Sunday here in Chatham Ma where we are enjoying sun, clams and golf between fog banks. Actually doing some Atlantis thinking.
Please allow me to toot my own horn. I was reading the current issue of Consumer Reports the other day and came across an article titled “What’s wrong with customer service?” Things like this always interest me because I truly feel everyone at Stave does their absolute best to really be the best and I am so proud of that.
Consumer Reports surveyed 1000 consumers nationwide to find the customer-service related problems that bother them the most. The biggie? The inability to speak with a real person on the phone. If you call during our regular business hours of 8 am to 5 pm EST, you’ll reach a real live person, guaranteed. There’s no recorded voice saying how much they appreciate your call, telling you to push 1 for customer service, push 2 for whatever. I promise you’ll get a real live person on the end of the line. If you call after hours you’ll get our answering machine, but we do listen to it every morning, so let us know what you need and when we can reach you and we’ll take it from there. More often than not, some of us are still here after five so if we’re doing something that’s easily interrupted, we’ll pick up the phone. Heck, you might even get Steve on the line. How many companies let the President take calls without screening first?! The next time you call, it could be your lucky day!
The second biggest complaint is Rude Salespeople. At Stave, we all love what we do and it shows. If you get me on the phone I might gripe about all the rain we’re getting but that’s as far as it goes. Every single person here knows that you are our top priority and will do their best to make you feel it. If your little Biscuit eats a puzzle piece from your Timeshare puzzle for the fifth time, I bet Tammy will still be as sweet as honey when you call to confess.
The rest of the article was interesting, and honestly, I think we rate very high on them all. The only category we might struggle with a little was the complaint with the lowest rating: “Wait for scheduled repair person.” Even though you aren’t sitting at home waiting for one of us to show up, you might still experience the same feelings if you need a replacement piece made. Cutting those replacement pieces is Tough, with a capital T, so we tend to put those off until we have several to do. But give us a delivery date, and we’ll meet it every time!
I thought long and hard about what it is that makes us successful in providing great service and after the smoke cleared I came up with this: Steve has given us the power to do the right thing. I know if you call up tomorrow and tell me that “Olivia”, a 5-bolt Trick puzzle, is way too hard for you, I’ll tell you flat out to send it back. And I’ll do it with full confidence knowing I’ll be supported in my decision no matter if you decide you want to trade the puzzle for a simpler Trick puzzle (we’ll never tell), a different type of puzzle or even a refund. We want our puzzlers to gaze upon their little blue and green puzzle boxes with anticipation and glee, not dread, and Steve has made sure we all know we need to do whatever it takes to keep Stave one of your favorite places to do business with.
Put us to the test. -Jennifer
Time for Some R&R
Woo Hoo!! My family and I are headed off to Maine pretty soon, and I can’t wait! I want to spend my days laying in the sun relaxing, maybe with my iPod and with a puzzle. Ever since I got home from school for summer break, I feel like I haven’t had very much time to relax.
Between my internship here at Stave and my other job at the local general store, Dan & Whit’s, I’m busy every day. This is going to be a really nice break for me. I know it sounds a little crazy to want to bring your work with you when you go on vacation, but that’s just what I’m planning to do. I’ve been trying to decide which puzzle I should bring with me by looking at the Stave website. There are just too many great choices! I know I want it to be some kind of beach scene, and I want it to be pretty big since I know everyone is going to want to help put it together, but I just can’t decide.
I’m torn between Favorite Beach House, Beachside, and Maine Regatta. Which one do you think I should choose? I would love to hear what you think so after taking a look here, visit my PuzzleNuts page (www.stavepuzzlenuts.com/profile/MadisonPerrin) and let me know which puzzle you think I should bring with me.
Other than puzzling on my vacation, I plan on spending a lot of my time tanning on the beach, hanging with my family, going for a few runs and hopefully getting to spend some quiet time working on my paintings. And while I’m soaking up the sun and relaxing, you know I’ll be thinking about everyone working hard back here at Stave!
We all know how nice it is to get real mail in the mailbox. Junk mail and bills come frequently but how often do you find a note from a friend or a card from ‘Aunt Margot’ in Chicago? Not often enough!
Thankfully, that’s not the case at Stave. It’s not uncommon for Martha to call out, “We got a note from Mrs. Fill in the Blank today!” and then she’ll read it aloud to those within earshot of the mail desk. When we hold our shop meeting twice a month, Tammy is always sharing your notes and cards with us. It makes us feel great! Thank you soooo much!
Let me share the love with you. Here are a few quotes from fan mail we’ve received over the years. It’s pretty plain to see this is why we love what we do. Help keep our mailman busy. Send a card today! -Jennifer
“One by one, family members drifted over to the puzzle table to ‘just have a look’. Minutes passed… brows furrowed…and then their hands twitched towards pieces…Mind you, these are people who think puzzles are boring” D.M., Lancaster, PA
“She told me next to her diamond engagement ring, this was the best gift she had ever received in her life.”
C.C., Virginia Beach, VA
“You guys definitely live up to your reputation…thanks for the hours of maddening, frustrating, amazing fun!”
E.M., Columbus, MD
“I can’t remember when I’ve had so much fun with a company I’m sending lots of money to!” M.M., Louisville, KY
“Working your puzzles helps my wife get rid of the other stuff in her head.” G.H., San Antonio, TX
“If puzzling makes your brain sharp, I’m a buzz saw by now.” C.Z., Southbury, CT
“The cutting is so marvelous, mean and creative…I can’t begin to tell you what it did to my vocabulary, it’s unmentionable.”
G.B., St. Louis, MO
“Thanks again for all the pleasure (and frustration) of your puzzles. I enjoy watching my wife do them, and now and then I find a piece or two. Your puzzles are by far the best we’ve ever seen- the quality with which they are made, the care to detail, the intricate cutting, all bespeak a labor of love. Keep up the good work.” H.A.M. Downey, CA
“It was everything I expected and more.” H.K., Reno, NV
“In this topsy-turvy world we live in those puzzles of yours provide great joy (and some pain) for me.” A.D., Tenafly, NJ
Please Mr. Postman, look and see, oh yeah, if there’s a letter in your bag for me… Jennifer
Chance of a Lifetime
Hello everyone!! As most of you probably know by now, Barbara Bush stopped by Stave for a tour last week. All I can say is, “Wow, how cool!” Getting to meet the First Lady was so amazing, I mean how many internships give you an experience like that? Not too many! Mrs. Bush made us all feel comfortable and had a great sense of humor. She was very patient and happy to pose for a bunch of pictures with everyone. It’s great to have something to help us remember the day. Mrs. Bush even took the time for a photo with me, the lowly intern. My mom, Jennifer, and I did a group shot with her. Mom told Mrs. Bush she was a “rose between two thorns” and she thought that was quite funny. It was such an honor to have Mrs. Bush take the time to come visit the Stave shop and we are very thankful for the honor of puzzling her and her family.
On another note, who’s ready for Father’s Day? Have you picked out which puzzle you’re going to give to your dad? There are so many amazing choices, I bet some of you don’t even know where to start. Well, just in case you are having a hard time, here are a few pointers to help you pick out the perfect puzzle for your dad to help show him how much you love and appreciate him:
First, think of something your dad loves to do; like play tennis, cook, read a good book, build something-you get the idea.
Then, check out the Stave website and use the Puzzling Gift Ideas For Dad link we have set up. You’ll see some really great suggestions on there, but don’t let that limit you. The choices are endless! You could even send us a family photo or a children’s drawing to cut into a puzzle. Get creative and call Stave today! -Madi
A Bonding Experience
Many of you may know that Stave Puzzles is a very family oriented place to work. After having kids, several of us returned to work with a diaper bag over our shoulder and a baby in our arms. It’s the perfect place to bring an infant: a shop filled with all women. Except Steve, of course!
My son, Tyler, was born in 1989. I took a couple months off then returned to work with him in tow. He was a colicky baby so it wasn’t always easy but when I needed a break there were always another pair of arms ready to take him. One of his favorite places to sleep, when he did sleep, was on his pillow in Paula’s desk drawer. It was opened, of course!
In 1991 , my daughter, Madison, arrived. She had round cheeks and a bald head and was the best natured baby you could ask for. Once again, I took a few months off and then returned to work with Madi coming along. She was happy to sit in her bouncy seat or lay on the floor on her blanket and babbled to anyone who took a few minutes to visit with her.
Over the years, Madi continued to be a familiar face at Stave, coming in during school vacations, after a doctor’s appointment, etc. I’ll never forget the day she told me she wanted to have Steve’s job some day. The kid has aspirations!
Madi’s almost 20 now and is attending college in Boston. She couldn’t find a program to get her degree in Tormenting so she’s studying Communication Journalism, instead. A month ago she asked me if she could do an internship at Stave this summer. My response? No way! I’ve got enough to deal with trying to keep myself in line! Thank goodness for Paula, who is always up for a challenge. She’s agreed to take Madi under her wing and give he r the opportunity to see what it’s like to work in one of the best places in the world. You’ll be hearing from Madison periodically over the summer. I hope you enjoy her as much as I do.
Another New Face
Did you me e t Penelope, another new friend at Stave? Penelope is going to be popping up from time to time to introduce new puzzle designs, share information and lots more. She’s a true puzzle fanatic so she’s the perfect person to make suggestions and answer any questions you might have. Keep a look out for her in future mailings and on our web site. I think you’re going to love her.
Hello fellow puzzle lovers!! My name is Madison Perrin and I am the new Stave summer intern. I’m also Jennifer’s daughter, so you know I’ve got a lot of work ahead of me if I’m going to impress her! I’m so excited to finally be working here. I’ve always wanted Steve’s job, and this might just be the perfect opportunity for me to show off my work skills so by the end of the summer he’ll be handing over the business!! Of course, I’ll also have to hone my puzzle designing skills before that ever happens!
You’ll be hearing from me quite a bit this summer – and since this is our first time meeting, I thought I should tell you a few things about myself. This fall, I will be starting my Junior year at Suffolk University in the wonderful city of Boston, MA. I’m currently studying Communication Journalism and minoring in Foundation Art, so what’s better than an internship at Stave Puzzles?! I’m hoping this internship will whip me into shape so I’ll be ready for the real world once I graduate. Mainly, what I am going to be doing around here is keeping in touch with all of you. I’ll be updating Stave’s blog with fun discussion topics, writing descriptions and copy for new puzzle designs, adding a little bit to my mom’s biweekly newsletter as a guest writer, and keeping up with my new account on StavePuzzlenuts.com. If you’re not a member, yet, be sure to join now and add me as your friend. You can find me under the name of Madison Perrin.
I’m so excited to finally be helping out around here. Like I said before, I would love to get to know all of you. Please feel free to write on my wall or ask me any questions, and I’ll make sure to keep you updated on all the new and exciting things going on around here at Stave. -Madi
P.S. Balancing Act, by Royce B. McClure is my favorite puzzle ever. I love it because of its bright colors and fun vibe. Growing up, my favorite thing to do was collect everything that had anything to do with frogs. When my mom gave me Balancing Act, I couldn’t have been any more excited to start putting it together!! Yep, I’m a puzzle nut, too!
Let Me Fill You In
Our last newsletter was filled with so much news, I had to save some tidbits for later. Now is later, so let me catch you up. Cheryl Johnson, our artist in Maine, has been working on a series of small Teaser puzzles featuring each of the United States. Our goal is to design them at a size and difficulty level that will appeal to everyone. Of course, we started with Vermont. We’re incorporating the state bird, flower, and flag into each puzzle as well as Teaser pieces representing what the state is known for. Did you see the Stave clown? Get ready to travel our beautiful countryside, discovering new things along the way. Once you own your home state you know you’re going to want them all!
Mouse Pad is Susan Greenleaf ’s new Teaser puzzle. As you can see, it’s a play on words so I think it will appeal to all those who are keen on computers. And all you critter lovers will laugh when you see the techno-savvy mice. These little housemates will have you keyed right in to joining them in their mouse pad.
We’ve been brainstorming with Stave artist, Susan Berry, and we’re coming up with great ideas to incorporate into our new Limited Edition puzzle based on the lost city of Atlantis. This project is right up Susan’s alley and she’s already working on preliminary sketches. Steve has sent the first prototype to our ace Tester in Delaware so we should be hearing groans of frustration very soon! The puzzle is shaping up beautifully with lots of neat twists and turns to keep you befuddled and puzzled. Steve’s trickery and Susan’s artwork make this a puzzle not to be missed!
We’ve also got Steve’s new 4- sword Teaser prototype out to test. I cut the first prototype and I had to put it back together with a cheat sheet. I can’t wait to hear the feedback on this new challenge. We gave Molly Delaney the AOK to begin painting our new 2- way Trick kitty design but then promptly pulled her off that project to ask her to work on something else. Don’t worry. We’ll let her get back to it very soon! Do you have any suggestions for its title?
Is That Small Enough?
Waaaaay back when, like in the mid-80s, we offered a cute little puzzle called Blue Mum by artist Piet Mondrian. It was done totally in soft blue with only a few different shades. What made this puzzle so special? It was cut in 100 mini pieces. Instead of our usual two pieces per square inch it had three! Our puzzlers loved it and our cutters did, too. It’s your lucky day because we’re bringing our Minicut style back! Keep your eye out for news of our Mini-cut revival as well as other cutting styles you may have never seen.
I’ve been getting lots of great responses to the rebus game in the Piece of Mind newsletter. Until now! Did I stump you?