|Headquarters||Fort Wayne, Indiana|
|Chuck Surack (founder), President / CEO
John Hopkins, Executive Vice President / COO
Jeff Radke, Executive Vice President of Sales / CSO
Marc Leveridge, Senior Vice President / CFO
|Products||Musical instruments, Recording equipment and accessories|
|Revenue||$353 Million |
Number of employees
Sweetwater is one of the United States' largest dealers in musical equipment for musicians, recording studios, schools, churches, concert sound companies and broadcasters. Sweetwater sells pro audio equipment, digital recording systems, pianos and keyboards, guitars, microphones, mixers, loudspeakers, signal processors, and drums.
Chuck Surack established the company in 1979 in Fort Wayne, Indiana so that he could stop being a touring musician. The company originally offered recording services via a remote recording studio in Surack's Volkswagen microbus and a recording studio based out of his home. When the Kurzweil K250 programmable keyboard and sampler was introduced in 1984, Surack became known for his custom K250 sound library and programming skills as well as his upgrade kits. Surack became a Kurzweil dealer, but his clients were asking for advice regarding other products as well. Surack expanded Sweetwater to become a music retailer whose emphasis was pre- and post-sale customer service. By 1990, with 6 employees and annual sales of $6 million, Sweetwater had outgrown Surack's home and moved into its own commercial building.
In 1995, Sweetwater mounted an informational website: www.sweetwater.com, and by 1999, most of the inventory was available for purchase online. Electronic Musician included sweetwater.com as one of nine essential online information resources for a musician, due to its 63,000 pages including instructional videos, demos and technical documents.
In 2006, with 220 employees and continued business growth, Sweetwater commissioned MSKTD & Associates, Inc. to design and master plan a new 44-acre corporate campus. The new headquarters, consisting of corporate offices, a distribution center with warehouse, and a retail store, also included the Sweetwater Productions recording studio complex and 250-seat LARES-equipped performance theater, both designed by Russ Berger Design Group. Sweetwater's new facility was certified LEED Platinum by the U.S. Green Building Council in April, 2009.
Majic Miracle Music
In 2006, Sweetwater Productions and local Fort Wayne radio station WAJI Majic 95.1 started a partnership to record live, acoustic music from nationally-recognized artists and bands traveling through Fort Wayne. These recordings, along with others, have been used to produce "Majic Miracle Music" charity CDs to benefit Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis. Artists who recorded at Sweetwater Productions for "Majic Miracle Music" CDs include REO Speedwagon, Ingrid Michaelson, Lenka, Aimee Allen, Jars of Clay, Landon Pigg, Ben Jelen, Josh Kelley, Sara Bareilles, Jon McLaughlin, Gin Blossoms, and Collective Soul.
- 1994, "Inc. 500 – America's Fastest Growing Companies"
- 1995, "Inc. 500 – America's Fastest Growing Companies"
- 2005, Music Inc. "Independent Retailer of the Year"
- 2006, Northeastern Indiana Better Business Bureau "Torch Award" for business ethics, integrity and honesty
- 2008, "BCA Ten Award" for exceptional involvement with the arts that enrich the workplace, education and the community from Business Committee for the Arts (BCA).
- 2009, LEED Platinum Award, U.S. Green Building Council, for Sweetwater's corporate headquarters and its environmentally friendly construction and management
- 2009, "Indiana Governor's Arts Award", presented September 25, 2009, by Governor Mitch Daniels at the Cornerstone Center for the Arts, Muncie, Indiana
- 2012, Music Inc. "Retailer of the Year"
- "The Fastest Growing Retailers" (Volume 163, No. 7). The Music Trades Corporation. August 2015. p. 96. Retrieved 15 January 2016.
- ProSoundNews, Mar 2008. Web Bonus Chuck Surack Founder and President
- Matt Ottinger, Biz Voice Magazine, Mar/Apr 2008 Sweet Sounds of Success: Music World Takes Note of Fort Wayne Company
- The Music Trades, Feb 2009, "How Soft Selling Powers Growth at Sweetwater"
- Internet Archive. Wayback Machine. Archived results for www.sweetwater.com starting from 1996.
- Electronic Musician. Gary Yelton, Jun 2005 Nine Essential Online Resources
- Modern Steel. Joshua Snyder, Nov 2010 Ecologically Sound
- Russ Berger Design Group. Sweetwater
- LEED for New Construction Document, Sweetwater Headquarters
- Entrepreneur.com Music Trades. CD raises funds for children's hospital: Sweetwater. January 2008.
- Inc.com. Inc.5000: The Fastest Growing Private Companies in America. No. 264: Sweetwater Sound
- Inc.com. Inc.5000: The Fastest Growing Private Companies in America. No. 341: Sweetwater Sound
- "Music Inc. Retail Excellence Awards," Music Inc Magazine, Dec 2005
- Waynedale News, Apr 2006 Celebrating Those Who Do It Right
- KCUR.org. Laura Spencer, Oct 2008 H&R Block Recognized For Arts Support
- U.S. Green Building Council LEED for New Construction Document, Sweetwater Headquarters
- Indiana Governor's Arts Award, Sep 2009
- Music Inc Magazine "Retailer of the Year", Dec 2012