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Press Release
September 14 2011
For Immediate Release
Media Contact: Christopher Guerin, Vice President of Corporate Communications, (800) 222-4700 ext. 1030
Sweetwater Hires Phil Rich as VP of Merchandising

Fort Wayne, IN, September 12, 2011 - Sweetwater, the third-largest music instrument and pro audio retailer in the U.S., has hired former Guitar Center executive Phil Rich as its Vice President of Merchandising.

Sweetwater founder and president Chuck Surack said, "We are thrilled to have someone with Phil's incredible talents and background as the newest member of our management team. In fact, we were so impressed with Phil that we created for him an entirely new leadership position within the organization."

Rich will oversee all purchasing operations and work with sales and marketing to create and implement strategies for pricing, promotions, and product presentation in all web and print publications. He will bring his broad knowledge and expertise to optimize Sweetwater's product offering, enhancing the customer's shopping experience and Sweetwater's ability to provide the best customer service and gear expertise in the music industry.

Rich remarked, "I am absolutely delighted to join the Sweetwater team. Sweetwater's strong fundamental leadership in sales, service, and marketing are primed to integrate and utilize merchandising strategies to continue to fuel its incredible growth."

A native of East Tennessee, Rich attended the University of Washington for audio engineering and spent eight years in the U.S. Navy, six of those playing guitar in the Navy band. His next job was with Guitar Center where he began his career as a sales person and over the next 13 years was promoted to store manager, district sales manager, director of sales for guitar merchandise, and director of merchandising for electric guitars, which took him to the Guitar Center corporate headquarters in California. For the past 2-1/2 years he held the position of Vice President of Merchandising for Guitars and Accessories at Guitar Center and for the past three years served on the NAMM Board of Directors.
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