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Sweetwater ... The Real Deal

Mcjnic

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Well ... like most of us here, I've done some business with Sweetwater over the years.
I've had the same rep for over fifteen years.
Amazing service.

We recently had to opportunity to travel to Fort Wayne, Indiana for a film premiere.
I had to do the handshake thing and smile a lot.
I needed to get away for a bit and the wife mentioned that Sweetwater was in that city.
Blew my mind ... honestly didn't realize it.
So, off we went.
I didn't know if they had a showroom or if it was just a shipping kinda thing.
We got there and the place absolutely blew my mind.

First ... they have over 3000 employees right there on that property.
Let me state that again for effect ... over 3000 people work there.
Good grief!
My rep came in on his day off to give me a tour of the place ... the behind the scenes thing.
Unbelievable.
Spent time checking out the studio, the sales floor, the training rooms, etc etc etc.
The mic locker had some incredible microphones to use in the studio.
The racquetball court was actually being used in a recording while we were there ... serious reverb.
Stopped off at Marketing and the wife quizzed them on a few points. Very informative.
Something I was not aware ... they have individual private offices for reps from quite a few of the brands they sell.
These reps are "stationed" there and are called on when a customer needs some serious tech questions answered.
They also train the staff there and have "office hours" for staff to drop by and pick their brains.

A cool story my rep relayed ...
Every day at lunch, they have live music in the MASSIVE onsite cafeteria (way more than a simple cafeteria!).
He was enjoying listening to the philharmonic playing the lunch hour when he had to make a run across to the warehouse.
When he opened the door and walked outside, STYX was playing in the outdoor theater.
He said it was very surreal ... live classical music inside, live STYX outside. Too cool.

Found out that Chuck (founder/owner) has several businesses outside of Sweetwater ... a high end vintage car dealership (because he digs vintage cars), some sort of aeronautical manufacturing thing, etc etc.
When he started it down the road, they had company meetings in his house and they sat on the washer and dryer and such.
All of this from that very humble beginning.
Amazing story.

The showroom is phenomenal.
A ridiculous amount of gear on the floor to explore ... and purchase.

Might have bought a drum kit ... and a ton of other stuff for the studio.
An interesting point ... the kit I picked up was Nick D'Virgilio's father-in-laws.
And they made me an incredible deal on it.
2004 Mapex Orion in Transparent Violet and 24ct gold hardware.
22,10,12,14,16, with matching Black Panther snare.
A metric ton of hardware.
All Anvil cases.
Needless to say, I JUMPED at the deal. So much so that I cancelled my flight and drove it all home.
We flew in to Indiana ... but we ended up driving our rental car all the way back across several states.

Bottom line ... Sweetwater is one of the most incredible music stores I've EVER had the honor of checking out.
Not sure we all knew these details, so I figured I'd post 'em.
A truly amazing place.


This is just the warehouse shipping center!
And it is MASSIVE!!!
Hard to get a feel for just how big that building is … the doors are unseen due to the land.
If you could see them, they are tiny compared to the height of that place.



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purity

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Cool story, thanks for sharing. I'm glad you got to visit and buy a new kit. I used to live in Fort Wayne and worked well west of the city so I drove by Sweetwater everyday on the way to/from work. Needless to say, I spent a lot of time there.

Funny you mention the racquetball court. I've played there quite a few times...the dimensions of the court always seemed off.
 

drummer5359

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Did you go down the slide?








My old fat butt did.

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Here is an ariel shot from before their latest expansion.

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I travel back and forth from the Chicago Drum Show each year via Rt. US. 30. It's an easy drive, a little longer, but so much more to see than via the interstates. Each year I stop in Ft. Wayne and visit Sweetwater on the way home. If I need heads, cases, or any other accessories for what I bought in Chicago, I pick them up at Sweetwater.

My rep gave me the tour a few years ago, he expects to see me every year on the Monday after the drum show. We hang out, he shows me what's new and sends me down the road with something every year.

I grab something to eat before jumping back on the road.

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If you can fit a Sweetwater stop into a trip, I highly recommend it.
 

drums1225

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I was out in Bloomington, Indiana with my wife and daughter for a close friend's wedding, back in 2019. Coincidentally my band had a gig in eastern Indiana 3 days later, followed by another gig in Cleveland the next day. Rather than flying back to NY and then spending 11 hours in a van to drive back to IN 2 days later, I only booked myself a one-way ticket and stayed behind after my family flew home, with plans to kill a few days in Indy with another close friend who was also in town for the wedding.

I couldn't have lived with myself if I didn't make a pilgrimage to Sweetwater, and since we had nothing on our agenda (except eating good food and drinking good beer), my friend was happy to take the ride. I don't have a lot to add to the OP's post, but the Sweetwater campus is MASSIVE and extremely impressive. We snooped around the whole facility, concert venue, recording studios, etc, and, yes, went down the slide. It was a Tuesday afternoon, so not too much was going on and the retail store wasn't very crowded. I checked out a bunch of gear, but only grabbed a T-shirt and a several pairs of sticks. I would definitely recommend making the trip if you're ever within striking distance of Fort Wayne, IN.
 

cworrick

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swarfrat

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I'd love to see Sweetwater in person. But it'd be dangerous. I'd probably be dragging home a Crumar Mojo Classic, and I can probably go another 10 years without buying an organ if I stay home
 

cworrick

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Sweetwater Gearfest June 24 - 25 2022.

They really bring out the bells and whistles (no pun intended) ((ok maybe pun intended)) for this BIG OPEN HOUSE EXPO.
BIG gear festival with clinics and products with manufacturer reps on the premise. LOTS of giveaways.
Great time to come, unless you don't like crowds. This is POPULAR!
 

JDA

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Amazing Life story what a man has built there; But the idea of a music campus..and 3000 employees walking around with little Sweetwater embroidered shirts on strikes me as a little creepy and surprised shocked really that the Chinese (ccp) are not involved.

That's some admirable
 

esooy

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The last gearfest I went to they had Chuck’s personal helicopter there for gawking at.

Are all the employees back in person?
 

DanRH

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I'd love to see Sweetwater in person. But it'd be dangerous. I'd probably be dragging home a Crumar Mojo Classic, and I can probably go another 10 years without buying an organ if I stay home
One of my keyboard subs just got one. Loves it!
 

Jhouse86

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That's awesome! I've heard similar things as well, all good! I'm in Canada, but still order from sweetwater when the opportunity presents itself. I have had nothing but great experiences. It looks like an incredible place, definitely on the bucket list. Congratulations on the new kit! It looks like a difficult place to walk out of empty handed.
 

drummer5359

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Amazing Life story what a man has built there; But the idea of a music campus..and 3000 employees walking around with little Sweetwater embroidered shirts on strikes me as a little creepy and surprised shocked really that the Chinese (ccp) are not involved.

That's some admirable

Jump on Rt. 30 and head west for about eight hours and check it out. You can pick me up on the other side of the Ft. Pitt Tunnel...

:)
 


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