Sweetwater plans to significantly expand its operations in Northeast Indiana, creating up to 1,009 new jobs by 2022. The online retailer of music instruments and audio gear will invest more than $76.4 million to expand its 163-acre headquarters campus located along U.S. Highway 30 West in Fort Wayne.
The company, which was founded in Indiana, will construct a new, 350,000-square-foot warehousing facility that will provide product storage as well as gear testing, gear photography, offices, staff amenities, customer pickup and more. Additionally, a new 35,000-square-foot structure will house a conference center with room for up to 1,000 people that will accommodate continuing education sessions for employees. The facility will also be available for members of the community to use for other events.
“This new facility will accommodate the tremendous growth we’ve experienced recently,” said Chuck Surack, founder and president of Sweetwater. “Our sales continue to increase each and every year, which means we need more room to be able to serve our customers in the way to which they’re accustomed. We are delighted to be able to continue to expand in Fort Wayne, where it all started.”
Sweetwater plans to break ground on the expansion immediately and expects to be operational in the new buildings by summer of 2020. The company, which employs more than 1,300 associates at its Fort Wayne headquarters, plans to hire additional distribution, logistics, sales, marketing, merchandising, programming/IT and various other administrative roles over the next five years to support its growth. New positions are expected to offer average salaries above both the state and Allen County average wages.
“Sweetwater is a strong, Indiana-built company with a proven track record of recruiting and retaining employees from other states, boasting employees from 48 states and seven countries,” said Governor Eric J. Holcomb. “Sweetwater brings a welcome diversity to the industry base in northeast Indiana and is a driving force in the quality of life in Fort Wayne.”
The Indiana Economic Development Corporation offered Sweetwater up to $8.8 million in conditional tax credits and up to $200,000 in training grants based on the company’s job creation plans. These incentives are performance-based, so until employees are hired, the company is not eligible to claim incentives. Northeast Indiana Works will provide the company with additional hiring and training assistance. Fort Wayne City Council and Allen County Council will also consider tax phase-ins for Sweetwater’s eligible real and personal property (equipment) investments.
“Sweetwater continues to have a significant and positive presence in our community,” said Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry. “I applaud and thank Chuck Surack for his commitment to Fort Wayne. The innovative and unique work taking place at Sweetwater is a tremendous boost to our local economy and job growth opportunities. The success and new investments being experienced at Sweetwater help position Fort Wayne and northeast Indiana as a point of destination to live, work and play.”
This is Sweetwater’s third major expansion in recent years, announcing plans in 2012 to invest $23.5 million to add 110,000 square feet at its headquarters and plans in 2015 to invest $8.8 million to add an in-house marketing department and state-of-the-art video studio.
“Knowing that Sweetwater could be anywhere in the world they would like to be, we are happy that they continue to grow in the Allen County community,” said Allen County Commissioner Nelson Peters. “We look forward to continuing to help them thrive in their service to those who love music and they products they produce.”
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