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Press Release
January 11 2006
For Immediate Release
Media Contact: Christopher Guerin, Vice President of Corporate Communications, (800) 222-4700 ext. 1030
 
Sweetwater Expands Guitar Business In 2005
 
- Industry-leading music technology retailer announces stellar growth in guitar sales for 2005 -

FORT WAYNE, IN, January 11, 2006 - Sweetwater, the nation's leading retailer of musical instruments and technology, announces that 2005 was a year of substantial growth in guitar sales. Chuck Surack, President and Founder of Sweetwater, says, "We've made real efforts to build our guitar business in the past years, and those efforts are paying off. The increased business is great for us, of course, but it also means that we have more instruments in stock, can offer more variety, and have even better service and support to offer our customers."

Guitar unit sales for 2005 were up more than 75% over 2004, while total dollar sales increased by more than 82%. Compared to 2003, Sweetwater's guitar unit sales were up 180%, with total dollar sales growing by more than 200%. "Those numbers are truly astounding," comments Surack. "We knew that our customers were hungry for a new way to purchase guitars, but this rate of growth goes way beyond anything we expected. Fortunately, we've been able to simultaneously expand our infrastructure, so there haven't been any problems or growing pains."

Major new lines added to the company's inventory in 2005 include Ibanez guitars and basses, and Peavey guitars, basses, and amplifiers. In addition, Sweetwater was honored to be named a Gibson Preferred Online Retailer, and has expanded its inventory of Gibson, Gibson Custom, Gibson Memphis, Gibson Montana, Epiphone, Tobias, and Valley Arts guitars and basses, as well as Epiphone and Gibson Labs amplifiers, and Gibson Labs processors.

New guitar and bass processing and accessory lines included Electro-Harmonix pedals, Levys straps, Radial Engineering Tonebone pedals, Gator guitar cases and bags, as well as a huge offering of accessories from Peavey and Gibson. In addition to these lines, Sweetwater showed significant growth with other brands, including Fender, Paul Reed Smith, Taylor, Martin, Line 6, accessories from Boss and Digitech, and Marshall amps.

To keep up with demand, Sweetwater has radically expanded the total number of instruments and amplifiers in stock. "Our commitment is to have everything our customers want in stock and ready to ship," continues Surack. "We've increased our guitar stock by a large amount - it's a guitarist's dream in our climate-controlled warehouses!"

Despite the massive growth, Sweetwater continues to offer extras including inspecting nearly every guitar as it arrives into stock, as well as a comprehensive 55-point inspection and setup by factory-trained guitar technicians for almost all guitars before they are shipped to clients. "We believe that it's important for our customers to receive an instrument that's perfect, so we go the extra mile to ensure they receive a flawless guitar or bass from us," adds Surack.

A major factor in Sweetwater's growth has been the online Guitar Gallery, a unique, innovative site within Sweetwater.com that offers photos of the actual guitars the company has in stock, organized by serial number. As Surack explains, "Customers can go online and see detailed, up-close photos of many of the guitars we have in stock. They can actually look at the exact guitar they're ordering, not just a generic photo of a guitar model." Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, and others have copied the idea. "I've seen a few other dealers try to copy Guitar Gallery recently," says Surack. "But they really aren't getting it...Guitar Gallery remains the best resource a guitar or bass player can have for purchasing an instrument online."

Surack expects Sweetwater's impressive guitar sales to continue to grow. "There doesn't seem to be an end in sight," he concludes. "Clearly, guitar and bass players were looking for a retailer who could provide them with the customer service, inventory, prices, free shipping, and technical support they required. We're pleased and honored that they have selected Sweetwater. Our goal is to keep innovating, to keep adding new benefits for our guitar and bass customers to enjoy. With this in mind, we project 2006 will be yet another year of incredible guitar sales increases for us."

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