After seven years working for big-box chains, Mac Cheyne jumped at the opportunity to staff, stock and manage a sports store that serves the specific needs of the local sports community.
“I’ve just always been passionate about sports,” said Cheyne. “I’m a goalie so I was obsessed with the gear and how cool you can make it and that kind of led me into this. You get to see the best of the best products and all the new stuff coming in.”
Hometime Sports & Apparel on Eramosa Road opened in August 2018 and specializes in hockey, lacrosse and baseball as well as personal and team apparel.
“I find working in an independent shop like this versus the corporate, big-box store is that you get a way better sense of the community,” said Cheyne. “Typically you are more apt to talk about what’s going on in local sports.”
Cheyne grew up in Hillsburgh one of two sons born to Dave and Donna Cheyne. He and his brother Owen learned the value of community and hard work at an early age.
“Before I worked in sports retail I worked in the family business,” said Cheyne. “My family has owned a feed mill in Hillsburgh for almost 50 years called Hillsburgh Feed and Supplies.”
He went to high school in Erin then went on to Conestoga College for business management and marketing. He has built a career in sports retail and stayed active most of his life playing sports such as golf, hockey and fastball.
“I play in a hockey league and a fastball league but the fastball is more competitive,” he said. “I play that out of Ponsonby. We’re called The Sting and we’ve played in a couple ISC (International Softball Congress) tournaments that featured some of the best club teams in North America.”
His performance in sports retail caught the attention of Tom Ristov and Dean Harrison, owners of Centre Wellington Sports in Fergus, who were scouting for someone to manage their new store in Guelph.
“I haven’t been told how I was found but I was headhunted,” said Cheyne. “I worked at another place in Guelph for almost five years then I got a phone call.”
Ristov and Harrison gave Cheyne the opportunity to do some scouting as well and build his own local sports retail dream team.
“I worked with Justin Rosevear previously for about three years,” said Cheyne. “Tom asked if I had someone in mind for an assistant manager and there was no doubt in my mind that I wanted Justin because he knows the business inside and out.”
He sought out staff members who had connections to the community and shared a passion for sports.
“Brady Fagan is a local kid,” said Cheyne. “He’s a linesman in the OHL and AHL and he has been in the hockey community in Guelph for a long time so he knows a lot of people.”
Cheyne noticed that sports like lacrosse were popular in Guelph but under served.
“There are 600 or 700 kids that sign up for lacrosse in Guelph but really there was no one here to service them,” he said. “We are offering every new registrant to Guelph Minor Lacrosse a free stick. All they have to do is come and pick it up.”
He has also doubled up on staffing to serve the lacrosse community.
“Twin brothers Marcus and Ethan Keleher are really big in the lacrosse community in Guelph,” said Cheyne. “Everybody knows them. They are well known for stringing lacrosse sticks as well. So, that’s a thing we are offering for sure.”
Cheyne hopes to build a future with long-time girlfriend Noel Mastine and grow the business into a community hub for local athletes.“I hope that we will finally give everyone a chance to have their needs serviced,” said Cheyne. “I want to see Hometown become a one-stop shop for our hockey, baseball and lacrosse players and also those who are just looking to update their wardrobe.