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Press Release
December 16 2005
For Immediate Release
Media Contact: Christopher Guerin, Vice President of Corporate Communications, (800) 222-4700 ext. 1030
Music Inc. Magazine Names Sweetwater "Independent Retailer Of The Year"
Sweetwater, the nation's leading retailer of musical instruments and technology, has received the coveted "Indie Retailer of the Year" award from Music Inc. magazine, a respected trade publication. The honor was announced in the December 2005 issue of the journal.

Sweetwater sells guitars, keyboards, recording equipment, and live sound gear via its catalog, Internet website, and in-house sales force. The company's hundreds of thousands of customers range from Grammy Award-winning producers to Los Angeles and Nashville studios to home music enthusiasts.

The magazine's cover story acknowledged the industry-wide respect the Fort Wayne retailer commands, noting, "Sweetwater dominates an ever-increasing share of the pro audio and recording market through honorable treatment of both its customers and employees." The magazine pointed out that Sweetwater's dedication to customer service is well known, saying, "Musicians, sound engineers, manufacturers, and even competitors know that Sweetwater aims to satisfy customers at all costs."

Sweetwater founder and President Chuck Surack said the award signifies recognition of his fundamental business philosophy. "You just do the right thing for the customer," he stated, pointing out that the long-term result of that principle is a loyal client who feels comfortable doing business with the company again and again.

To that end, the magazine observed, Sweetwater has an on-staff "client amazement specialist" who goes to great lengths to resolve customer complaints and ensure satisfaction. Surack said, "We're interested in developing a long term relationship with the customer, not just one short-term transaction."

The Music Inc. editors said Sweetwater's dedication to employee satisfaction was yet another ingredient to the dealer's strength. "Surack draws qualified professionals from all over the nation, and he retains them with enviable salaries, benefits, and perks," the article observed. "The very title of 'Sales Engineer' lands them added respect, and it suits them well." Most of the sales staff have attended music technology schools or worked as sound engineers.

This combination of assets has led the way to Sweetwater's best sales year in its 27-year history, and is the impetus behind the retailer's planned move to greatly expanded quarters next year. The new location will include a 225-seat auditorium dedicated to employee training, plus a health club and other facilities designed to provide employees with the best working environment possible. The Fort Wayne Business Digest named Sweetwater one of the region's top 50 employers in 2004.

Sweetwater also received the Music Inc. Retailer of the Year award in 1999. In addition, the magazine has cited the company for Customer Service Excellence and Dealer Excellence in recent years.
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