Online music instrument, audio gear retailer Sweetwater Sound to create 285 more jobs by 2018

Sweetwater Sound Inc. will invest $8.8 million in expanding its Indiana headquarters and creating up to 285 new jobs by the end of 2018, the online musical instrument and audio gear retailer announced Thursday.

Construction is scheduled to begin this fall on a 16,000-square-foot building for Sweetwater's marketing and merchandising departments, and additional expansions are planned, the company said in a news release. The company currently has a 320,000-square-foot campus near of Fort Wayne.

The company founded in 1979 as a professional four-track recording studio has grown into the third-largest music instrument audio dealer in the U.S., providing instruments and high-technology equipment for musicians, recording studios and broadcasters, officials said.

"In 2014, sales were up by 28 percent over the previous year, and we anticipate similar results for 2015," said Chuck Surack, Sweetwater founder and president.

Sweetwater expects total full-time employment to reach 1,000 people by the end of 2018, the company said.

The Indiana Economic Development Corp. offered Sweetwater Sound up to $2 million in conditional tax credits and up to $50,000 in training grants. The city of Fort Wayne will consider additional incentives.

"Sweetwater is a true success story with continual job growth and expansions that enhances Fort Wayne's place as a leader in the music industry," Mayor Tom Henry said.