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Press Release
August 05 2011
For Immediate Release
Media Contact: Christopher Guerin, Vice President of Corporate Communications, (800) 222-4700 ext. 1030
 
Sweetwater Opens Greatly Expanded Retail Store
 
-- Music Technology Retailer Becomes Region's Exclusive Yamaha Piano and Clavinova Dealer -

Fort Wayne, IN, August 3, 2011 - Sweetwater Sound, the third largest music instrument and professional audio retailer in the U.S., celebrated the grand opening of its greatly expanded retail store on August 2nd at the Sweetwater campus in Fort Wayne, Indiana. The expansion was the result of Sweetwater recently becoming the exclusive authorized Yamaha piano and Clavinova dealer in the region, including northeastern Indiana, Northwestern Ohio, and South-Central Michigan.

A press conference was held at 1:30PM on August 2 and included Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry, Yamaha National Sales Director Bob Heller, and Sweetwater founder and president Chuck Surack. There was a "passing of the torch" between Fred Myers Pianos owner David Myers, who held the Yamaha dealership for 28 years, and Chuck Surack. The passing of the Yamaha dealership to Sweetwater was especially fitting since Surack bought his first keyboard instrument, a Wurlitzer A200 electronic piano, from Fred Myers in 1975. David Myers presented Surack with the framed copy of the original receipt for that transaction during the event.

Yamaha National Sales Director Bob Heller then presented a plaque of appreciation to David Myers in recognition of many years of support from Fred Myers Pianos, which ceased operations earlier this year.

Also, as part of the press event, Sweetwater and Yamaha staged a unique demonstration of the power of the new Yamaha Disklavier, an extraordinary hybrid of acoustic and digital piano technology. To test its live acoustic piano capability, an artist played the Disklavier grand piano at a studio in Los Angeles and simultaneously, via Internet connection, played a Disklavier piano in the new Fort Wayne showroom.

Introduced by Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry, the artist was legendary pianist and session musician Mike Garson, who, in addition to performing live and in studio with David Bowie since 1972, has performed with the L.A. Philharmonic, and some of the greatest jazz musicians of the last 40 years, including Stan Getz, Stanley Clarke, Freddie Hubbard, Mel Torme, and Elvin Jones. He is a prolific composer, having composed more than 4,600 works, including the score to the movie "Stigmata".

"There was a time when computers were sold as standalone devices, unable to connect to the outside world," says Yamaha Disklavier Marketing Manager Jim Levesque. "Today, we wouldn't think of buying a computer that cannot be networked with other computers or receive streaming video entertainment from the Internet. With RemoteLive, the Yamaha Disklavier will be right there with the rest of these technologies, providing an exciting, historic, networked, Internet-ready entertainment experience."

The original Sweetwater retail space, which was completed in 2006, has undergone numerous improvements. Sweetwater added an additional 3,500 sq. ft. to the retail store, almost doubling its footprint to 7,500 sq. ft., in order to accommodate the new piano and keyboard inventory. The added space also includes the area's largest Apple products display, plus room to display additional product lines from Sweetwater's huge on-site warehouse and shipping facility.

With the expansion, Sweetwater has also enhanced the customer experience by providing interactive displays and unique technology, improving customer service as well as the overall purchase and checkout process.

Surack remarked, "The grand opening formally acknowledges Sweetwater as the largest retailer of pianos and keyboards in the region. And, our expanded retail store is now the largest in northern Indiana selling music instruments and audio technology."

To provide superb customer service for its Yamaha keyboards as well as other keyboard brands, Sweetwater hired piano specialist Clete Goens to work directly with institutional and instructional customers, as well as general consumers. Goens comes with a wealth of experience, including several years of management at a Baldwin piano store, plus a lifetime of playing the piano and decades as the official organist for the Embassy Theatre in Fort Wayne.

Captions:

Photo No. 1. David Myers presents Chuck Surack with the framed invoice of Surack's purchase of a Wurlitzer A200 electronic piano from Fred Myers Pianos in 1975.

Photo No. 2. From left to right, David Myers of Fred Myers Pianos, Sweetwater Founder and President Chuck Surack, Yamaha Keyboard Division District Manager Don Smith, Yamaha National Sales Director Bob Heller, Pianist Mike Garson (on the tv screen), Yamaha Designer/Marketing Consultant Craig Knudsen, and Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry.

Photo No. 3. In addition to adding space for Yamaha acoustic pianos, Sweetwater's retail store features the region's largest Apple products display.

Photo No. 4. Sweetwater's expanded retail space also accommodates more product lines from its huge warehouse and shipping facility, plus a Roland Foresta display of Roland keyboards.
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