Sweetwater outlines ambitious growth plans

U.S. online musical instrument and audio gear retailer Sweetwater has announced plans to expand its facility, a move expected to result in the creation of 285 jobs by 2018.

Founded in Fort Wayne in 1979, the company’s current 320,000-square-foot Fort Wayne campus is located at 5501 U.S. Highway 30 West. Several expansions are in the planning stage, the first being a 16,000-square-foot building added on to the existing building’s southeast corner.

“We’re growing like crazy,” vice president of corporate communications Christopher Guerin said. “Last year our growth was 28 percent in sales, about 15 percent in employment, so we continue to sort of burst at the seams. We build and then we fill it up then we need to build again.”

“It will house our marketing and merchandising teams, which are growing very quickly and will also house a new state-of-the-art video studio for our video department,” Guerin added.

The move follows three expansion projects that were completed in June 2014.

“Sweetwater continues to grow at a remarkable pace, both in sales and in number of employees,” remarked founder and president Chuck Surack. “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.”

Greater Fort Wayne CEO Eric Doden said it’s a win-win for everyone in the community: “These are also jobs that are a win for our small business community, because our small business community when they have these kind of jobs increase our GDP, increases the services that need to be sold to the new employees,” he explained. “This is just a win-win for everyone in our community.”

As part of the incentive package, the Indiana Economic Development Corporation offered Sweetwater up to $2 million in conditional tax credits and up to $50,000 in training grants. The initiatives are performance-based and the company can’t claim them until the 285 people are hired.

As for future expansion plans, Guerin said time will tell: “It will take several years for current planned expansions to be completed and if we continue with this pace we may need to continue to add to the campus as we have been.”