Sweetwater is the world’s leading music technology and instrument retailer, offering knowledgeable sales engineers and in-house technical support.
Located in Fort Wayne, Indiana, the company sprang from the humble roots of Chuck Surack in 1979. Their success and growth can be attributed to the vision and instincts of its founder, and the efforts of the stellar personnel he has assembled to staff his company.
Chuck Surack, President and Founder of Sweetwater, Inc., has been a musician and a salesman for as long as he can remember. As a child he sold hundreds of potholders (“Fifteen cents each or two for a quarter!”) door-to-door, which he wove from loops of yarn he purchased by the vanload. He grew and sold hot banana peppers and won several sales contests. While other children were delivering a few newspapers door-to-door, Chuck sought out apartment complexes where he could deliver papers by the hundreds.
As a musician, Chuck toured with professional bands, and became interested in technology and recording. He purchased a TEAC 3340 four-track reel-to-reel recorder, and began making location recordings of local bands from the back of his VW bus, wheeling the tape machine and multitrack recordings into the living room of his mobile home for mixdown and post-production.
Today, Sweetwater is recognized as one of the most successful and fastest-growing music retailers in the nation. The company has been named to Inc. magazine’s list of the 500 fastest-growing private companies three years in a row, and has received the Music Inc. magazine REX Award for excellence in retailing. The company annually earns dozens of other awards from magazines, manufacturers, and independent manufacturer representative firms. Regionally and locally, Sweetwater has been the winner of many awards, including a 2006 Torch Award for outstanding business ethics, integrity, and honesty.
In its December 2005 issue, Music Inc. magazine named Sweetwater the “Independent Retailer Of The Year,” acknowledging the industry-wide respect the Fort Wayne retailer commands, noting in the accompanying article, “Sweetwater dominates an ever-increasing share of the pro audio and recording market through honorable treatment of both its customers and employees.” The article went on to point out that Sweetwater’s dedication to customer service is well known, stating, “Musicians, sound engineers, manufacturers, and even competitors know that Sweetwater aims to satisfy customers at all costs.”1