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It All Adds Up: Hope Munches On

Before you take a step, before your situation changes, before you even have the answers to create change…you just need to grasp the concept of hope. You have to know there is a chance for something better and then allow the story to unfold. Trust me…it’s easier said than done, but it has to be done.

In November 2015, my business journey shifted. I was holding onto a fledgling cookie company as if it were a million dollar operation when in reality it was only generating enough revenue to be a mere side hustle. The cookie company had the potential for growth, but I didn’t have the capacity to breathe life into it. That is until my expectations shifted and I settled for the uncertainty of what if there is more?

On July 31, 2018, I celebrated the result of taking a chance on hope, through the brand unveiling and business launch of my cookie company, now known as Junita’s Jar. Surrounded by walls and books and periodicals dedicated to all things business development and standing under the portrait of the well known dreamer and entrepreneur, Mr. James J. Hill, I stood before one hundred or so friends and supporters sharing the news of the next chapter in my journey of entrepreneurship. I stood before them as I stepped into the intersection where the uncertainty of hope meets the power of a dream.

Filled with table of cookies and conversation starters, my business launch was designed to introduce our deliciously wholesome cookies while creating the opportunity to exchange hope-filled interactions. From four amazing speakers, each sharing their personal story of trauma to triumph, Junita’s Jar welcomed a movement celebrating the impact of hope. Some had tears of inspiration others had hearts overflowing with the anticipation of doing good, but everyone understood the powerful impact of hope-filled communities.

Launching a business is grueling work. Launching a movement of hope-filled possibilities makes the work a little sweeter. As I reflect upon my business journey over the past three years, and think about what I know for sure, I can tell you three important business altering lessons that have dramatically impacted my growth.

  1. You must say yes to the difficult things.
  2. Build your network to increase your net worth.
  3. Celebrate the small steps along the way.

I could share story upon story that speaks to the growth I’ve experienced from these three lessons, but I’ll save that for the book. In the meantime, I want to send a special thank to the community of supporters and friends for joining me on this journey and a special thank you to the James J. Hill Center team for creating an opportunity for me to say yes.

As always, I would love to hear from you. Send me an email or share via social media, your story of embracing hope and executing your dream. At the end of the day, remember hope is a game changer.


You can read more about Junita Flowers on her website junitasjar.com. You can also follow her on Facebook and Instagram.

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Startup Showcase: Her Just Desserts Are Just That

Each month the James J. Hill Center interviews 1 Million Cup presenters for the Startup Showcase feature in the Pioneer Press.  Recently we connected with presenter Junita Flowers. See interview as seen in the Pioneer Press Startup Showcase originally posted on July 28, 2018. 

There is a new trend in the way businesses are operating and interacting with their customers.  According to a recent study by Deloitte’s 2018 Global Human Capital Trends, “Organizations are no longer judged only for their financial performance, or even the quality of their products or services. Rather, they are being evaluated on the basis of their impact on society at large –transforming them from business enterprises into social enterprises.”

Social enterprises, according to Social Enterprise Alliance, are, “Organizations that address a basic unmet need or solve a social problem through a market-driven approach.”

Junita Flowers and her company Junita’s Jar is doing exactly that. As a social entrepreneur she is working to solve a critical problem and build a sustainable business one delicious crumb at a time. With her amazing cookies made with love she is destined to improve people’s lives.


Name: Junita Flowers
Age: 45
City you live in: Brooklyn Park
City of birth: St. Paul
College attended: University of Minnesota


Name of company: Junita’s Jar
Website: junitasjar.com
Twitter: @JunitaLFlowers
Business Start Date: June 2018
Number of Employees: 2



Q. What led to this point?
A. I grew up in a very large immediate and extended family, so we spent a lot of time in the kitchen making food for a lot of people. Some of my best childhood memories stem from random conversations shared while prepping food and washing dishes. From birthday treats to holiday desserts, all of the cakes, cookies and pies were made from scratch by my mother and grandmother. After college and settling into my career within the nonprofit sector, I finally had some free time to recreate the recipes from my childhood. After a brief dessert Q&A conversation with my grandmother, I realized none of my favorite recipes were written down. With a goal of baking for myself, I began visiting with my grandmother, watching her re-create my favorite desserts while I recorded the ingredients and measurements. Many years later, I began baking just for fun, to celebrate special occasions with friends. This eventually led to the beginning of my cookie company.

Q. What is your business?
A. Founded upon my favorite childhood recipes and inspired by my personal path of overcoming domestic violence, Junita’s Jar is a mission-driven cookie company producing deliciously wholesome, ready-to-bake cookie dough and grab ’n’ go mini-cookie snack packs. Junita’s Jar is dedicated to making the taste of homemade cookies easy, accessible and super convenient for every day snack time options. We are more than a cookie company. We are on a mission to create a hope-fueled movement with every cookie purchase. We want to see people live well in well-loved moments. To encourage them to exceed expectations, time and time again. To empower a world without abuse. For those reasons, a portion of Junita’s Jar profits is donated to support education and awareness initiatives dedicated to ending relationship violence.

Q. Where do you go for help when you need it?
A. The Twin Cities is filled with so many opportunities to nurture, support and encourage entrepreneurs at every level along the business journey. In addition to the continuous support from my family and friends, I have received support and training from a handful of various service organizations, corporations, nonprofit organizations and networking groups.

Q. What is the origin of the business?
A. In 2006, I started my first cookie company, Favorable Treats, at a local farmer’s market and a few pop-up shops. I operated Favorable Treats for 12 years, however, I had to stop and restart my business on three separate occasions due to a toxic and abusive relationship. Each time that I restarted Favorable Treats, I would experience a little more growth than the previous time, but it was a painfully difficult process….READ FULL ARTICLE


You can hear from startups like this one each Wednesday, 9-10 a.m. at the James J. Hill Center during 1 Million Cups St. Paul. The James J. Hill Center is a nonprofit in downtown St. Paul that provides access to business research, educational programming and a place to work. The Hill is open to the public 8AM – 4PM, Monday-Thursday. To keep updated on what startup is presenting next or to apply to present, visit www.jjhill.org

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Accelerate & Generate

For startups, financing can be challenging, and often the biggest barrier. Each month we’re focusing on a different financing option in Minnesota for startups and featuring experts in the field. 

Time is the most valuable asset for a company. We meet a lot of founders and it doesn’t matter what vertical they are in or how well the company is doing. There is never enough time in the day or enough days in the week.

As a lean mean growing machine you and your small team wear many hats. You must go raise funds, make sales, plan for the future, hire (and fire) employees, take out the trash and countless other responsibilities. They all take time and effort. At the end of the day, some things fall behind. Often time building relationships with strategic individuals are one of them.

This is where an accelerator comes in to play. One of the biggest value propositions an accelerator can offer is access. What do we mean when we say access? We mean introductions to potential mentors, investors, corporates and other founders in a short amount of time. At gener8tor we make 100+ potential mentor introductions and set up 75+ investor pitches over the span of 12 weeks. If you stop and think about how much time and effort it would take a company to set up and execute 175+ meetings you realize the potential value.

Joining an accelerator means that companies can take chasing strategic introductions off of their to-do list for 12 weeks and beyond. This allows for companies and founders to focus on growth. Our job is to find the best companies and play matchmaker with our network.

This is not the only reason to join an accelerator and for many companies, there are a lot of variables that go into the decision. An accelerator is not for everyone, we are the first to admit it. One question for founders is if they look at this from an objective lens, do they feel the exchange of equity for cash and connections can shorten the timeline to IPO or Exit in a significant manner? If the answer is yes, the financial justification is quite clear. Time is money and we want to save you time!

Surround your company with people, investors, and organizations that help you get there faster. If you’d like to chat and learn more, feel free to connect with me via email adam@gener8tor.com.

Get out there and start something!

Adam is the director of gBETA Medtech, a program of nationally ranked gener8tor. He has previous experience in regulatory affairs, quality assurance, and early-stage product development.

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A Drumstick is Just a Drumstick

Check back each month for the Original Thinker Series as we explore local innovation in entrepreneurship, the arts, and our community one pioneering mind at a time.

Modern drumstick design is fairly standard. Most of us recognize a drumstick as a long, thin, hardwood cylinder with a tapered end. Carl Bennett, lifelong drummer and founder of TREE(3), is challenging all of those conventions.

“It was arrived at strictly by necessity for myself on a really organic level,” says Carl. “I was playing fairly regularly with a blues/classic rock band and we were doing full sets—three hours or four hours at a gig.” To combat fatigue, Carl began wearing bicycle gloves or using essential oils and ointments for his forearm muscles. But neither solution was comprehensive or convenient. So Carl decided to revisit an idea he had as a young drummer.

“As a teenager,” says Carl, “I sawed off the broken end of my broken drumsticks [the tapered end]. They were shorter and I was actually playing like Keith Moon. I was able to play crazy fast stuff and I could play a lot longer.”

Enter the TREE(3) drumstick. Each is a simple cylinder with no tapered end. They are slightly shorter than traditional drumsticks and are made out of American Poplar: a lightweight, slightly flexible material riding the line between softwood and hardwood. They are handmade and sold in trinity sets—“a pair and a spare.”

The TREE(3) design not only solves for fatigue, it makes for faster playing and it recovers a forgotten sound. Carl explains that the tapered tip of the modern drumstick is a tradition passed down from military drummers of the Revolutionary War and before. “They would literally take tree branches and whittle them down with their pocketknives,” says Carl. “They found if they had a tip on there it was a sharper sound. But what was lost all these hundreds of years was a really fat, authoritative sound—the old clubs of the Anglo-Saxon days.”

Carl is an original thinker by nature. Perhaps the key is that he is genuinely curious about the world. Like many great designers or inventors he is interested in how things came to be and what we have lost or gained in the process. Preserve the good of the new and recover the good of the past.

“For many years cars were four wheel vehicles and fairly recently people started thinking they could be three wheels,” says Carl. “It’s just one of those things—somebody has to get back to what this is really all about […] a drumstick is just a drumstick.”

For those marching to the beat of their own drum, Carl Bennett is making your drumsticks.

Check out @tree3drumsticks on Facebook or visit tree3drumsticks.com.


Written by Christopher Christenson, Program & Event Coordinator, at the James J. Hill Center. Have an idea of a person or organization to feature in this series? Send your recommendations to 

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Startup Showcase: They Left Corporate America to Carve Their Niche

Each month the James J. Hill Center interviews 1 Million Cup presenters for the Startup Showcase feature in the Pioneer Press.  Recently we connected with presenters Garrett Faust and Harrison Blankenship. See interview as seen in the Pioneer Press Startup Showcase originally posted on July 14, 2018. 

In a world where trade wars are taking focus artisans can offer a unique view of successful localized manufacturing. According to Brookings Institute’s 2017 report “Five ways the Maker Movement can help catalyze a manufacturing renaissance,” artisans may catapult the next “industrial revival:” “By embracing the do-it-yourself ethos of the maker movement, communities across the country can renew a sense of local community and help rebuild American manufacturing from the ground up.”

Garrett Faust and Harrison Blankenship of Uptown Woodworks are a perfect example of that very ideal. After discovering their need for personal creativity, they made a successful departure from corporate America to create customized wood art with a local flare. Their fusion of talent, skill and curiosity define the future of the “maker-nation” and is truly an example of entrepreneurial success.


Names: Garrett Faust, Harrison Blankenship
Ages: Garrett: 27; Harrison: 27
City you live in: Garrett: St. Louis Park; Harrison: Minneapolis (North Loop)
College attended: Garrett: University of St. Thomas; Harrison: Gustavus Adolphus College


Name of company: Uptown Woodworks
Website: www.uptownwoodworks.com
Instagram: @uptown.woodworks
Business Start Date: March 4, 2016
Number of Employees: 2
Number of Customers: as of June 4: 738


Q. What led to this point?

A. Garrett: I spent most of my childhood playing sports and doing things outdoors. I was always curious about how things were built and worked, which is probably what led me to get an engineering degree from the University of St. Thomas. During my senior year at St. Thomas, I took some entrepreneurial electives and fell in love with it. Once I graduated, I felt compelled to at least give engineering a shot since I had just spent four years earning the degree. It was when I was working for Rockwell Automation in 2015-16 that I felt the need for a creative outlet, which led me to find Nordeast Makers, the maker space that is now home to Uptown Woodworks.

Harrison: I grew up in the Lake Minnetonka area and have always been obsessed with lake life and the outdoors. My father was what I like to call a renaissance man. He was an entrepreneur, pro race car driver, private pilot, lifelong maker, hunter, world traveler, etc. He and my mother really inspired me to have a lot of interests growing up, some of which include DIY projects, being outdoors, playing the drums and a lot of drawing/designing. For the last five years, I have been doing paid social strategy and more recently doing the strategy for major brands. Once I saw what Garrett was working on, that creative side of me re-awakened. My marketing and social media experience complimented Garrett’s expertise perfectly. Two years later, we’re still having fun.

Q. What is your business?
A. Uptown Woodworks creates custom and personalized wooden wall art for both consumers and businesses. We take requests for custom wooden wall art and work with customers to design their vision. After a proof is finalized, we create the wooden wall art out of our shop in Northeast Minneapolis using laser cutters, a CNC router, as well as other typical woodworking equipment.

Q. Where do you go for help when you need it?
A. Over the past couple years we have developed a network of individuals and local businesses we can reach out to when we need advice. We think the most important thing is to get involved in the community. Attending events like 1 Million Cups, and other Meetups around town are a great way to make connections. It’s amazing how this small business community wants to help one another by sharing knowledge, resources, connections and opportunities.

Q. What is the origin of the business?

A. Around Christmas 2015, Garrett was looking for creative outlets outside of his day job and found Nordeast Makers in Northeast Minneapolis. With just a monthly fee, the maker’s space gave him access to heavy duty equipment including laser cutter/engravers, CNC routers, 3D printers, and other tools. With a mechanical engineering background, Garrett quickly learned how to use the equipment. Around the same time, he and Harrison moved into a new apartment in Uptown.  One of the first things Garrett created at the maker space was a four-foot Minneapolis skyline. When he brought it home, Harrison was blown away by it. This was a light bulb moment. Harrison immediately wanted to get involved in what Garrett had found/started. They saw the State Hockey Tournament was approaching so they impulsively purchased a booth and created different variations of two hockey/tournament related designs. As they created pieces and shared them on their social channels, people began to take interest and ask for custom pieces for themselves. This started to snowball and has since turned into a sustainable business….READ FULL ARTICLE


You can hear from startups like this one each Wednesday, 9-10 a.m. at the James J. Hill Center during 1 Million Cups St. Paul. The James J. Hill Center is a nonprofit in downtown St. Paul that provides access to business research, educational programming and a place to work. The Hill is open to the public 8AM – 4PM, Monday-Thursday. To keep updated on what startup is presenting next or to apply to present, visit www.jjhill.org

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It All Adds Up: Saying Yes to the Unknown

If you’ve followed my monthly posts on the James J. Hill Center blog, you’ve probably noticed that I’m not your “typical” business blogger. Truthfully, when Lily Shaw, External Relations Director, approached me and asked if I was interested in being a contributor, I told her I wasn’t a business blogger. Yes, I absolutely love writing and yes, I am an entrepreneur. However, I had never combined the two, and just like that I was able to disqualify myself based on the unknown. Naturally, I followed up with my most polite, “thank you, but no thank you. Even though my response was a shaky “no”, I was secretly hoping that she would ignore the “no” that I verbalized and listen to the unspoken “yes” that I was silently screaming. Somehow she heard my silent “yes.”

Stepping into the unknown pretty much describes my entire business journey. From my earliest days at farmer’s markets when I was terrified to put my product on display— to many days spent at a vendor’s fair with my modestly decorated table right next to an elaborate booth represented by a nationally known company; I have continuously found myself in that difficult place of saying yes to the unknown. Spoiler alert…saying yes to the unknown has not always worked out in my favor, but I’ll save that for a separate blog post.

There are so many aspects of entrepreneurship that are rooted deeply within the unknown and I’ve just taken another leap. Later this month, I will be surrounded by friends, family, supporters and strangers to share the next chapter of my entrepreneurship journey. I am so excited, but I’m also terrified beyond belief. Daily I have to reassure myself “you’ve planned the work, now work the plan.” I have to remind myself that the dream is always bigger than the dreamer, so give yourself permission to keep growing. And when the thoughts of “what if this does not work” bombard my mind, I have to run to the nearest mirror, stare right back at myself and scream the reminder: “but what if it does work, my dear dreamer, what if it does work.”

As a mission-driven entrepreneur, the heart of my work comes from a very personal place, a very vulnerable place, filled with countless unknown details and life changing experiences. I’ve learned flexibility is a reoccurring appointment on my calendar and building a complementary team is one of the keys to success. I’ve learned that building my sales funnel is the foundation to generating revenue, and maintaining positive cash flow is the cause of my countless gray hairs.

With all of the hard facts and data filling my desktop and the unknown details that have left me “sleepless in the Twin Cities,” there is a force of hope that fuels my drive to keep dreaming, believing and doing. After all, I live by the well-known mantra: she believed she could, so she did!

So, I want to hear from you. What dream or goal have you been putting off because of the unknown details? What is one action that you can take today to get one step closer to achieving that goal? I’d love to here all about it. You can share the details with me by clicking here.

If you are up for a little celebration and the best cookies in town, I invite you to join me at my upcoming launch celebration. You can reserve your free ticket here. If you’d like to keep in touch and follow along on this hop-filled journey, you can like, follow or join me on Facebook and Instagram @junitasjar and on @JunitaLFlowers on Twitter.


You can read more about Junita Flowers on her website junitasjar.com. You can also follow her on Facebook and Instagram.

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Underutilized Research Gems

If your first thought when hearing the phrase “government information,” is a stack of boring, bureaucratic reports, you’re not alone. There’s more to government information, however, than you may realize. Several government agencies regularly produce valuable business intelligence and the James J. Hill Center can direct you to some underutilized gems.

If you’re exploring a new industry, the U.S. Census Bureau should be your first stop. The Census does far more than count people; it counts businesses as well! The Economic Census run every five years and collects data at the sector and industrial level along with information about business expenses and industrial growth. The 2017 Census is scheduled for release soon, so keep an eye on that space for the latest information.

Interested in gleaning public company data from the web? Check out the SEC’s EDGAR search tool. Located on the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission website, this tool allows users to pull certain mandated reports for public companies. These include annual reports (10-K), quarterly reports (10-Q), and special announcements (8-K) along with a variety of other documents. If you’re interested in getting the nitty-gritty information on publicly traded companies, using EDGAR can trim down your time spent searching company websites for glossy annual reports.

Want to learn more about government information and how it pertains to your business? Check out the Hill’s Research Boot Camp series. This accelerated class combines government and subscription database information for a 360-look at how business information is gathered and more importantly, how you can use it to succeed.


Written by Jessica Huffman, Business Outreach Librarian, at the James J. Hill Center. If you have more questions about the reference library at the James J. Hill Center please contact 651-265-5500 or hillreferencelibrary@jjhill.org.

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Startup Showcase: Entrepreneur Meets Restaurateur with New App

Each month the James J. Hill Center interviews 1 Million Cup presenters for the Startup Showcase feature in the Pioneer Press.  Recently we connected with presenter Taranvir Johal. See interview as seen in the Pioneer Press Startup Showcase originally posted on June 30, 2018. 

Talent defies age when it comes to entrepreneurship and 18 year old Taranvir Johal is proof of that. He already owns one company and has developed an app for another. With his eye on the game and his passion clear, Johal loves to “get his hands dirty.” With his new restaurant app Tavolo, he is jumping on the trend of transforming the restaurant experience.

In its first restaurant industry trends report, Skift Megatrends 2018, Skift Table says “restaurants are also looking to new technology to both enhance and — in some cases — define the in-restaurant dining experience … Touch-screen ordering, cashless transactions, and more personalization can make the experience more exciting for a guest.”

Johal has certainly taken a seat at the table and looked ahead at what restaurants need to be successful and his app Tovolo may just be the answer to fight the delivery boom.


Name: Taranvir Johal
Age: 18
City of Birth: Queens, N.Y.
City you live in: Fargo, N.D.
High School Attended: Oak Grove Lutheran High School
College attended: University of Minnesota – Carlson School of Management


Name of company: Tavolo
Website: Tavoloapp.co
Twitter: @tavolo_app
Business Start Date: March 25, 2018
Number of Employees: 4



Q. What led to this point?
A. I am an 18-year-old aspiring entrepreneur that loves to get his hands dirty. I am from Fargo, N.D., and fell in love with entrepreneurship while I was in high school. During my sophomore year, I attended the Yale Young Global Scholars program and met numerous individuals who were pursuing their passions. They inspired me to learn more about what I wanted to do with my life. During my senior year, I participated in the Young Entrepreneurs Academy and launched my first company, Protein+. I just completed my freshman year at the Carlson School of Management and am extremely excited to see what the future has in store.

Q. What is your business?
A. Tavolo is an application that allows users to reserve a table, order, and pay at restaurants through their mobile devices. Moreover, Tavolo provides data to restaurants regarding how specific customers tip, server ratings and reviews, turn time per table, customer preferences, and customer profiles.

Q. Where do you go for help when you need it?
A. We have created an advisory board with individuals who are more experienced and have more business knowledge than us. We selected these people over the course of two months and tried to incorporate individuals who we believed could help propel our company forward.

Q. What is the origin of the business?
A. Our company started during TechStars Startup Weekend. Abdi Hassan, a junior at the University of St. Thomas, pitched the idea to us and (we) loved it. We ended up winning 2nd place at the event and began meeting with numerous entrepreneurs around Minneapolis who loved our idea as well. This eventually led us to speak at 1 Million Cups Saint Paul.

Q. What problems does your business solve?
A. Our business minimizes the time wasted while dining out at restaurants. Tavolo gives users full control of their dining experience. With the click of a button a consumer can order their food, request for a waiter, and even pay for their meal.

Q. Where did you pivot in your company’s journey? What big obstacle or hurdle did you have to overcome?
A. We initially wanted to be an application that allows users to order and pay for their meals prior to arriving to the restaurant. We eventually realized that consumers enjoy adding more items to their meal while they are dining. We decided to pivot and allow users to pay for their meals once they we done dining. We also learned that consumers dislike waiting for their server to come to their table. Therefore, we pivoted by creating a feature on the app that allows users to call their waiter simply by tapping their phone screen….READ FULL ARTICLE



You can hear from startups like this one each Wednesday, 9-10 a.m. at the James J. Hill Center during 1 Million Cups St. Paul. The James J. Hill Center is a nonprofit in downtown St. Paul that provides access to business research, educational programming and a place to work. The Hill is open to the public 8AM – 4PM, Monday-Thursday. To keep updated on what startup is presenting next or to apply to present, visit www.jjhill.org

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Angel Investors and Their Criteria for an Investment

For startups, financing can be challenging, and often the biggest barrier. Each month we’re focusing on a different financing option in Minnesota for startups and featuring experts in the field. 

It is important to first understand that angel investors and VCs all share one thing in common: the need for a return on their investment. This is not philanthropy. Even Impact Investors who may accept lower rates of return, still need that ROI.

After a founder understands this, one must realize that there are angel investors who specialize in an industry while others are “agnostic” meaning they are open to all industries.  Do your homework in advance of contacting investors.

What all investors rate highest in evaluating a deal is the strength of the team.

  • Does the management team have the relevant skills to be successful?
  • The team should bring diverse skill sets to the business.
  • After funding, who would be the first hires to help round out the team?
  • If not the management team, are there mentors or an advisory board to help guide the management team.
  • The gold star is a founder or early team member that has been through the business stages from concept to an exit.
  • Many investors like to see some “skin in the game”. Have the founders invested in their own startup?
  • Passion for their concept
  • Are the founders coachable? Will they listen to others and sift through their advice for better ways to build the company?

A great team can carry a good concept to success. A dysfunctional team can kill the best business models.

Back to the ROI…

Is there an exit in the plan? The business can be very successful but without an exit there is generally no ROI. Ideally, investors would like to see an exit (acquisition or an IPO for example) in 5 to 7 years. There are other ways to structure an exit. This could be a form of revenue sharing or a guaranteed founder buy out of the investors.


David Russick is an established entrepreneur and angel investor. Russick is co-founder, Managing Director, and Board Member of Gopher Angels.  Russick was also founder and CEO of TUBS, Inc., a family owned waste and recycling business operating in the Twin Cities, Denver and Cleveland.   In addition, Russick serves on the Board of Advisors for the Dakota Venture Group.  Russick has been featured in the “Star Tribune,” “Twin Cities Business,” and the “Minneapolis St. Paul Business Journal.” “Twin Cities Business” named him a “2014 People to Know – Finance.”  

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It All Adds Up: Celebrating Growth

When I think about pivotal growth seasons in my life, one of the most memorable, but often scary experiences was becoming a parent. If you’re anything like me and began your parenting journey in the early 2000’s, then you probably owned and/or read one of the books from the series, “What to Expect…”. In spite of the millions of parents before me and the countless times I read and reread from the book series, my growth process of becoming a parent was unique to me. The same is true in the growth process as an entrepreneur and business owner. In spite of the case studies and research published by thousands of entrepreneurs, starting a business is extremely difficult and choosing to remain in business and experience growth is excruciatingly painful. But just like parenting, entrepreneurship adds immeasurable value to my lived experiences.

Over the last 1-1/2 years, I’ve been working with Minneapolis based brand consultants, Neka Creative, to redefine everything about my cookie company. While we’ve just reached the final stages in the planning and development process with a new name and logo, clearly defined messaging and a robust sales and marketing strategy, all of this preparation leads to another pivotal and scary growth process for me. However, just like my anticipation of becoming a new parent, I celebrate the possibilities first, followed by confidently leaning into the very common, yet extremely personal growth process.

The commonalities of the business growth process can be found in the business plan. The personalization of the business growth process is shaped by the life that is breathed into making the business plan a reality. Today, as I anticipate the new life I will infuse into my cookie company I am filled with an abundance of hope. Hope that something as simple as a cookie made from my favorite childhood recipes can be the force behind a movement of a safer, kinder, sweeter world by spreading a message that #HopeMunchesOn!

While the process is very personal, it is never experienced in isolation. As I take another step on my entrepreneurial journey, I’m inviting you to join me. I hope you will join me as I celebrate the re-branding and launch of my life’s work, Junita’s Jar. Stop over and visit the new website, junitasjar.com and stay tuned for more details on our July 31st launch party, which be held at the James J. Hill Center.

Entrepreneurship, just like parenting has been an extremely rewarding gift that has strengthened my character, defined my resilience and influenced my compassion for humanity. And similar to my hopes and dreams as a parent, I am committed to leading a cookie company that inspires good and spreads hope.

I’d love to hear from you. In anticipation of the upcoming launch party, I am looking for stories that reflect a message of #hopemuncheson. If you’d like to share your story, click here to request more information.


You can read more about Junita Flowers on her website junitasjar.com. You can also follow her on Facebook and Instagram.

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