Puzzle sales exceed expectations

By Darren Lum

Staff reporter

No one ever imagined the sellout success in such a short period of time. A crowd of enthusiastic buyers came to the Haliburton puzzle factory on Friday, Aug. 21, ready to buy TheOccurrence’s most recent puzzle, Heaven on the Hangdog Channel, featuring the painting by Minden painter Wendy Wood.

Sixty puzzles were cut and boxed for sale at the launch, which sold within a few hours, TheOccurrence co-founder Brigitte Gall said.

“At one point, as fast as we were cutting puzzles, that was as fast as people were buying them. We were at capacity inside the shop and had a lineup outside,” she said.

Gall said they sold the entire first run of the 167 puzzles produced at the Puzzle Factory, which is located at 130 Industrial Park Road, Unit 2 in Haliburton.

The puzzle makers have ordered another 500 boxes, which are made off premises, to fill with their popular puzzle.

Wendy Wood’s puzzle is the first in their Canadian Art Series.

Wood said she was happy and shocked at how strong the sales were.

“Holy,” she said, after learning there were another 500 boxes ordered to contain the puzzle.
“I knew we had pretty near sold out from when we had the opening there. They had told me they ordered more, but obviously they’ve ordered even more. So that’s good news,” she said.

Although Wood’s paintings have been made into cards, calendars and prints, this is the first time in the artist’s 30-plus-year career that her work has been made into a puzzle.

Despite what Gall told her about having a following, Wood wasn’t so sure until the sales figures have come back.

“It was like I was hoping they would go well. I kind of figured they would because people [enjoy puzzles]. Yeah, I was actually pleasantly surprised,” she said.

At her studio in Minden, she’s had a small quantity for sale and hopes to have more on hand.
She sold four to one person, who said he was buying them for others and was expecting to return to buy more.

People are staying home more due to the coronavirus pandemic, and Wood said she thought that contributed to the popularity of the puzzles. From her experience working on the puzzle, it’s an ideal challenge to be completed in an afternoon.

Wood hopes sales will remain strong and that there is continued interest well into the Christmas shopping season, particularly if she adds to its promotion.

She’s open to having another piece made into a puzzle, but said it’s likely too soon with one currently available.

The original painting, which depicts a channel located in the 30,000 Islands area of Georgian Bay close to the Parry Sound District, was sold to her husband’s cousin in Bond Head. She produced her work on location two years ago.

Knowing that her painting is not just hanging in a home in Bond Head, but is sitting on study, kitchen and dining room tables across the province makes her laugh.
“It’s kind of surreal,” she said.

Purchase the puzzle at www.TheOccurrence.ca and to check out Wood’s other work see her website wendywood.ca.