Certain businesses and companies have really stepped up to the plate when it comes to our society’s response to the COVID-19 outbreak sweeping the globe, and one great example here is Costco. For starters, this large-scale wholesale distributor has handled the crisis and need for social distancing with great care, serving as one of the first major grocers to introduce themes like customer limits and other safety methods within their stores. 

In addition, many are coming to learn that Costco is the most reliable source for a variety of products that might be hard to find in other locations at this time. And while there are numerous such examples available, one particular industry is nodding their heads in simultaneous agreement: Puzzle manufacturers, such as industry leaders like Dowdle Folk Art.

As puzzles and related games take off in demand and sales during stay-at-home periods, many who were not previously aware are learning that Costco is a top supplier of these items. Here’s a quick primer on Costco, 

What Many Are Learning About Costco and Puzzles

During a normal year, Costco purchases puzzles from top manufacturers like Dowdle Folk Art and others primarily ahead of the holiday season, the time of year when a majority of puzzles tend to be sold. They are one of the top companies out there in terms of sales for specialty jigsaw and other puzzles, which take on heightened popularity during the holiday season to their strong utility as gifts. 

During this unprecedented period in history, however, they’re working to benefit people in other ways down these lines. As Costco has seen major increases in overall sales, they’ve also helped introduce many who weren’t previously aware of their robust puzzle stock to this wide world of entertainment. They offer valuable services like online sales, which are very important at this time for many in high-risk groups who do not want to risk personal contact. 

Puzzles and Economic Uncertainty

You may not have realized it, but certain experts could have actually predicted the massive increases we’ve seen in the sales of puzzles and related games during the outbreak and resulting stay-at-home measures. Such measures were always sure to cause economic issues due to lost jobs and limited demand for many products, and there are multiple historical examples of people turning to puzzles and related activities in times of economic strain.

One perfect example is the Great Depression. Back in 1933, the height of this period, puzzle manufacturers were creating 10 million puzzles per week, an amazing figure when you consider how much smaller the population was at that time. Social programs were set up allowing Americans to rent puzzles for a nickel a night, returning them once they were completed. Many Americans reported feeling more in-control while doing puzzles during a time where control was very hard to find, and many also enjoyed it as a challenge they could overcome. 

Today, similar impacts are taking place as top puzzle manufacturers like Dowdle and others look to fill increasing demand. 

Sales Exploding

For both these and other reasons, it’s no surprise to see puzzle sales and demand absolutely exploding during recent weeks. Most puzzle manufacturers have seen increases of at least 250% in puzzle sales, with some posting increases in demand closer to 1,000% or even higher. Despite these products not necessarily being “essential” to survival, the public has shown how desirable it is to buy jigsaw puzzles from a mental health and entertainment standpoint during this crisis. 

Additional Costco Note

One additional note on Costco that, while technically unrelated, is heartwarming and worth including when discussing shopping at their locations: As of a few weeks ago, Costco locations around the country began allowing first responders and healthcare workers to skip their lines and enter stores faster to fill their needs. First responders include police officers, firefighters, medical staff and any healthcare workers who present an official ID confirming their position. 

This program also includes many stores opening an hour early on at least a few days of the week, allowing only those over 60 or with physical impairments and high COVID-19 risk to enter during these early hours and shop in safety. If you didn’t already have enough motivation to head to Costco for your puzzle and other gaming needs during this crisis, their conscientiousness and willingness to be flexible to those at risk should do the trick.