Fourkiller makes mark in lawn care
Fourkiller Lawn Solutions owner Tyler Fourkiller, left, and company foreman Clifton Holmes remove leaves from a yard on Dec. 3 in Stilwell. CHAD HUNTER/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
Tyler Fourkiller, 26, owns and operates Fourkiller Lawn Solutions based out of Stilwell. CHAD HUNTER/CHEROKEE PHOENIX
STILWELL – In the few years since Tyler Fourkiller ramped up his lawn care operation, he’s acquired a growing clientele that includes the Cherokee Nation and its casinos in Tahlequah, Roland and Grove.
“We really kind of stepped it up this year as far as being with the Nation,” Fourkiller said, adding that overall, “This was our biggest year. We’ve made big leaps, almost doubling revenue every year the last four years.”
His business, Fourkiller Lawn Solutions based in Stilwell, specializes in commercial and residential mowing, landscaping, irrigation, land management/cleanup, skid-loader services, sod installation, stump grinding and tree trimming/removal. A CN citizen from Stilwell, Fourkiller, 26, keeps up with 160-plus mowing accounts, but started modestly in high school for extra cash.
“One day I figured I could use a little gas money to try to take some burden off my parents,” he said. “That’s when I started mowing grass. I kept it going through college. But after college is when it really kind of took off. That 2016 season is when I really started to try and amp things up. I could really devote all my time.”
Fourkiller attended and played baseball at Connors State College in Warner then graduated from Northeastern State University with a degree in environmental health and safety management.
“A couple of deals fell through on some job opportunities, so I decided to go with this,” he said. “My parents are both business owners. My grandparents owned the East Park Diner here in town for like 30-plus years. So, it’s always kind of been in my family being a business owner. I’ve just grown up around it. Being your own boss, there’s a lot of responsibility that goes with that.”
He now serves an area that spans the CN jurisdiction to northwest Arkansas with a team of between five to 15 employees, depending on the season. He estimates 80% of his employees during peak season are Cherokee.
“That’s a big deal keeping Cherokees employed,” Fourkiller said. “That lets me rest easy at night.”
As a CN Tribal Employment Rights Office-certified business, Fourkiller Lawn Solutions bids on projects throughout the tribe’s jurisdiction, he said.
“We’re pretty much full-service,” he added. “We finished this year with three full-time mowing crews, and I’ve got a landscape and irrigation crew. I piece it all together logistics-wise, but if it wasn’t for them, there’s no way I could do it.”
Fourkiller’s future plans include establishing a larger headquarters between Stilwell and Tahlequah.
“That’s our big goal this off season,” he said. “I’ve got the land bought.”
Fourkiller also wants to employ business-minded administrative help.
“I’ve been able to tackle that myself, and I felt like I’ve been pretty good at it, but as we continue to grow, I know we’re going to need a couple of people at a desk,” he said.
With Cherokee relatives on his father’s side, he said he grew up around the culture.
“My grandpa and my great-grandpas and my great-uncles, they’re all full-blood. My last name kind of says it all, I guess. Traveling and playing baseball, I would always have people ask me about my last name. I’d say yeah, ‘it’s Cherokee.’ It makes me proud to see my name on the trucks.”
For information, call 918-905-0362 or visit Fourkiller Lawn Solutions’ Facebook page.