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Puzzle problem: Store owners are running out of them, and suppliers can't keep up with demand

Posted at 7:57 PM, Apr 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-28 10:56:17-04

MILWAUKEE — There's a puzzle problem sweeping the nation as people continue to stay home due to the coronavirus.

Store owners are running out of puzzles, and suppliers can't make them fast enough to keep up with demand.

Swoon, a variety store on Vliet Street in Milwaukee, said that it had to contact multiple different vendors to ensure one shipment will arrive.

"I think I ordered 30 or 40 total puzzles, and I think I'm going to get nine," Kira Wendel, the owner of Swoon said.

Wendel has been dealing with these issues ever since Gov. Evers' "Safer at Home" order was issued.

"Here we are four weeks later, and I still haven't heard if they are going to ship that order," she said.

You can play the same board game multiple times, but putting together the same puzzle twice isn't the same. It's why people have been buying new puzzles - to stay entertained.

That puts stress on an industry that is working with minimal staff. Wendel said she believes that's why so many orders are backlogged right now.

For example, when you go to Galison's website, a large manufacturer of puzzles, the first thing it says is, "We are unable to take new orders at this time."

CNBC reported that one company said it had seen a 370 percent demand increase for its puzzles.

For the puzzle aficionados out there, you can still buy them, but you may have to wait longer or look harder for them. As for Swoon, they have just a few in stock right now but expect to receive a new shipment the week of April 27.

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