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. After so many years of meeting the public in our retail store, Michael and Pat are starting a new adventure. We have moved our workshop and home to a beautiful redwood grove near Philo , California . The Grove has been in the family almost 50 years – our children and grandchildren have been coming here since they were tots. We will continue to make puzzles for our web store (we really enjoy making them!), but expect there will be plenty of time for Scrabble, reading, traveling and fishing!