From Bookworm to Hummingbird: The Story of Paper June

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Paper June
by Tobias Harvey

The NOTO Arts district has a new ambitious addition on the block. Inspired by her parents, Angie Grau recently opened Paper June, a child friendly bookstore and arts studio. As you take a step inside, there are castles of shelves lined with books, a magical play tent, and a spacious area for children and parents to roam. Paper June is a perfect place to begin stirring the creativity of any child.

Flying into Paper June, it is clear to see it is a place for children to lean into their creative minds and express themselves freely and openly. Designed with a book store in the front and a creative room in the back, Grau plans to spark the imagination of those who need a safe space to create. As a child, Grau was a bookworm. Both of her parents were teachers and books were always an important part of her childhood. She stated,

“I’m positive that seeing my parents read and having them read to me was a big reason for why I, myself, loved books as well.”

Tapping into her creativity, she began to brainstorm how she could turn her passion into a local business that would help those who may be more in tune to their creative side. Grau feels there isn’t much of a community built for children who are more into the arts, compared to the numerous opportunities for children to pick up a sport, but a space to cultivate the imagination and create is limited.

The burst of inspiration to develop the business came from her daughter, Charlotte. When Charlotte began school, Grau believed she would be getting the most experience with art, she was not. Charlotte’s school was not providing adequate time towards the arts, Grau determined, and she began to feel a bigger pull to fill this void within our community. Reminiscing on her childhood, Grau began to brainstorm, work through business development, implement a small pop-up shop to get a feel for the opportunity, then taking the final jump to opening her own business, Paper June. The unique logo, which is a purple piece of paper, folded origami style to make a hummingbird, was developed in memory of her mother. She further explained,

“…a metaphor of a blank sheet of paper. You know you come with something blank and empty, or devoid, and you’re able to create something amazing from that.”

Originally from Scranton, a small town south of Topeka, Grau looks forward to developing her opportunity and helping the lives of others. When describing her journey of building the business, she explained she originally believed other entrepreneurs were competitive and wouldn’t be open to helping; luckily, she realized that is not the case. “So many business owners really are open and they want to share with people and they want to support other business owners because we are our own community,” said Grau. The three most important motivators in her life are family, community, and God. Having a loving and supportive husband and three children, she is excited to continue to develop an open and inviting atmosphere for all children and families.

Paper June is a “childhood dream store” for the creators. Aiming to be a safe place for children to express themselves, learn, grow, and build confidence, Grau hopes to build a community for children who want to tap into their creative minds.

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Kristen Shook

Kristen Shook

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