Took a group of students on a trip to Chicago to see some recording studios, Yo Yo Ma, a jazz club and some other stuff. On the way back to Ohio we stopped by Fort Wayne and took a tour of Sweetwater.
First we ate lunch in the cafeteria. It reminded me of a student union from a larger university. It was a big open space with tv's, nice atmosphere, free video games, a putting green, and some kind of full scale golf simulator.
After that we went through the retail store. It was pretty much like a smaller guitar center but the guitars were almost all over a grand. Lot of PRS, Parker, Gibson, etc. They had a room for drums, one for keyboards, one for guitars, and one for live sound/ recording.
Then it was off to the recording studio. It was designed by Russ Berger and consisted of a smaller "post" studio for commercial spots and whatnot as well as a larger traditional setup with multiple rooms, drum and vocal booths and everything you would expect. Completely quiet even though the highway was nearby. We were told that they tested the sound proofing by hovering the company helicopter a few feet about the roof.
We passed by the concierge desk in the lobby then stopped by the barber shop/massage room. Yep. They also had a HUGE library of DVD's, Blurays, XBox, and PS3 games all free for employees to check out and take home. Then it was off to the employee fitness area which had a selection of machines and free weights and a racquetball court. There was also a personal trainer. All of this offered free to all employees and their spouses 24/7.
We then found a window that overlooked an enormous warehouse. Each package is checked 5 times before being shipped. Our tour guide noted that employees are not allowed to call them packages or shipments, they must call them "customers". We then stopped by the guitar maintenance area. Each guitar they receive gets a complete setup and 50 point inspection before shipment. They also had a PLEK machine.
The tour ended in the auditorium. There were 230 speakers in this thing offering, stereo, 5.1 and 7.1 surround. Also, each seat had it's own headphone jack and volume control. The room was completely dead. Our tour guide then went over to a console, pushed a few buttons, and clapped his hands. Now the room had reverb. Apparently they built in addition speakers and mics behind every wall panel so that the room could be made to sound like any number of popular spaces. Every Friday they have free movie night for employees and their spouses. This is also where the sales staff have their 4 hours of mandatory training each week so they can be up to date with the latest gear.
We were not allowed to see the sales area. It was described as a large room with about 120 cubicles. There were some other areas, an ebay room for used gear, a photo studio for website pics, etc.
I was very impressed with whole set up, and the services that they provide to the employees. Seems like they have a nice business model. Still, I'm not sure I could take living in Fort Wayne, spending all day in a cubicle on the phone. But still...