwide. Sweetwater is built on a commitment to the highest level of customer service in the music technology industry. For further information visit www.sweetwater.com.