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Sweetwater Opens 480,000-Sq-Ft. Distribution Center

Expected to double Sweetwater’s order fulfillment capabilities, the new distribution center is only the latest in a series of expansions underway at the pro-audio retailer’s headquarters.

Fort Wayne, IN (February 21, 2020)—Sweetwater opened a new 480,000-square-foot distribution center on Monday, February 17. The new $52.5 million facility will reportedly allow the pro audio and MI internet retailer to process and ship twice as many orders per hour.

Sweetwater broke ground on the new distribution center back in October, 2018 at its 163-acre campus off U.S. 30 in Fort Wayne, IN. Along with providing more room for inventory, the new facility sports custom technology created by the company’s IT team to allow workers to process and fulfill orders more quickly.

How Big was Sweetwater’s 2019?

The new facility is a stand-alone building, and while it may be nearly the size of seven football fields, it’s been situated with an eye towards eventual expansion. As company COO John Hopkins told local TV station WANE, adjacent land on the Sweetwater campus could be used to create an extension on the new facility, adding roughly another 240,000 square feet of space to the distribution center, which would allow the company to double its newly achieved order volume capacity again.

Sweetwater's new 480,000-sq-ft. distribution center.
Sweetwater’s new 480,000-sq-ft. distribution center.

The company’s previous 80,000-square-foot distribution center, built 13 years ago, is attached to the main building on the Sweetwater campus. It is now earmarked to be renovated and converted into Class A office space, and is expected to house sales and marketing teams. Those offices will be needed—while Sweetwater hired 159 employees last year, bringing current staffing levels to 1,700, the company projects it will employ 2,300 people by 2024.

Sweetwater will be expanding in other ways as well. The company will break ground in July on a $31 million, 70,000-square-foot conference center, expected to open the following summer. It’s a safe bet that that facility will help the company host its growing annual GearFest trade show; the 2019 edition attracted nearly 500 vendors and 17,000 attendees.

Sweetwater had its biggest year ever in 2019, hitting $805 million in sales, up 11% from $725 million in 2018, as it shipped 2 million orders to more than 1 million customers.

Sweetwater •