FORT WAYNE - Fort Wayne-based Sweetwater Sound Inc. is planning to add up to 285 jobs over the next three years. The company, which was founded in 1979 by Chuck Surack, has grown to become the third-largest music instrument audio retailer in the country. Construction is set to begin this fall on the first phase of the $8.8 million project that includes expanded marketing and merchandising facilities on the Allen County campus.

Plans call for a new "state-of-the-art" video studio for sales and branding efforts. The company says sales have jumped an average of 20 percent a year in recent years.

In 2012, broke ground on a $23.6 million expansion project, which included an additional 315 jobs and was also geared toward its growing sales force. The company moved to its current campus in 2006, when it employed 240.

Surack says the pace of sales and hiring growth has been remarkable in recent years. "In 2014, sales were up by 28 percent over the previous year, and we anticipate similar results for 2015. New expansion of our campus will build our capacity to ensure that we remain the country’s most respected dealer in instruments and high-technology equipment for musicians, recording studios and broadcasters."

Fort Wayne Mayor Tom Henry calls the company a "true success story."

Sweetwater could receive up to $2 million in conditional tax incentives from the state based on meeting job creation plans. Other breaks from Northeast Indiana Works and the city of Fort Wayne could boost the total package to more than $3 million.