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10/4/2018 12:42:00 PM
Fort Wayne's Sweetwater's expansion to add 1,000 jobs in next four years

Greater Fort Wayne Business Weekly

Fort Wayne-based music and audio retailer Sweetwater Sound Inc. plans to add more than 1,000 jobs in the next four years as it invests $76.4 million to expand its local operations.

Gov. Eric Holcomb, Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry and Allen County commissioners joined officials of Sweetwater to make the announcement Oct. 2.

“Sweetwater continues to have a significant and positive presence in our community,” Henry said in an announcement from the Indiana Economic Development Corp. “The innovative and unique work taking place at Sweetwater is a tremendous boost to our local economy and job growth opportunities. The success and new investments being experienced at Sweetwater help position Fort Wayne and northeast Indiana as a point of destination to live, work and play.”

The company will expand its 163-acre headquarters campus along U.S. 30 West. It will construct a new 350,000-square-foot warehousing facility that will provide product storage as well as gear testing, gear photography, offices, staff amenities, customer pickup and more. Additionally, a new 35,000-square-foot structure will house a conference center with room for up to 1,000 people that will accommodate continuing education sessions for employees. The facility will also be available for members of the community to use for other events.

“This new facility will accommodate the tremendous growth we’ve experienced recently,” said Chuck Surack, founder and president of Sweetwater. “Our sales continue to increase each and every year, which means we need more room to be able to serve our customers in the way to which they’re accustomed.”

Founded in 1979 in a Volkswagen bus, Sweetwater has become America’s top online retailer of music instruments and audio gear.

“Sweetwater is a strong, Indiana-built company with a proven track record of recruiting and retaining employees from other states, boasting employees from 48 states and seven countries,” Holcomb said. “Sweetwater brings a welcome diversity to the industry base in northeast Indiana and is a driving force in the quality of life in Fort Wayne.”

Sweetwater plans to break ground on the expansion Oct. 3 and be operational in the new buildings by summer of 2020. The company, which already employs more than 1,300 associates at its Fort Wayne headquarters, plans to hire additional distribution, logistics, sales, marketing, merchandising, programming/IT and various other administrative roles over the next five years to support its growth. New positions are expected to offer salaries above both the state and Allen County average wages.

The IEDC offered Sweetwater up to $8.8 million in conditional tax credits and up to $200,000 in training grants based on the company’s job creation plans. Northeast Indiana Works will provide the company with additional hiring and training assistance, and the Fort Wayne City Council and Allen County Council will also consider tax abatements for eligible real and personal property investments.

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Editor, John C. DePrez Jr.; Executive Editor, Carol Rogers; Publishers: IBRC and IAR

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