Photo: William Hurst
Made Here. Shipped Everywhere.
Rick Kollath - July 2018
If you are shopping in Frost River and come across a puzzle with a train, plane, and ship that catches your eye, then notice that same image on the garage door on the back of their building, you may think, “Hey, they turned that mural into a puzzle. Cool!”
You’d be wrong. The puzzle came first.
It all started when Frost River’s owner Chris Benson started carrying playing cards and his card supplier started to offer puzzles, too. He wanted to create a puzzle for the store and contacted Duluth illustrator Rick Kollath who also does the illustrations for the Frost River catalog for the job.
In order to highlight both the locally-focused business model as well as online and catalog business at the time, the theme “Made Here. Shipped Everywhere.” was chosen. Kollath was inspired by a French gouache illustration and added a few Easter eggs to the transit-inspired puzzle: the ship’s name Duffer was the name of one of Benson’s dogs and the “1910” on the train is the street address of the Frost River store.
You may think that puzzle would be immediately available for purchase.
Because it had been commissioned for the Duluth Puzzle Derby, the puzzle was held in secret until after the competition. Once debuted in April of 2018, it immediately became a store favorite – particularly during the Christmas holiday season – and is still sold in store and online today.
As Benson thought about adding some interest to the back of their building, he decided Made Here. Shipped Everywhere. puzzle art and the subsequent catalog cover should have a place of honor. In the summer of 2019, it was enlarged and applied to the garage door that opens directly into the shipping department – a most fitting location for a very site-specific image.
Photos: Chris Benson, William Hurst
Frost River, 1910 W Superior St (W Michigan-facing garage door)