Junita Flowers had always dreamed of owning a business. She even started down the path, not once but three times. Each time Junita was derailed by something she endured for more than a decade but kept hidden—domestic violence. But Junita’s positive spirit prevailed. She always found the strength to keep going. She never stopped believing. Junita never gave up hope. The fourth time was going to be different.
Junita’s respite from the dark moments in her life was baking. She found great joy in spending time in the kitchen with her children. It was something she loved doing with her own mother and grandmother when she was a kid. Junita used the recipes for cookies, cakes and desserts that had been handed down in her family for generations. It brought back memories of the stories shared around the kitchen table, and it grounded her in a joyful past.
Her original business vision was simple: Share her scratch-made cookies with the world. Junita started by delivering cookie baskets to friends and family during the holidays. As demand for her products increased, she launched a website and sold her cookies online. Eventually Junita began offering frozen cookie dough at premium grocers in the Twin Cities.
As the business continued to grow, so did Junita. She went through a divorce. She began volunteering with organizations that served abused women and families. Junita’s aha moment came when she realized her cookies could help end domestic violence. In addition to providing her kids a good life, Junita could use her business to be the change she wanted to see in the world.
Today, Junita’s Jar is a cookie dough supplier for several college campus food service operations in Minnesota and beyond. Junita has her sights set on comforting college students nationwide with her home-away-from-homemade goodness. She continues to offer her cookies online, including a Cookie Club subscription. And Junita donates a portion of the profits from her sales to support organizations dedicated to ending relationship violence.
Junita also gives back by bringing her unique perspective to the advisory board for Women’s Entrepreneurship Day Minnesota (WED MN), the Minnesota chapter of a global initiative dedicated to empowering women in business. This year’s WED MN event takes place on November 14 at Minnesota Institute of Arts. Junita will moderate a panel discussion on innovating around equity in entrepreneurship.
There were times when Junita thought the abuse she received might be her fault. She wondered if things would be different if she wasn’t so outspoken. She knows now it had nothing to do with her. She has made it her personal mission to let others in abusive situations know that they are not to blame. And she has made her business mission to “bake hope into every cookie purchase, helping women live their best lives.”
To learn more about Junita’s business, visit JunitasJar.com.
Photo: Junita’s Jar
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