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Making an IMPACT: Local crew sets out to begin book binding business

From left to right the people behind the IMPACT Book business: Amity Gray, Jennifer Juni, and Joel Juni. Submitted Photo1 / 2
The IMPACT book is generated from comments friends leave on a website. Submitted Photo2 / 2

A few years ago, Detroit Lakes woman Jennifer Juni was having a conversation with her husband that blew her mind. She says he was feeling down, saying he didn't know if he'd ever done anything that mattered, and Juni couldn't believe it. As an outsider looking in, Juni could see her husband's impact in the community as a youth sports coach and a pastor who is also very involved with the Young Life community in the area, but her husband Joel couldn't.

That's when the gears started turning in Juni's mind. She decided to message people who knew her husband and ask them to share a memory they had about him, whether it was how he had helped them or just made them smile or any other way he had impacted their lives. What resulted was a book Juni compiled all of the affirmations in and an idea to make these books available to anyone who wanted one.

"I feel like with social media people don't feel a need to send cards," said Juni, explaining a disconnect she sees happening in society, causing people to question their worth. "In that quick communication, there is a lack of emotion."

Not to mention, Juni says she's noticed how social media lends itself to an easy spread of negativity and "bashing," so she's decided to turn her book idea into a way to turn back the clock, to get back to the good ol' days when people sent actual cards and letters.

"I've held onto every letter I've received," said Juni, adding that she feels--and research shows--that getting a physical card and letter has a longer-lasting impact than an email or direct message on social media.

Juni says she's also noticed a trend: when kind words are said about someone, too often, it's at their funeral, too late for them to hear themselves the impact they've had in a person's life and in a community as a whole.

That's the idea behind her book business: to make a greater social impact by making a book showing people just how they've impacted others.

Juni started the business with a soft opening, making the first book for her husband and then a few others for close friends, and she says so far the reaction has been great.

"When I gave it to him (her husband), and he started reading it, he just started crying," said Juni.

Another person who has been a recipient of an IMPACT book is Detroit Lakes guy Peter Paulson.

"He (Paulson) was left speechless," said Juni. "If you know anything about Pete, that's impossible."

The other few who have received books have had similar reactions, and Juni (along with Joel Juni, her husband, and Amity Gray, her fellow business partners) is getting ready to really launch the business Nov. 1, though they're taking pre-orders as of Oct. 1.

The way it's set up, when someone orders a book, Juni and her team set up a website where people can be invited to leave a memory, affirmation, or word of encouragement for someone. (The websites are private, so only those invited can visit them). From there, the information is collected into Google sheets, and they are able to use that information to design a book in InDesign. The book is then sent off to a publisher, though Juni says they're hoping save up enough cash to buy their own publishing equipment to be able to do all the publishing and bookbinding in-house (currently their basement but, in the future, they will be looking into opening a shop in Detroit Lakes).

"We're just really ready to be cranking it out really," said Juni.

Those interested in learning more or placing an order can visit www.impact-book.com

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