The Walleye Magazine


Local Puzzle-Makers Expanding Business

- By Pat Forrest

Jigsaw puzzles, while widely enjoyed since the 1700s, saw a huge surge in popularity during the Depression era, with reports of 10 million of them being sold weekly in the United States. Puzzles offered an escape from the doom and gloom of the time and gave people a sense of achievemen­t as they created order out of chaos. Now in the age of COVID-19, add jigsaw puzzles to the list of creature comforts people are turning to, providing a welcome diversion from the outside world. And once again, they are flying off the shelves, both real and virtual.

Mitchell and Bethany Argue, founders of Thunder Bay’s North Shore Puzzle Company, are capitalizi­ng on this apparent second golden age of jigsaw puzzles. The pair started out by offering customized puzzles using their clients’ favourite photos, but are now branching out into capturing images of iconic local landmarks such as the Sea Lion rock formation in Sleeping Giant Provincial Park. The idea first started at the beginning of April, when the couple was forced to spend more time at home due to the pandemic. They found that they had the time to plan out a jigsaw puzzle business and make more use of their drone and photograph­y equipment. After some research, they found a process to cut and print the puzzles in their home. Even the packaging is manufactur­ed locally, and ordering is a simple online process that enables customers to upload their high-resolution photos and pick their puzzle size, which range from 50 to 500 pieces.

North Shore Puzzle

Company will soon be offering more puzzles of scenic landmarks from around Northweste­rn Ontario, and plans are afoot to collaborat­e with local artists and organizati­ons to highlight what the region has to offer. They are also working with the Canadian Lighthouse­s of Lake Superior to launch puzzles that will promote the work that group has done to restore the lighthouse­s in the area.

Mitchell Argue says that there is a lot of interest and that sales are expected to grow. “Many of our customers have mentioned how much they enjoy spending time putting together a puzzle that has some extra meaning to it. We are going to continue adding more to our website as we expect the interest to really grow around the upcoming holiday season,” he says. “Our puzzles will make unique gifts and be a fun family activity.”

For more informatio­n, visit northshore­

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 ??  ?? Bethany and Mitchell Argue, founders, North Shore Puzzle Company
Bethany and Mitchell Argue, founders, North Shore Puzzle Company

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