Michael and Pat Smith's Profile

About

The Puzzle People was started in 1972 by Michael Smith, who was at the time a probation officer, working at a teen detention center.
One Christmas Michael made a wooden USA map puzzle for a young nephew, and came to realize there was real satisfaction in making wooden puzzles as well as the potential for earning a living. Within a year he had shifted over to full-time puzzle manufacturing and sales.

Two major events occurred in 1978: Michael and Pat met, and Michael opened his first store on newly constructed Pier 39 in San Francisco. Through the doors came not only tourist customers, but buyers for mail order catalogs
as well. Over the next decade the little business grew, adding major catalog clients, wholesale accounts, employees, and several puzzle stores. In 1983 Pat accepted Michael's proposal and an early retirement offer from her high-tech job so she…

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  • Joined April 6, 2009

Favorite materials

We use furniture grade birch pylwood which is Formaldehyde free and well sanded, Our colors and finish are non toxic, lead free, water based, We apply two coats of water based finish which may be easily cleaned with a product like Windex

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About

The Puzzle People was started in 1972 by Michael Smith, who was at the time a probation officer, working at a teen detention center.
One Christmas Michael made a wooden USA map puzzle for a young nephew, and came to realize there was real satisfaction in making wooden puzzles as well as the potential for earning a living. Within a year he had shifted over to full-time puzzle manufacturing and sales.

Two major events occurred in 1978: Michael and Pat met, and Michael opened his first store on newly constructed Pier 39 in San Francisco. Through the doors came not only tourist customers, but buyers for mail order catalogs
as well. Over the next decade the little business grew, adding major catalog clients, wholesale accounts, employees, and several puzzle stores. In 1983 Pat accepted Michael's proposal and an early retirement offer from her high-tech job so she could join Michael in a log cabin near the beautiful North Fork of the American River. In 1994 the first grandchild was born, and suddenly traveling to trade shows became less appealing. We've enjoyed the pace and travel involved in being larger, but once we found out how much fun grandkids are, we decided to slow down a bit.

In June of 2010 we closed our store in Colfax and moved to our home in a redwood grove near Philo, CA. This marks the ending of a wonderful phase which included 16 years of giving tours to K-2nd grader school kids from all over Placer County. It also marks the begining of our golden years!
Michael and Pat will continue to make puzzles for our fans, but will no longer have employees or a 9-5 time commitment!

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