WATERFORD, Maine — When you are tired of looking at a screen or trying to find an activity for the whole family during the coronavirus, COVID-19 spread, many are turning to an old fashion puzzle to beat the stay-at-home sorrows.
One Maine based puzzle company has been busy during the quarantine while trying to keep people busy with hand-cut wooden jigsaw puzzles.
Waterford Puzzle Company, formerly known as ELMS Puzzles, has made artisan puzzles for more than 30 years. The late Betsy Stuart started the company in 1987 and her husband, Fred, ran the business until he retired at the age of 90. Its new owners, Lizzy Dabczynski-Bean, Spencer Bean, and Joseph Ogden took over in 2018, developing the online store and an improved digital presence.
Many of the woodworkers have remained with the company over the years and Ogden estimates about 80-years of puzzle cutting experience. To keep up with demand during the COVID-19 pandemic, the artisans had to change their operations, limiting people in the shop.
Social Distancing Video
“Everyone uses a scroll saw and a couple of them had room in their homes to move the saws," said Dabczynski-Bean. "They come in and they pick up the artwork that’s mounted on the wood and they take it home so that’s been a really fun adjustment."
If you don’t want a full size, Waterford Puzzle Company offers pocket and mini puzzles. There’s even a program where you can rent puzzles.
“It’s something that really keeps you bright and alert," said Ogden. "Putting puzzles together activates your mind in ways that many other leisure activities don’t.”
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