Puzzles that Rock
Puzzles That Rock began one snowy day during a Michigan winter in 2009. We owned a small specialty food store in the seasonal, small, Northern Michigan town of Charlevoix. Matt was recovering from an open heart surgery procedure from a couple months prior. We were struggling, in almost every area of our lives. It felt as though things were snowballing towards disaster. That winter, we started putting together puzzles in our store, as an outlet for us and the kids. Working on a puzzle was a way for us to put everything else aside and work together towards completing something and being able to see the beauty of completion after so much ‘hard’ work. Puzzles have a way of working out, you see so many pieces out of order and somehow, they all end up fitting back together…..that’s why Puzzles really do ROCK!
We’d just finished a jigsaw puzzle. We were sitting at our table in the front window of our store, aka ‘The Human Snow Globe.’ Matt was polishing a new Petoskey Stone. Petoskey Stones are a BIG deal in Michigan! Thousands of people come to Michigan beaches each summer to try to find them. While Matt was working on the stone, our boys, then 3 and 5, were running around in the ‘globe’ and I was finishing up the puzzle when I said, what we now consider life changing words. “Wouldn’t it be fun to put together a Petoskey Stone puzzle next. We should buy one.” As it turned out, there was no such puzzle, and there’s Petoskey Stone EVERYTHING around us!
We discussed this Petoskey Stone puzzle conundrum and came up with two possibilities. One, this was the worst idea we’d ever had…clearly why it had not yet been done. Two, we were quite possibly sitting on this really terrific idea that no one else had thought of doing… YET!
At this piece in our lives, we were borderline bankrupt. We knew that there was a very real possibility that our little store was going to have to close for good. With that possibility in mind, we were determined to go out fighting.
We created and ordered our first batch of the original Petoskey Stone Jigsaw puzzle. 3500 puzzles….GULP! Our tiny garage behind our store was overflowing, literally. Matt began traveling around to our surrounding Northern MI towns in hopes of selling our puzzles to Mom & Pop retailers. Matt’s goal was to sell that first batch in one year. Lucky for us, all 3500 were gone within 8 weeks!
Our snowballing towards disaster started to turn around. Puzzles That Rock complimented our store perfectly. We had time in the Winter season to create more puzzles, puzzles that we thought were creative, unique, challenging, and FUN. Each item collected, all of our designs, and every title chosen has a special meaning to us. Most of our titles have a Petoskey Stone hidden somewhere in the picture.
In 2016, PUZZLES THAT ROCK was successful enough that we were able to sell our store. We spent that summer, our first in Northern Michigan (since becoming parents of now 3 children), doing what we’d always heard families and customers do as summer activities. Looking back at it all, we have been so blessed! A Petoskey Stone puzzle was the best thing that could have happened to us, on so many levels.
THANK YOU! Thank you for spending time with a bunch of people or by yourself, working on piecing together a puzzle. Puzzles are good for the soul. Thank you for liking WHAT we do. We LOVE what we do! Without other puzzle lovers, without YOU, there would be no PUZZLES THAT ROCK!
~Lisa & Matt Claflin