Yorkshire Jigsaw Store enjoys 'explosion' in orders in lockdown during puzzle boom
The Managing Director of the Yorkshire Jigsaw Store said it had enjoyed an "explosion" in orders during lockdown - as the UK celebrates National Puzzle Day.
Joe Rushton, 44, has overseen an incredible boom in business since the first lockdown in March 2020 - with customers from more than 30 countries across the globe placing orders from the online site.
The Yorkshire Jigsaw Store in Easingwold - around 10 miles from York - first opened around five years ago as an addition to the newsagent shop run by Joe’s family for over fifty years.
The business was built slowly by Joe and his family, with a steady increase in customers year on year.
However, the UK has gone puzzle crazy in the past 12 months and orders have rapidly increased on the store's website.
Joe said it is now a struggle to even keep up with the demand - and has successfully hired extra staff to help to cope with the influx of orders and customer service queries.
Joe, speaking to The Yorkshire Post, said he felt very fortunate for the position the shop finds itself in.
He said: "We have grown the online site steadily over the last five years and our customer base had grown pre lockdown. In March, significant orders came in overnight.
"There was a big spike, I was working 16 to 18 hours days to try and keep up with it. We were struggling to even get the stock in to fulfil the orders."
Since the first lockdown, Joe has employed staff to help with the online business during the boom. Trustpilot reviews are flying in rapidly as customers praise the Yorkshire shop.
Popular designs include Tour De Yorkshire and Scarborough seafront.
Joe added: "Anything Yorkshire based is a big hit. People have placed orders from all over the world."
Jigsaws are being sold across the globe - with people from more than 30 different countries placing orders.
Joe explained: "We have had to take more staff on. We were working with a skeleton staff of about four or five of us, nobody was aware of how long the lockdown would last or if we would be able to open up the shop again. Some of the staff were converted to the online side and it has been a success."
Joe said he was aware of how industries are suffering from the impact of Covid and believed he was in a very fortunate position.
He is hoping that the shop's new found customer base will stay long after the pandemic is over.
Joe added: "Many elderly customers who would otherwise have come into the shop have now moved online, which is great. We are looking forward to seeing them back in the store when things return to normal. We have built the store using organic growth and steadily made it into the business it is today.
"We have been massively fortunate in the situation and fortunately had the stock and business ready for the orders when they hit in March. It was a huge explosion. We only sell high quality jigsaws and the reviews have been very good so we are hoping the customers stay with us.
"Covid has been a challenge [for everyone] so we are very lucky. We have had fantastic customer support and look forward to supplying them in the years ahead."