Puzzles Just the Right Addition to our Product Mix
Our store has always carried a few jigsaw puzzles. We would get some Melissa and Doug puzzles from Send the Light (STL) and would buy bargain ones occasionally from Book Depot. When we stopped buying from Book Depot and STL closed, it created a product gap that wasn’t urgent, but over 60 days we investigated various possibilities by speaking with three different dealers.
In the end we settled on Cobble Hill from Outset Media. There were already two other dealers in our town (plus two Christmas pop-up stores) but both of these stores are closing in 2017 if not sold. We placed our initial order for 24 pieces (we’re a smaller market) on October 31st, needed another dozen just weeks later, and another 24 two weeks before Christmas. We discovered that the product line had good brand recognition and people liked the designs. Before accepting our first order, the sales rep informed us of other dealers in our area so that we could go in with eyes wide open. It’s important to remember that the people who shop in your store don’t necessarily shop in their stores.
The company is based in BC, but our orders ship from a warehouse in Brampton. 1,000-piece puzzles are the most popular, but the 275-piece Easy Handling ones are recommended for seniors. There are also 2,000-piece and 400-piece, that latter are called Family Puzzles. Most retail for $19.99 Canadian, and they recommend ordering 12, 24, or 36 assorted pieces to maximize shipping efficiency. There are also 3′ x 2′ floor puzzles for kids at $16.99 Cdn. Outset also represents several lines of board and card games. Because we play it in our home, we also purchased a regular and large print edition of Rummikub, both of which sold.
If our experience is any indication, I can’t recommend this product line enough. It’s good wholesome fun and once you opt in, you’ll be surprised how many customers surface who are into puzzles. Our sales rep is Shelley Rouse, and you can reach her at 1-877-592-7374 ext. 218. You can choose your first items from the website, www.outsetmedia.com, but if they offer you the product binder, take it; I sold four 2,000 piece puzzles — those are $29.99 retail — to a customer thumbing through the catalogue. Tell Shelley that Paul at Searchlight sent you!
Image: These doughnuts are one of the company’s bestsellers.