Tim McClure

Founder, Mulberry’s Oven

Tim McClure is a seasoned professional with over 30 years of extensive senior management experience as a corporate executive, leading the sales and marketing direction for some of the most prominent organizations across North America.

Tim has successfully built, managed and led several teams to record-breaking results throughout his storied career, working with world-renowned corporations such as Starter Corporation and Luxottica Group SpA.

Over the course of his career, he has played a pivotal role in growing brands including: Starter, Ray Ban, Polo, Ralph Lauren, Chanel, Burberry, Prada, and Christian Hockey Sticks.

Tim's greatest strength is his ability to form successful, strategic partnerships. This has been demonstrated through many alliances that Tim has forged with professional sports leagues such as the NHL, MLB, NBA, CFL, NFL, and Hockey Canada, along with corporate sponsors including Labatt, Molson, Coca Cola, Air Canada and McDonald's.

In 2006, Tim moved to New York after being promoted to Senior Director, North America, where he led the sales direction for Luxottica and their 400 sales professionals. He played a key role in leading Luxottica to record sales and profitability, while successfully impacting the culture of the organization throughout North America.

...but that is only the beginning of Tim's story.

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In 2011, Tim was diagnosed with Stage 4, inoperable cancer. His life and the lives of his family and friends were impacted more than they could have ever imagined.

After a very aggressive treatment plan involving chemotherapy and radiation, Tim's life took a remarkable turn for the better; words like 'miracle' and 'incredible' have been used by medical professionals to describe the unexpected level of his recovery.

Over the coming years, Tim would be recognized for his leadership, community service, and inspirational contributions by receiving prestigious awards such as the BMW Hero Award, Scotiabank Game Changers Award, Alumni Of Distinction Award, and honoured as a 2018 Premier’s Award nominee in the business category.

For 5 years, Tim served as an Honorary Chairman for the Road Hockey to Conquer Cancer in support of the Princess Margaret Cancer Foundation. He was the Founder of the Great Next Chapter Foundation, an organization dedicated to support those people and their families who were faced with a life-threatening illness.

Throughout his career, Tim has spoken at professional business forums on topics ranging from business planning and strategic alliances, to galvanizing teams and impacting the culture to improve corporate bottom lines.

Tim now speaks at foundation events and to corporations, small businesses, professional sports teams, and high school, college, and university students about overcoming obstacles, beating the odds and living life to the fullest.

5 Questions For Tim McClure

What has intrigued you most as you’ve been building Mulberry’s?

I have spent over 30 years in the corporate world. My career has given me so much over time – relationships, the ability to earn a great living, and a chance to travel all over the world. But one of the most important things that my career has given me are the experiences, both personally and professionally.

As we were building the foundation of the Mulberry’s brand, I was amazed to realize how many lessons that I have learned through world-renowned corporations were parallel to what we needed to 
do to build our brand.

Early in my career, I remember learning from Bill Christian about the one thing that was the most important characteristic to build authentic relationships with our Christian Hockey Stick customers
. It was simple but powerful advice: Do what you say that you will do.

Norm Clements, Founder of National Sports, led by example. He taught me about the importance of giving back.

David Beckerman, Founder and CEO of Starter, taught me about importance of dreaming, passion, and taking risks - qualities that he used to build Starter into a global brand. 

I thought back to strategies that we used at Luxottica to launch a new campaign for Ray Ban called 'NEVER HIDE' - one of the most successful campaigns in the luxury fashion eyewear business! 

Along the way, I also learned what NOT to do from some people who were tasked to lead organizations that I was with. They showed me how NOT to treat people, how trust can be lost so quickly - and forever - by not being honest and trustworthy. I also learned the importance of knowing the difference between being cheap and cutting corners that were unnecessary in the first place. There lessons about what NOT to do were every bit as important!

I will always be grateful for these experiences - good and bad - that I learned along the way.”

All of these experiences has served us very well as we continue to build Mulberry’s!”

There must be a vision you had when you decided to buy the company. What was it?

I have a great deal of respect for what Rob, Theresa, and their team did to build Ella’s Oven for over 11 years! So much of what they did involved hard work and keeping things simple…and they did this while holding down full-time jobs.

Simply because of where I am in my life and career, and given my experience in sales, marketing, and developing brands, the vision was always to build off of the business they created at the Newmarket Farmers’ Market. Expanding and growing through my relationships in the golf industry, corporate business, and private functions will play a big role in Mulberry's growth. 

Thinking big but remaining small, staying focussed, never compromising our authenticity, and working with and serving people that choose to support us…that is our vision.”

What are the differences and similarities between being a senior executive for a major corporation to running a small business as an entrepreneur?

“In major corporations, there is a lot of interaction and support from many different departments. That can be both a blessing and a curse. The corporate world – no matter what sector it does business in – can be laden with so much red-tape that getting from A-Z can be very complex and delayed.”

In a small business, working as an entrepreneur means one thing: Nobody is coming to save you!  For some, that can be very daunting and undesirable. For me, I thrive on it!

I have been fortunate to have been put into positions where I needed to make critical decisions for multi-million dollar corporations; if they went well, I was doing my job, but if not, there were significant financial consequences because it involved other people's money. As an entrepreneur, you are making decisions with your own money, often with no backup reserve.

An entrepreneur has to find a balance between having their hands on everything, and allowing members of a much smaller team to play a role that gives each person some control.

I always have said to members of our team, “The good news is that what you do matters. The challenge that you need to remember is that because you matter, there is a responsibility that comes with that because we are counting on you!” 

The other big difference is the connection with the people.

I love meeting new people from different cultures, careers, and family dynamics. We have so many great people that we’ve built new relationships with and we look so forward to seeing them every week during the season!

While we all come from different backgrounds and may carry our own unique beliefs, we are very similar in so many ways. That is what makes life interesting and dynamic!”

After your 1st season, what was the biggest surprise that you experienced? Now that you are going into Year 4, have these thoughts changed?

“First off, the biggest surprise for me in Year 1 was how much work goes into preparing for and executing an event. Wow! The physical part is so much more than we EVER anticipated! Often the alarm clock goes off at 4:00 a.m., we will do 2 events in a day, and it is often after midnight before getting to bed.

We have had stretches where we’ve served at 4-5 events in a span of 72 hours. That is all part of being an entrepreneur. My grandpa was a farmer and as he used to say, “Let’s get going…we’ve got to make hay while the sun is shining!”

Having said that, after buying a food business during a pandemic, doing over 70 events in our first year, growing that to over 100 events in a 6-month season, and going through many ups and downs along the way, never EVER did I expect that I would have this much fun! I get so much satisfaction building something that is all ours, and doing it with a team that has become like a family. 

How important is the community to you?

“I was born and raised in Newmarket, but I have lived in Peterborough, Mississauga, Oakville, and New York City throughout my life. At the height of my career, I traveled over 180 days a year. No matter what part of the world I had traveled to on business, I always looked forward to coming home.

I have watched Newmarket grow and evolve so much over the years.

Coming home, spending time on Main Street, attending events that the Town Of Newmarket puts on, taking a walk through Fairy Lake, and embracing all that the town has to offer brings me peace. I see people around town that I’ve seen before, but don’t even know their names; we still say hello to each other on the street. You can’t get that in a big city.

This is my place…I feel at home here.”