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  • Writer's pictureRobert Currer

Puzzle Palooza Etc: The Pieces of Fun


There is something profoundly satisfying about the feeling of fitting the last piece of a jigsaw puzzle into place. You feel that soft sinking as your fingers push the cardboard into the form-fit space. And then suddenly, a jumble of squiggly shapes is transformed into a vivid window to another place. The feeling of completion drapes across your shoulders like a warm blanket.


If you love the feel of a great puzzle, Puzzle Palooza Etc is the place for you. With puzzles bursting from the shelves, they are any puzzler’s dream. But there’s so much more to love than puzzles alone. Read on to discover why Puzzle Palooza Etc should be on every enthusiast’s list.


The Search for the Perfect Puzzle

In the summer of 2012, Donna Sherman attended a wedding. The ceremony was in the Outer Banks. And so she and her friends rented a house for the weekend. During a lull on one of those hot summer days, a friend produced a puzzle. And she discovered, to their mutual delight, Donna’s passion for them. There was only one problem. It was a terrible puzzle.


It was so terrible, in fact, that Donna and her friend could not bring themselves to finish it. Unsatisfied, they went in search of another and stumbled into one of the few true puzzle shops on the East Coast. But what they found was so much more.

Soon Donna and her friend were making a habit of seeking out puzzle stores. They even traveled out of state more than once to immerse themselves in this shared passion. Eventually, it became apparent that only one solution would do. The pair would have to open a puzzle shop of their own. And 9 months after the wedding, Puzzle Palooza Etc was born.

Since opening doors in February 2013, Puzzle Palooza Etc has grown by leaps and bounds. They have had to expand twice, moving to new locations in Occoquan each time. In 2019, Donna became the business's sole owner, leaving her career as a special education teacher to run the store full-time.


Fun Made for One and All

As the name suggests, Puzzle Palooza Etc is a celebration of puzzles of all kinds, shapes, and sizes. Their ample floor space is packed floor to ceiling with puzzles of every design. They carry puzzles for all ages, abilities, and interests with piece counts ranging from 2 to 40,000.


They’re especially proud of their accessible puzzle lines. These puzzles feature designs that accommodate a wide range of visual abilities, cognitive abilities, and motor skills. For example, their Puzzles to Remember line comes with 36 oversized pieces and is designed for individuals living with conditions like dementia or Alzheimer’s. Other large-format lines include as many as 1,000 pieces. And Donna frequently leans on her special education background to advise customers on the best puzzle to challenge their loved ones without frustrating them.

Beyond traditional puzzles, they also carry a full array of board games. This includes classics like Monopoly and Clue. But it also includes newer favorites like Settlers of Catan. They also stock Beanie Babies and non-traditional puzzles such as wooden and 3D varieties. And, of course, they carry accessories for active puzzlers, such as puzzle mats, cases, and mounting glue. So whatever you're looking for, you'll find everything you need to create family fun one piece at a time.


A Special Place for Puzzlers

Being a niche store means Puzzle Palooza Etc is the only puzzle-centric store in Occoquan and Virginia. Where other stores may sell a mere rack of puzzles, Puzzle Palooza Etc has shelf upon shelf devoted to specific puzzle themes. So no matter what kind of puzzle you are looking for, you are sure to find it there.

But inventory is only one facet of what makes this such a special place. At its heart, Puzzle Palooza is about the people. Everyone who works in the store is an active puzzler. In fact, if you peek behind the counter, you'll notice they always have a puzzle of their own going. These experts are always happy to answer questions and help you find exactly what you’re looking for from their selection of over 1,000 puzzles and games.


Discover Puzzle Palooza Etc

If puzzles are your game, there's only one place to go. Check out Puzzle Palooza Etc, just off Mill Street. You're sure to find the perfect puzzle, game, or brainteaser.

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