Puzzling was one of those trends that took off quickly when the pandemic hit and residents were told to stay home and socially distance from others. Toronto-based creative designer Paddy Harrington and printer Rich Pauptit decided to hop on that bandwagon and create puzzles as a way to help struggling local businesses that were forced to shut their doors to customers due to the virus.
“Puzzle sales have skyrocketed as people look for engaging things to do at home,” says Harrington. “We believe that people would prefer to do puzzles of their favourite local spots, while also supporting those businesses — and PieceTogether was born.”
Harrington and Pauptit merged their design and printing talents to create PieceTogether — a project where Harrington works with small business owners to design a puzzle that depicts their restaurant, brewery, fitness studio, etc. Pauptit, who is the president of Toronto printing company Flash Reproduction, then prints the 300-piece puzzles.
Local businesses that are featured in the puzzles currently are Bar Reyna, Shacklands Brewing Co., Rosalinda, The Cameron House, MisfitsStudio, Archive Tattoo and Stackt. Other businesses are encouraged to join the project by creating a profile on the website, wepiecetogether.com and uploading an image to create their own custom puzzle.
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Each custom puzzle sells for $35 and $15 of the purchase price goes directly to the business featured in the puzzle. Customers also have the option to make an additional donation directly to that business at checkout.
“Independent-owned businesses and artists are the heart of the communities they operate in, from restaurants, cafes and breweries, to fitness studios, live music venues and clothing boutiques. With so many of these culturally-significant establishments having a really hard time right now, Rich and I decided that we wanted to do something to help them weather this storm — we want these places to survive,” says Harrington.
Pauptit agrees and says that PieceTogether allows Torontonians to do a fun activity at home while also supporting their favourite local businesses.
“Plus it’s a special keepsake that people will enjoy for years to come,” says Pauptit.