While spending more than three years in prison for a crime he didn’t commit, Leander resident Greg Kelley learned skills that would lay the foundation for his future business—using power tools and woodworking.

Following his exoneration in 2019, Kelley began throwing axes as a hobby. This transformed into a growing business in 2020 when he founded Tomahawk Targets. The Liberty-Hill based business sells thousands of custom-made ax-throwing targets to customers online and provides mobile ax-throwing experiences at events throughout Texas.

The gist

Tomahawk Targets’ mobile trailers allow anyone ages 12 and up to try at ax throwing at events ranging from birthday parties to church gatherings. The business has trailers based in Austin and Houston, but has traveled to all corners of the state, said Marlon Berduo, a mobile ax-throwing trailer owner and operator, and Kelley’s half brother.

“Events were in high demand, and I wanted to cater toward something not a lot of other people are doing,” Kelley said about expanding the business to include mobile trailers in 2022.

Customers can also purchase handcrafted ax-throwing targets through the business’s website, Amazon and Etsy, Kelley said. Community members have shown an increased interest in ax-throwing over the last few years, and the business is on track to grow its sales by over 60% from 2022 to 2024, he said.

Why it matters

What makes Tomahawk Targets stand out is not just its products and services but its story, Kelley said. As woodworking brought him peace when facing a 25-year prison sentence, Kelley said he wants customers to know their purchases support a greater cause.

In May, Kelley founded The Vindication Foundation to raise awareness, provide education around criminal justice reform and offer legal aid to those wrongfully accused, he said.

“You're supporting a passion that was developed in the most unconventional ways, and you're supporting me on regaining my freedom,” Kelley said.

Ax throwing is an exhilarating sport that can bring people together through team building and push them outside of their shell, Kelley and Berduo said.

“We want people to have fun with our products," Kelley said. "We want people to create memories.”