(l-r): David Myer, Fred Myers Pianos; Sweetwater founder and president Chuck Surack; Yamaha Keyboard Division district manager Don Smith; Yamaha national sales director Bob Heller; pianist Mike Garson (on TV screen), Yamaha designer/marketing consultant Craig Knudsen; Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry.
Fort Wayne, IN (August 5, 2011)–Sweetwater Sound celebrated the grand opening of its expanded retail store on August 2 at the Sweetwater campus in Fort Wayne.
The expansion was the result of Sweetwater recently becoming the exclusive authorized Yamaha piano and Clavinova dealer in the region, including northeastern Indiana, northwestern Ohio and south-central Michigan.
The original Sweetwater retail space, which was completed in 2006, has undergone numerous improvements. Sweetwater added an additional 3,500 square feet to the retail store, almost doubling its footprint to 7,500 square feet, in order to accommodate the new piano and keyboard inventory. The added space also includes an Apple products display, plus room to display additional product lines from Sweetwater’s onsite warehouse and shipping facility.
With the expansion, Sweetwater is providing interactive displays and technology, improving customer service as well as the overall purchase and checkout process. A press conference was held and included Fort Wayne mayor Tom Henry, Yamaha national sales director Bob Heller, and Sweetwater founder and president Chuck Surack. There was a “passing of the torch” between Fred Myers Pianos owner David Myers, who held the Yamaha dealership for 28 years, and Chuck Surack. The passing of the Yamaha dealership to Sweetwater was especially fitting since Surack bought his first keyboard instrument, a Wurlitzer A200 electronic piano, from Fred Myers in 1975. David Myers presented Surack with the framed copy of the original receipt for that transaction during the event.
Yamaha national sales director Bob Heller then presented a plaque of appreciation to David Myers in recognition of many years of support from Fred Myers Pianos, which ceased operations earlier this year.
Also, as part of the press event, Sweetwater and Yamaha staged a demonstration of the power of the new Yamaha Disklavier, a hybrid of acoustic and digital piano technology. To test its live acoustic piano capability, an artist played the Disklavier grand piano at a studio in Los Angeles and simultaneously, via internet connection, played a Disklavier piano in the new Fort Wayne showroom.
Introduced by Mayor Henry, the artist was pianist and session musician Mike Garson, who, in addition to performing live and in studio with David Bowie since 1972, has performed with the L.A. Philharmonic, and jazz musicians such as Stan Getz, Stanley Clarke, Freddie Hubbard, Mel Torme and Elvin Jones.
“There was a time when computers were sold as standalone devices, unable to connect to the outside world,” says Yamaha Disklavier marketing manager Jim Levesque. “Today, we wouldn’t think of buying a computer that cannot be networked with other computers or receive streaming video entertainment from the internet. With RemoteLive, the Yamaha Disklavier will be right there with the rest of these technologies, providing an exciting, historic, networked, internet-ready entertainment experience.”
Surack remarked, “The grand opening formally acknowledges Sweetwater as the largest retailer of pianos and keyboards in the region. And, our expanded retail store is now the largest in northern Indiana selling music instruments and audio technology.”
In addition, Sweetwater hired piano specialist Clete Goens to work directly with institutional and instructional customers, as well as general consumers. Goens comes with a wealth of experience, including several years of management at a Baldwin piano store, plus a lifetime of playing the piano and decades as the official organist for the Embassy Theatre in Fort Wayne.