Mike Ross, Senior Vice President of Marketing at Sweetwater Sound in Fort Wayne, Indiana, says he first learned about Watchfire from his local sign company. “We were working with our long-time trusted partner Scott Gray of Graycraft Signs of Warsaw and Scott told me ‘I really believe in the way Watchfire does business. I really think they are a Sweetwater kind of company.’
Founded in a Volkswagen microbus in 1979, Sweetwater Sound now employs more than 550 people and is one of the largest dealers of musical equipment in the United States. Their company story parallels that of Watchfire's, a fact the Ross says he picked up on quickly. "Sweetwater is a relationship-based company; everything we do is based on relationships. We don’t just sell music here, it’s about being partners with people in what they are trying to achieve. We spend a lot of time building relationships for life and we look for companies that want to have a relationship with us."
Ross says a tour of the Watchfire factory helped him to see the similarity between company philosophies. "We flew over to Watchfire and spent an entire day touring the facility, watching how the signs were made, talking to everyone there about what their philosophy is, how they do business, why this construction process versus that, why they seal the back of their panels differently than everybody else does and why is encapsulation important. And, once we really got under the hood, so to speak, of how Watchfire builds signs, who Watchfire was as a company and how much Scott believed in them and knew that they could follow through with whatever we needed, I think we made the choice on that trip that Watchfire would be the sign company for us."
And did they investigate other manufacturers? Ross says they did, "I called some of the other sign companies and they do their job but they didn’t do what Watchfire did and they didn’t relate to us the way Watchfire did. And that’s a huge part of us doing business with someone, especially when it’s going to be a partnership that involves two signs that are three stories high and really has a significant impact on the way people see your business.”
Sweetwater's two new Watchfire 12mm LED signs were installed by Graycraft in the spring of 2014.