Tucked into the Emporium on First Avenue East in Kalispell is a growing group of entrepreneurs known as The Treehouse Collective.
Among the 10 artists is hip-hop musician 21-year-old Josh Edwards. Edwards, originally from Nashville, came with his musical family to Kalispell when he was 15. The rest of the musicians in Treehouse, Edwards says, are “homegrown” in the Flathead Valley.
The musicians are part of a collective of artists skilled in clothing, graphic and makeup design, videography and more.
“We tap into each other’s talents,” Edwards said. The collective makes T-shirts, CDs and other products, which they, in turn, sell from their studio/office.
A couple of years ago Edwards and a business partner joined forces to start a recording studio. Together they invested in several infrastructure improvements to the property to cater to their studio needs. When his partner decided to leave the valley, Edwards took over the reins.
Since then, The Treehouse Collective has gained commercial traction in the valley. Now the studio features a vinyl cutter, heat press and other manufacturing equipment. Collective members are able to utilize the studio around the clock, which is essential to their work because they all also hold down 9-to-5 jobs, Edwards said.
“We’ve grown and we wanted to use our influence to do something awesome for the community,” he said.
The month before Thanksgiving they got ahold of Chris Krager, executive director of the Samaritan House, and asked how they could be of help to the homeless shelter.
They marshaled their forces and began increasing the production of their shirts and CDs, dropping the price so more people could buy them. The smaller profits added up and by month’s end the collective had raised almost $700. Krager sent them a list of what was most needed at the shelter and the Treehouse Collective used all the proceeds to purchase paper products, cleaning supplies and other needed items, which they delivered to Samaritan House right before Thanksgiving.
“This was very generous on their part,” Krager said. “We appreciate so much this sort of thing. It’s what makes Samaritan House work.”
Edwards says The Treehouse Collective hopes to find similar opportunities to continue its outreach in the community.
In the mean time Edwards and his band will continue to play the local music scene — a talent that runs in his blood. His father and brother Tommy (Sr.) and Tommy (Jr.) are also professional musicians. Along with Aaron Fetveit the trio compose the well-known local acoustic group Man and the Box.
Community Editor Carol Marino may be reached at 758-4440 or email@example.com.