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Homegrown 0

Local carpenter turns playhouses into work with Natural State Treehouses


Ever just want to quit your comfortable office job, and start your own treehouse building company?

If you’re human, you’ve probably had a similar thought at some point. And in case you weren’t aware, this kind of thing is actually possible these days – even in the middle of the recession – if you’re willing to make the leap.

We know this, thanks to Fayetteville resident Josh Hart.

Hart, who had spent eight years working at Walton Arts Center, left the company in 2011 to start his highly successful business, Natural State Treehouses.

And he’s been climbing trees and building forts ever since.

Making the leap

Hart became interested in the treehouse and play structure business pretty naturally; he was shopping for something for his own children, and wasn’t finding what he was looking for in the local marketplace.

“I started looking at what was out there, and it was a lot of pre-made, low quality, commercially-built play sets,” he said. “No one was making high quality, fun, outdoor play structures.

“I kind of filed that away and said, ‘Someone should really do that,'” he said.

Hart said it took him some time before he finally realized that someone was him.

“I grew up learning carpentry – my dad was a great carpenter,” he said. “And I have this love for the outdoors, and it all just came together at once.”

Hart said the decision to leave his job – though he was extremely happy there at the time – wasn’t as anxiety-producing as it sounds.

“Northwest Arkansas is such a unique place, it feels like you can do anything here,” he said. “It’s a great place to start a business, there’s always so much going on for someone who’s creative. I felt safe starting a business here – even in the middle of the recession – in a way I’m sure I wouldn’t have anywhere else.

Meet the

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A little about .

Dustin Bartholomew is the co-founder of Fayetteville Flyer, an online publication covering all things news, art and life in Fayetteville, Arkansas since 2007. A graduate of the Department of English at the University of Arkansas and a lifelong resident of the area, he still lives in east Fayetteville with his son Hudson, daughter Evelyn, his wife Brandy, and his two dogs Lily and Steve. On occasion, he tickles the ivories in a local band called The Good Fear.

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