On their first date, this now-married couple decided to open a business
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“My Economy” tells the story of the new economic normal through the eyes of people trying to make it, because we know the only numbers that really matter are the ones in your economy.
In 2006, Aryn Henning Nichols was living with her parents in Decorah, Iowa, working at the local newspaper and waitressing. Her first assignment was a “local boy does good” piece about a Decorah native living in California, so she interviewed him on the phone.
“He came back to visit his parents, and we met for a drink at the place where I was waitressing,” Henning Nichols said. “We hit it off,” said her now-husband Benji Nichols.
“On our first date, I told him about this idea of starting a positive news magazine, and he said, ‘Let’s do it,” Henning Nichols said. “A week later, he asked me to marry him and I said yes. A year after that, we got married, and then a month after that we started Inspire(d) magazine.”
Benji Nichols calls Aryn Henning Nichols “the creative force behind the magazine,” where she assigns stories, creates issue themes, does graphic design and more. He describes himself as the “nuts and bolts,” handling things like logistics and delivering the regional magazine across parts of Iowa, Wisconsin and Minnesota.
“There are a lot of people in our area who have really sketchy internet and may not use it as their main source of information,” Nichols said. “To have a printed piece was something that people really embraced quickly and still embrace now.”
The pandemic paper shortage has posed a challenge for Inspire(d) magazine. Their printer couldn’t get their usual paper, so they switched to a thicker one that caused logistical challenges. Then that new paper ran out, so the Nichols switched to glossy paper.
“Even just in the last year we’ve seen paper prices rise about 40%,” said Benji Nichols, prompting them to raise the magazine’s ad rates for the first time in six years.
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