Lake Highlands High School grads Grant Holden and Mo Elliott moved to Fayetteville, Ark., to attend the University of Arkansas, but they ended up with much more than college degrees. The rugged terrain and relaxed atmosphere in the Ozark Mountain town inspired them to start a business — Fayettechill — dedicated to the pursuit of enjoying the outdoors.
“Our main goal is to bring the Ozarks to the nation,” Holden says.
The Ozark Mountain area, he says, presents lots of opportunities to enjoy the outdoors: fly fishing, mountain biking, rock climbing, hiking, camping. But, he adds, you don’t need to go to extremes — or even go to Arkansas —to have the Fayettechill attitude. “You don’t have to hike the biggest mountains,” he says. “You can go out and walk around Lake Highlands and have a really positive experience.”
When Fayettechill started, it was as much of a movement as it was a business. “It was a way for our group of friends to represent the unique culture of the Ozark region,” Holden says. Holden and Elliott would ride their skateboards around, plastering “Fayettechill” stickers up around the campus and surrounding area. The entrepreneurial Elliott (who ran his own landscaping company in high school) began selling T-shirts out of his apartment in 2009. In 2011 Elliott graduated with a degree in entrepreneurship, and Holden with one in advertising, so the two were well prepared to start a full-time business. (A third UA grad, Devin O’Dea, joined them a year later.)
Today Fayettechill has 10 full-time employees and sells a wide range of clothing, accessories and outdoor gear in 46 shops in six states. Locally, their products can be found at Tailwaters Fly Fishing Co. and St. Bernard Sports. “Getting into St. Bernard is a dream come true,” Holden says. “My grandpa shops there, so he can really see what it is I’ve been doing.” The company also remodeled a 32-foot Airstream trailer — the “Chillstream” — which they use as a mobile retail store and showroom.
Holden and Elliott maintain close ties to Lake Highlands and say growing up here helped make them who they are. Holden says that in his White Rock Elementary-area neighborhood, “there were tons of kids running around all the time. I think life there is more well-balanced than in some other places.” They both fondly remember their favorite teacher, Ginny Chambliss. Elliott recalls that he often parked his landscaping truck in Mr. Shea’s parking space.
Holden’s advice to current Lake Highlands High students: “Try as many different things as possible. It is OK to not know exactly what you want to do,” he says. “In high school, I played hockey, did photography, skateboarded, partied, but I didn’t really have a set path. Once I discovered the outdoors, it really clicked.” With Fayettechill — both the operation of the business and the philosophy behind it — Holden says, “We’re trying to carve our own path.”
The Chillstream will be at St. Bernard Sports at 5570 W. Lovers on June 14. Find out more at fayettechill.com.