Sweetwater, the number one online retailer of music instruments and audio gear in the U.S., today announced plans to expand, creating approximately 285 new jobs by 2018. The expansions and renovations contemplated will be in addition to three expansion projects completed since June of 2014. Sweetwater expects total full-time employees to grow to more than 1,000 by the end of 2018.
Founded in Fort Wayne in 1979, the company plans to invest $8.8 million to make additions and renovations to its current 320,000-square-foot Fort Wayne campus at 5501 US Hwy 30 W.
The first of several expansions in the planning stage is a 16,000-square-foot building to house Sweetwater’s marketing and merchandizing departments, including a state-of-the-art video studio. Construction will begin this fall and hiring is ongoing, with salaries above local and state averages.
“Sweetwater continues to grow at a remarkable pace, both in sales and in number of employees,” said Chuck Surack, Sweetwater founder and president. “In 2014, sales were up by 28 percent over the previous year, and we anticipate similar results for 2015. 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.”
Through the efforts of Greater Fort Wayne Inc., Sweetwater will be receiving an incentive package, valued at $3,117,089, from the Indiana Economic Development Corporation (IEDC), Northeast Indiana Works, and the City of Fort Wayne. The package includes a 10-year abatement from Fort Wayne of real property taxes and a 10-year abatement of personal property taxes (equipment), an EDGE grant from the IEDC, and grants from Northeast Indiana Works Services and the Skills Enhancement Fund of the IEDC.
“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,” said Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry. “We appreciate Sweetwater’s commitment to our community. 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.”