The Walleye Magazine
MAKING THE RIGHT PIECE FIT
Local Puzzle-Makers Expanding Business
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 northshorepuzzles.ca.