A Mississippi puzzle store booms as online prices soar during pandemic

Updated: May. 11, 2020 at 9:50 PM CDT
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BILOXI, La. (WVUE) - As stay home orders continue, more and more people turn to one hobby in particular--puzzles.

A puzzler's wonderland can be found in Biloxi, as the largest variety of puzzles in the region sits in Edgewater Mall.

"We were shut down for a total of like three to four weeks, and then we decided one day that we were going to do it over a facebook live so that way we can still ship it to you," Caroline Forrest, an employee at Puzzles USA said.

Forrest says they've seen a spike in business since the pandemic started.

"There's been a lot of people that just buy like 12, 13 puzzles at a time, and we've shipped just big boxes of puzzles to people, and now that the mall's back open, it's picking up a lot more," Forrest said.

As prices soar online, Forrest says people are traveling from all over to get puzzles from the store.

“We were heading to go home, and we got a call. She said she was on her way from New Orleans and they really wanted some puzzles. They walked around the store, and they ended up buying $400 worth of puzzles,” Forrest said.

Some say they decided to buy puzzles from a store, rather than online because it was more cost effective.

"I checked online for puzzles, and I was like nah, I'm not ordering that, but then we just came here cause we ate across the street there, and the price is right," Michael Adair said.

"We've kept our prices the same. We haven't made anything go higher. Cause you know, everybody's out of work just like we were, you know? Nobody's going to want to buy a $40 puzzle," Forrest said.

Some customers say they enjoyed puzzles even before the pandemic.

"I mean, I've always liked puzzles. My God, what person doesn't like a puzzle?" Adair said.

"I've been puzzling since about seven years old," Jackie Rexford said.

They say it's a hobby that calms them during the pandemic.

“Every time I work on a puzzle it’s therapeutic. I’ve actually gone to bed at sunrise because I stayed up all night working on a puzzle,” Rexford said.

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