Sweetwater’s New Mega-Store “Must Be Experienced To Be Believed”

Music gear mega-retailer Sweetwater has announced the grand opening of a new 44,000 square feet megastore in Fort Wayne, Indiana, offering over 10,000 different products from than 1,000 manufacturers, a recording studio, piano room and live sound rooms and more.

One of the highlights is the world’s largest pedal display, with more than 1,100 pedals and over 50 working headphones for guests to explore.

The company says that their Keyboard & Synthesizer room “must be experienced to be believed”. It features a giant selection of keyboards, synths, electronic instruments, MIDI controllers and more.

“While we will always be an e-commerce business, we want to ensure our experiences online, and offline in our store, are unmatched. This for our customers,” says CEO Chuck Surack.

The store is officially open to the public at the Sweetwater campus, located at 5501 US-30 West, Fort Wayne, Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m., Friday 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m. to 7pm and Sunday 11 a.m. to 5 pm.

54 thoughts on “Sweetwater’s New Mega-Store “Must Be Experienced To Be Believed”

  1. Not too far a drive for me. I used to play gigs there back in the day. Ft Wayne is a tough city with a seedy underbelly. I always liked it. Come fo the synths and stay for the many strip clubs. Maybe you’ll be lucky and “the midget” will be back in town.

  2. SW runs a reliably good business. Pull back the curtain, and there’s ugly karma in there– but nothing like Amazon or B-word.

  3. 12 hour and 26 minute drive for me :0(

    But, I haven’t been in a retail music store for decades. To they still play Stairway to Heaven and Van Halen licks?

  4. Congrats to Sweetwater on this store! Haven’t bent to a music store in a long time. I do all my shopping online. I research prior to buying.

  5. Wasn’t 3 Floyds Brewing originally in Ft. Wayne?
    Having only lived in South Bend and Bloomington, my perception of IN is quite a bit skewed. So, I’m wondering if this can have an impact on the local music scene.
    After all, there have been instrument manufacturers in Elkhart for quite a while. Yet Michiana isn’t really where musicians congregated.

    Which makes me wonder… What does it take to build an electronic music scene? Can we build one from scratch?

    (I’m back in Montreal after some time in other spots. We have some stores with a decent selection of electronic instruments. And we’ve had some cool festivals revolving around electronic music. Some people even relate Montreal to Berlin. Yet we don’t have the kind of synth megastore which sends people on a pilgrimage. It’s more about belonging to a fun artistic scene than purchasing gear.)

  6. well good thing i have no intention in believing it so i don’t have to experience it.

    i already couldn’t believe how their “sales engineers” kept calling my mobile non-stop when i lived in the US.
    an experience i didn’t need.

    1. My sales rep, Ian, only called after I made an online purchase to tell me it shipped. Maybe once or twice he called to tell me of a new product that I asked to be notified about. I knew the area code, 240, if i didnt want to hear it, I didnt answer. All in all, its better than robo calls.

      1. I’d add to Randy’s comment and say I’ve never had any harassing calls or problems with Sweetwater. If anything, a willingness to act like they actually care about their customers. Made a mistake on my own order? An email and 30 minutes later it is fixed. A followup email the next day letting me know the status. I also know that the company treats their employess well and it shows with their concern for the customers. Maybe this came off as American pushiness to the person above me, but I think most people would appreciate a company that is resposive. Just my two cents. Far more need to operate this way IMO.

      2. my sales rep sent me an email saying inflation was driving up a lot of their prices in July, and if I want anything, buy it now.

      3. I’m with you guys. Never received a harassing call. The one time my rep called in person he wanted to ask me some questions about something I was an expert in, and that was only after he apologetically emailed me first and I told him it would be easier to handle on the phone rather than write a long speculative email response. And he only asked me because we have been on friendly terms for many many years.

      4. Never once received a phone call, harassing or not. I’ve been a customer for over 15 years. They do a great job. Honestly I prefer to shop in person instead of online but they just do a better job than any store I’ve been to.

    2. I told my rep to use email and not the phone. And he has done that.

      I have no complaints about SW as a business– other than that the CEO donates $$ to some ugly “endeavors”. I suppose that’s the nature of the beasty.

        1. @Stub, I just wanted you to realise I had not attacked you or called you names. I absolutely despise how “Synthtopia moderates comments whereby even if you agree with a commenter and use a bit of colorful language, it appears that somehow you somehow called them names.

          Here is a more staid version, whilst I don’t have to worry about Sweetwater as it is an American entity, if you google Chuck Surack political donations, he has routinely supported only the “RepubliCONS” and he is a vocal supporter of Kim Jun Trump.

          1. Yea, @Modern3 — that’s what I was referring to.

            That is the one big aspect of doing business with SW that leaves a bad taste. Chuck uses OUR dollars to support people who are likely to: ignore real problems, create new problems, all while putting on a show about fake problems.

            It is very difficult to avoid that kind of “karma”, as big businesses often have a dark underbelly. But I’m thankful that I can at least try; and that there is a forum (perhaps under somewhat nervous moderation 🙂 that can discuss this.

            Chuck isn’t doing us any favors by “protecting his interests”. On the contrary, how many precious souls would still be with us if a certain key figure would have made even the slightest effort to convince his admirers that the ‘rona was serious and that they should follow guidance, wear a mask, keep distance, hand-wash, get vaccinated. The answer is … many. Instead, per his “brand”, he did the exact wrong thing. Chuck used our dollars to help THAT guy. Gross.

            I’d like to choose ethical businesses but that is a very difficult thing to discern. And often mom and pop shops have pretty limited selection.

            I hope that was constructive.

          2. Yep! Stop doing business with them then. There are plenty of excellent online and local music retailers that do not support hate. Put your money where you mouth is.

    3. I haven’t got a SE call for ages. Always email now.

      And Nick has been a huge help selecting products and giving advice.

      1. I ordered a $50 thing from Sweetwater last Summer, and some hapless rep kept calling my cell-phone for several days, on top of relentless e-mails. I finally told him to bugger off, and even then he still continues to send me info on new products. I can’t understand how anyone is well served by nagging like this. I buy a significant amount of equipment for my work, but refuse to deal again with this company.

        1. I highly doubt that is a SW policy to hound clients like that. I’ve done business with them for many years. Once in a blue moon I may get a voice mail from my sales rep asking how things are going with a recent purchase. Maybe I’ve gotten three calls like that in the past 15 years.

          1. Okay, so I guess they treat new customers differently? Based on other comments in this post alone, it’s clear that plenty of other customers have had similar issues with harassing Sweetwater sales reps all too eager to bank their tiny fractional commission.

              1. If you read my original comment, I did. Yet it has still been a problem.

                I would prefer if the Sweetwater rep’s default was to not harass customers.

                  1. A nearly perfect translation. “Please do not contact me again” were the exact words, but “bugger off goofball” would’ve been more to the point.

    4. My sales rep has called me, on occasion, just to see if I’m interested in anything new as well as check on my experiences with recent purchases but we are talking once every 4 months at most. Far from a problem.

      My positive experiences with their approach have far outweighed the negatives. First and foremost, their sales people and support are very knowledgeable. Most are musicians and have personal experience with the products the sell. Second, they stand behind the products they sell making returns very easy. Finally, they have saved me money on multiple occasions.

      I’d consider buying local from a small shop but they rarely carry what I need

  7. The experience with Aaron, my Sweetwater rep of 20 years, has been nothing short of superb. Countless times he’s advised me in the right direction with gear that best suited my ambitions. Never any pressure to buy no matter what the cost. He understands my vision and working quirks.
    I have three or four guitar centers in the Chicagoland area and one Sam ash near me as well…even if I need a cable or two, Sweetwater is my solution.
    Always wanted to take the kids down to Fort Wayne for the Sweetwater tour…also some cool history in the area too.

    1. wow kind of jealous of all of the stores around you, we have virtually nothing here – I have to go like 4 cities over to get to a guitar center and all the indie stores are gone – I pretty much only buy online

  8. This store is a public relations exercise. It is primarily an on-line company which has been hovering up high street retail stores for years. They don’t pay retail taxes, or maintain expensive showrooms in different cities, or deal with real customers face to face, and their management doesn’t pass on useful, hands on skills. Now they’re worried about on-line competition, and so now they’re posing as a local store ( a campus!). I encourage readers to support their own local music shops (if they’re still standing) before they go shopping on-line.

    1. I agree with your main point, Andrew. We have to support our local music stores if we want them to stick around. I always check the local stores, first. Then, websites for less local stores. I may check eBay, or Craig’s. For music gear, and print music/books, A*m*z*n is a last resort.

      SW is a decent option. I disagree about the PR exercise comment. They have good after-sales support. They have a pretty decent service/repair department. They have some decent learning resources– which even includes older gear. And, well, now they’re maintaining one expensive showroom.

      It is one thing when a Gtr Ctr does price wars with locally owned shops. It’s a similar thing when a W*lMart demands local tax breaks while it leaves vacant local business in its wake.

      I’m curious about how some manufacturers might have favored the biggies by requiring larger minimum orders that mom & pop shops couldn’t swing.

  9. is this article to distract us from the fact sweetwater accidentally leaked a new drum machine and synthtopia ain’t covering it?

    1. So why haven’t Synthtopia published details of the 6-channel LXR-02 digital drum synthesizer from Erica Synths and Sonic Potion? All other music equipment blogs are…

    2. Manufacturers issue press releases for new products with embargo dates and times — press outlets are not allowed to print stories until after the embargo is lifted. If you don’t follow the rules, you get pulled from the PR distribution lists. It’s quite possible Synthtopia has information on the product but is waiting for the official release date.

      As for leaks, many are caused by automated loading of vendor catalogs. We issue standardized information to manufacturers when a new product is released; images, description, size and weight, on sale date, etc. All of the large retailers demand things in a standard format so it can be quickly and efficiently added to their sales systems. If someone screws up the on-sale date (or it gets unexpectedly pushed back after the sales team has pushed catalog information), products start magically popping up all over the place.

  10. Fort Wayne has only 264.488 inhabitants. The city is in a no-man’s-land between Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit and Indianapolis. Why there? I don´t get it.

      1. “typically advertisers will pay money to people when they advertise for them”

        It’s easy to see conspiracies everywhere, if that’s your mindset.

        But the simple reality is that it’s newsworthy to our readers if a company opens what appears to be one of the largest synth showrooms ever.

        “Why does synthtopia promote this shop and not all the other smaller ones around the world?”

        Our coverage is not designed to ‘promote’ one company or another, but to share information that is relevant to our readers.

        We recently covered the news that Schneidersladen has reopended (https://www.synthtopia.com/content/2021/06/18/berlin-synth-super-store-schneidersladen-open-again/), for example.

        Neither Sweetwater or Schneidersladen has ever advertised with Synthtopia. But we consider both Sweetwater opening a huge synth showroom and Schneidersladen re-opening it’s iconic synth mega-store to be newsworthy to readers.

        1. advertising revenue is a conspiracy theory? that seems to be a bit of an overreaction

          btw, if you weren’t so defensive about normal everyday conversations, it might help your stress level

    1. Maybe because Sweetwater sent them a press release? This site certainly covers a lot of niche products made by small companies.

      1. Velocipede – there’s a lot of truth to your comment.

        People sometimes ask why we cover one story or we don’t cover another, and sometimes it comes down to the fact that some companies are good about sharing news about their products and other companies aren’t.

        We try to cover the news that is most relevant to readers and, by putting a feedback form on every page of the site, we make it easy for companies to share news about their products.

  11. Having visited Guitar Center today, Thanks Sweetwater for being better, online and in-store. Oh…and thanks Synthtopia for keeping informed of all things synthesizer.

  12. I ordered a few obscure things from them in the past and they were awesome. Good for them; I hope this works out well for them.

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