Ali Pokorny’s new store is a perfect fit for Pittsburgh.
In 2020, she founded Puzz, a puzzle company that updates the classic pastime with modern themes.
Like many people, Pokorny has rediscovered the simple joys of puzzling during quarantine.
“I remember going to my grandmother’s house in Washington, PA, and she always had a mystery. This is my earliest memory of puzzles, ”she says. “I have such a hyperactive mind. When you solve a puzzle, your brain can concentrate on the current activity and not on other things. “
Although Pokorny enjoyed the mental challenge, she was frustrated with the selection. Most of the puzzles she found featured cartoon-like kittens, abstract art, or simple landscapes; Images that moved her mind but didn’t necessarily touch her soul.
Pokorny, whose main job is in marketing, turned to some artistic acquaintances with ideas that they thought were funny and relatable.
Artists Nat Thomas and Courtney Powell provided whimsical masterpieces … The 1,000-piece puzzles, which sell for $ 28, have three themes: Taco Tuesday, Plant Lady, and Van Life.
Online sales began just before the holiday season and Puzz was sold out of its 900 box inventory by January 2021.
After replenishing her inventory, she offered local pickups so she met some of her puzzle colleagues who encouraged her to do more. Some customers have even preserved their finished products by framing them and hanging the puzzles on their walls. Pokorny says in the puzzle business that is the highest compliment.
She is currently working with more artists to create new designs and 500 piece puzzles for people who want a sense of achievement faster.
Will people keep puzzling now as Covid restrictions are lifted? Pokorny says there is a huge subculture of puzzlers out there that will keep the trend alive.
Throughout the summer, Pokorny will be doing puzzle pop-ups, including one on June 9th at The Salon in Lawrenceville (3706 Butler Street). Guests can sip wine while they solve 150-piece mini-puzzles. Follow Puzz’s Instagram page for event updates.
Upcoming themes include hiking, cafes, and an ode to Pittsburgh.
“A lot of the inspiration comes from the things I find interesting; Things that other people can identify with, ”says Pokorny.
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