Ft. Wayne, IN (January 17, 2019)—The 2010s have been very good to Sweetwater, but the online MI/Pro Audio retailer has been relying on hard work rather than luck, as evidenced by the physical growth of its campus and expanding employee roster. The company’s annual total sales increases have ranged from 17% to 28% every year since 2010, and now it reports that last year continued that run.
Sweetwater’s total sales in 2018 were $725 million, up 17% from $619 million in 2017, which was also a record-breaking year. While the company sold more than 128,000 guitars in 2018 (up from 107,000 in 2017), it reports that the biggest areas of sales growth were pro audio, synthesizers, drums, guitars and microphones.
Pro Audio has been a key component of Sweetwater’s annual GearFest, which it now touts as the industry's largest free trade show open to the general public. Held last June, the 2018 edition saw it draw 15,000 attendees interact with 430 vendors and take in more than 90 seminars and breakout sessions.
In October, a major expansion began at the company's 163-acre campus located on U.S. Highway 30 in Fort Wayne. The $76.4 million dollar project includes the addition of an 350,000-square-foot warehouse and a 30,000-square-feet event center, along with the addition of more than 1,000 jobs over five years. Construction is already underway on the warehouse, and both buildings are expected to be operational in 2020.
Those coming 1,000 jobs will be in addition to the nearly 400 employees Sweetwater added last year, going from 1,132 at the end of 2017 to 1,531 at the end of 2018. Reportedly as many as 40 percent of those employees are being hired from outside the company’s home base of Fort Wayne. "We are proud to bring so many talented workers to Sweetwater and for them to make Fort Wayne their home," said senior vice president of Human Resources, Jeff McDonald. "It's clear that Sweetwater has become an employer of choice, allowing us to attract the best and brightest to our outstanding campus."
Hand in hand with bringing new people to the area, Sweetwater has continued to make its presence known within Fort Wayne’s music community. Sweetwater's partnership with Purdue University became official last summer, when the school's Music Technology Program opened on the Sweetwater campus. On August 20, 45 students began taking classes in the 8,000-square-foot facility that is home to a recording studio, editing suites, equipment library and more.
Sweetwater • www.sweetwater.com