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Small Business Snapshot: Stumpy's Hatchet House

Small Business Snapshot: Stumpy's Hatchet House Credit: Manny Carabel

Our Small Business Snapshot series features photos that represent, in just one image, what the small businesses we feature are all about. The owners of Stumpy's Hatchet House, Mark and Trish Oliphant and Stuart and Kelly Josberger, explain how this image represents their business.

Stumpy's Hatchet House offers a back-to-basics form of recreation, bringing together friends for a primitive and organic experience. In this adults-only business, our customers experience "a social throwdown" — meeting friends, throwing hatchets to targets in a competitive game, cheering one another on, and ringing the bulls-eye bell!

We believed there was a need for activity and socializing, a place where people could "power down" and engage in something that was invigorating and unique. Stumpy's features eight throwing pits that accommodate up to eight people each for the sport of hatchet throwing. After a brief training with their throwing coach on safety and procedure, participants are led into the rustic outdoor-like setting of the hatchet throwing pits, complete with tall timbers and an outdoor feel.

In their safe, controlled throwing pit (each with a clever name such as the "Brad Pit," "Snake Pit" and 'Peach Pit," to name a few), customers take turns hurling their hatchet to the target, honing in on their form and technique. After several trials, most find this activity to be addicting. When not throwing, friends gather in the common area at large farm tables and comfy couches.

We also wanted our venue to provide more than just hatchet throwing. In our Wood Shed party room, the experience is extended to allow guests a place to gather and have meal. Additionally, for those who use Stumpy's as a corporate team building venue, the Wood Shed also doubles as a meeting room.

This business did not open without challenges. Finding the right location with the proper zoning was a trick, and proper insurance was necessary, of course. Throwing sharp objects sounds dangerous, so we were determined to make our business safe and smart, attracting like-minded people who are looking to have a place to escape and do something primal and fun.

We opened in 2015, and in just a few short months, Stumpy's Hatchet House has become a local Jersey Shore attraction. Adults of all ages have raved about the experience and returned for more. Repeat visitors are excited to bring new friends to share this hidden secret nestled in the industrial section of Eatontown, New Jersey. What's next for Stumpy's Hatchet House? Perhaps opening more locations in North Jersey, the northeast corridor, and/or across the United States. Who knows – maybe hatchet throwing will be the next Olympic sport!