Sweetwater Named 2005 Indie Retailer of the Year

One of the music industry’s leading trade magazines has recognized Fort Wayne company Sweetwater as the 2005 Indie Retailer of the Year. Music Inc. magazine’s annual Retail Excellence Awards single out the best retailers in the nation for special honors, with Sweetwater making frequent appearances on the list and previously winning the Retailer of the Year Award in 1999.

As the article naming the award winners notes: “A perennial Retail Excellence Award winner, Sweetwater dominates an ever-increasing share of the pro audio and recording market through honorable treatment of both its customers and employees.”

Chuck Surack, founder and owner of Sweetwater says, “We’re so thrilled to receive this honor — we consider it true validation of the endless efforts we make to do business in the best way we can. When I founded Sweetwater 27 years ago, I never dreamed we’d be in this position, winning awards, and having articles written about our success. I’m truly honored and humbled by this recognition.”

Entitled “Amazement Specialists,” the article in the December 2005 issue of Music Inc. focuses on the Sweetwater Difference: complete dedication to incomparable customer service. The story cites examples such as the company’s full-time Client Amazement Specialist position, extensive database system, highly qualified and trained employees, and efforts to achieve customer satisfaction by whatever means are necessary. Sweetwater’s meteoric growth is also cited, with sales in 2005 up by 30% from the previous year, which was a banner year as well.

Surack says, “Our growth has simply been unprecedented, but that doesn’t mean we’ve forgotten who we owe our success to: our customers. Every second of every day, the satisfaction of our customers is first and foremost on the mind of each of our employees.” By 2009, Surack plans to add 120 new employees, and has begun planning a massive new facility to house the company. As he says in the Music Inc. article, “We need to move…we’re bursting at the seams!” Slated for completion in late 2006 or early 2007, the new building will house myriad amenities for customers and employees, including a health club, racquetball court, full-time chef/kitchen, 250-seat auditorium, and 4,000 square-foot hall for exhibitions, mini-trade shows, banquets, and other events.

In the article, Surack is quick to point out the contribution made by Sweetwater’s employees to the success of the company. “I’m working with 210 employees, and they’re some of the brightest and best. As long as I’ve been doing this, I’m still jazzed and stimulated every day because I’ve got a bunch of bright people around me. I can’t put a dollar figure on that — it’s just so invaluable.”

Surack continues, stating that, “The most flattering part of this award is that it’s based on nominations submitted by suppliers and others within the industry. It’s such an honor to be recognized by your peers and by those you do business with. I can’t thank everyone who nominated us enough.”