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Sweetwater tunes in for growth

September 4th, 2015

News Coverage:

September 04, 2015 1:03 AM

Sweetwater tunes in for growth
$8.8 million investment to add 285 jobs over 3 year

Sherry Slater | The Journal Gazette

Sweetwater Sound Inc. is amplifying its campus and workforce.

The local music instrument and audio equipment retailer will invest $8.8 million to expand its headquarters and create 285 full-time jobs over the next three years, state officials announced Thursday.

Construction is scheduled to begin this fall on a 16,000-square-foot building for the marketing and merchandising departments, the company said in a release.

Plans also call for a state-of-the-art video studio that will used for sales- and branding-related projects.

Additional expansion projects will follow.

The existing headquarters complex at 5501 U.S. 30 W., which includes a retail store and warehouse operation, is 320,000 square feet.

Hiring for marketing positions will begin before the end of the year. Wages will be above the state average, the company said, which was $42,552 last year.

Interested job hunters should go to www.sweetwater.com/careers to submit an application.

Sweetwater, which has been adding workers at a brisk pace, is on track to reach 1,000 employees by the end of 2018, officials said.

As of July, the company employed about 850 with annual sales of more than $350 million.

Chuck Surack, Sweetwater’s president, said the company’s sales increased 28 percent in 2014 and are on a similar pace this year.

“New expansion of our campus will build our capacity to ensure that we remain the country’s most respected dealer in instruments and high-technology equipment for musicians, recording studios and broadcasters,” he said in a statement.

Surack, who will receive the Mad Anthonys Red Coat on Tuesday, founded Sweetwater in 1979. The retailer sells brands including Avid, Roland, Marshall, Yamaha, Fender and Gibson.

Mayor Tom Henry appreciates Surack’s continued commitment to the community.

“Sweetwater is a true success story with continual job growth and expansions that enhances Fort Wayne’s place as a leader in the music industry,” he said in a statement.

“Sweetwater is a great example of why we’re experiencing unprecedented momentum and excitement as we invest in the future and position our city as a destination place for economic development opportunities and quality of life amenities,” Henry said.

The Indiana Economic Development Corp. has offered Sweetwater up to $2 million in conditional tax credits and up to $50,000 in training grants based on the company’s job creation plans.

Fort Wayne officials will consider additional incentives on the investment.

This is Sweetwater’s second significant expansion in two years.

In 2013, the company secured $2.9 million in local incentives on a $24 million headquarters expansion that was expected to create 358 full-time and 45 part-time j