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—Photograph by Carmel Zucker

A Piece of Boulder

A Boulder puzzle maker brings his unique jigsaws to the Pearl Street Mall.

For nearly a decade, Boulder-based Liberty Puzzles has distributed its intricate wooden jigsaws to big-name accounts such as Barneys New York, Anthropologie, art museums, and even the White House Historical Association’s gift shop. In October, though, 47-year-old founder and owner Chris Wirth brought his handcrafted masterworks back home by opening his first brick-and-mortar store on the Pearl Street Mall. Wirth fell in love with puzzles as a teenager when his mother inherited a bevy of antique versions, and he launched the company in 2005. He builds the typically 13-by-17-inch puzzles—which portray everything from the “Mona Lisa” to vintage maps and beautiful landscapes—using quarter-inch-thick boards of maple plywood inside a facility on 49th Street. The process to construct custom orders (usually around $100, with an average of 500 pieces) can take a few days. Wirth says growth has been steady during the company’s lifespan. Still, he says, the Pearl Street shop’s opening was a “major landmark” for Liberty Puzzles. You might say it was precisely the next piece he needed.

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