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Josh Humble sands a Brazilian walnut pocket door in his garage shop at his home in Moorhead, Minn. Humble's business, Finnu Designs, transforms reclaimed wood into barn-style doors, paneling, tables, desks, beds and bars. David Samson/FNS

Fargo business owner switches careers to give back to community

MOORHEAD, Minn. - It is the difficult times in life that sometimes make people all the more grateful for what they have. That was the case recently for Josh Humble of Moorhead.

In August 2013, a teenager drove a car into the side of his garage and into his house. After spending six months making repairs, someone set fire to the same garage.

The day after the fire, he and his wife, Kelly Humble, were scheduled to leave on a mission trip to Westhaven Disabled Children's Home in Jamaica. They ultimately decided to go ahead with the trip.

Humble spent the next several days doing finish carpentry and roofing at the children's home, but he said the biggest lesson in gratitude was spending time with the kids.

He was so grateful his family was safe and healthy. Although their house needed work, he was grateful he still had a house to go home to as well.

What happened in Jamaica and the months after he came back made him realize he wanted to pursue a career that would give him the opportunity to give back to his community and the world.

"When you know you want to make a difference, then you figure out what resources you have to offer in this world," Humble said.

In his case, he turned his woodworking and furniture design hobby into a new business called Finnu Designs.

"The purpose is to use Finnu as a tool to help others," Humble said. "My plan is to give a percentage of profits to others in need."

So far his projects have included interior barn-style doors, paneling, tables, desks, beds and bars made of reclaimed wood.

If he doesn't use reclaimed wood, Humble tries to use wood from trees that are dying and need to come down anyway.

"My goal is to create clean, simple and modern designs in a sustainable way," Humble said.

He often collaborates with Seth Carlson, owner of ICSS Supply Co. of Fargo.

Carlson buys and sells reclaimed wood to builders, architects and homeowners. His specialty is not necessarily how to use the wood, so if customers want design advice, he refers them to Humble.

"Every single client I have compliments him and loves how fun he is to work with and how creative he is," Carlson said.

One client was Nina Wentz of West Fargo. She hired Humble to install a barn door in her basement.

From picking out the right wood to use, to the finish coats, to the accents, Wentz said everything was perfect.

"I wanted something that was more or less a piece of art and not just another door," Wentz said. "He was the perfect fit for us."

Humble has also earned praise from Carlson for his furniture designs. Carlson explained that Humble does not use reclaimed wood in the traditional sense, either in a rustic style or by reprocessing it to the point it no longer looks like reclaimed wood.

"Josh has taken it a step further where he actually utilizes the reclaimed wood and the look and feel and history of it, but he actually creates modern pieces," Carlson said.

He thinks Humble's pieces will outlast the rustic look popular today.

While most of his pieces have been custom orders thus far, he intends to create a line of furniture to sell online.

Humble said Finnu Designs was made possible thanks to the support of his friends, neighbors, church, family and especially his wife.

"She is my rock and fuel. I'm the engine, and we are really both steering the car," Humble said.

Thanks to the Clay County Restorative Justice Program, the couple has also made peace with the teen who hit their house.

Restorative Justice brings together the offender and victim of a crime with the goal of finding a way to repair the harm done.

This March, the Humbles are returning to Jamaica for another mission trip and plan to bring the teen along.

They raised the funds to make this possible with the help of members of Hope Lutheran Church South.

For Humble, it's about coming full circle.

"Something bad has turned into something good," he said.

BUSINESS PROFILE

What: Finnu Designs

Contact: email josh@finnudesigns.com or search for "finnu designs" on Facebook.

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