Family business HomeTown Sportswear celebrates 20 years
BARBOURSVILLE -- While Marco the bison may seem to reign supreme at HomeTown Sportswear, most customers visit for the custom screen printing and embroidery the business offers.
Located at 3692 U.S. 60 East between Target and the Huntington Mall, brothers John and Jeff McKenna own the Barboursville shop, which sells Marshall University gear among a wide variety of other designs. The Barboursville High School and Marshall graduates operate the business along with their father, six brothers and sisters and two employees who are basically family as well, John McKenna said.
In addition to its custom orders, HomeTown also maintains an extensive Marshall products and apparel retail shop. John McKenna said the business began in 1994 when he and his brother, who had just left a job in the same type of business, realized they could be successful working for themselves.
"I think the main reason we have been so successful is because of how we treat our customers," John McKenna said. "Most of our customers we have worked with for years, and we've built relationships. I'm friends with many of them on Facebook."
John McKenna said HomeTown works with many large businesses and organizations throughout the Tri-State. He said being part of the community he works in makes the shop's customer service more like "friends helping friends" than business transactions.
The McKennas moved to Barboursville when John McKenna was 10 years old. He said he may not have been born in the Mountain State, but it is his home -- hence the name HomeTown Sportswear.
Relationships have done more than grow the business on paper, John McKenna said. HomeTown moved to its current location in 2000 after adjacent Adams Trucking and Supply built the building with them in mind.
"They're a great bunch of guys to work with," said Valerie King, Adams' dispatcher. "They are honest, helpful, they are just great. They'll give you catalogues, they work with you, they just do it all. They mostly do T-shirts for us, but they've also done jackets and polos. Like I said, just a great bunch of guys."
Doing all the work in-house allows HomeTown to do quick turn-arounds on jobs, something the customers greatly appreciate, John McKenna said. He said unless there just are not enough hours in the day, they will work as long as it takes to make sure customers get what they need when they need it.
People driving by often think the storefront is simply a retail shop that sells Marshall items, but the shirts, water bottles and other branded gear only account for about 5 percent of the company's business. He said most of their work comes from custom screen printing and embroidery. No matter how successful the business has gotten, John McKenna said no job is too small.
"We'll never get too big for our britches," John McKenna said. "People got us to where we are now, and we'll never forget that or turn them down."
Those seeking more information about HomeTown Sportswear and services can call 304-736-4021. The retail store is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
Follow reporter Shane Arrington on Twitter @ArringtonHD.
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