Courtesy of Ballhagen’s Puzzles
By Abby Holman
Inside Nancy Ballhagen’s Lebanon shop, the shelves are lined with nearly three thousand jigsaw puzzles just waiting to be solved. When she and her husband moved near Interstate 44 in 1989, they knew they had the perfect opportunity for a store.
“We have always liked puzzles,” Nancy says. “We just thought, ‘You know; there are Toys “R” Us, so why can’t there be ‘Puzzles “R” Us?’ ”
The ceiling at Nancy Ballhagen’s Puzzles is comprised of nearly 250 completed puzzles, many of which are rare or out-of-print. Visitors can’t miss the 7,500-piece New York skyline puzzle that is 8.5 feet long. Occasionally, Nancy even makes a few wooden puzzles.
The process of buying and making puzzles is tricky because Nancy must appeal to many tastes. Consequently, her collection ranges from small coffee table puzzles to twenty-four-thousand-piece monsters that she has purchased from about fifty different countries.
Nancy’s family runs the shop, and her son aspires to manage his own puzzle venture.
Update: Nancy retired December 31, 2014. Mitch and Robin Ballhagen took the store over January 1, 2015.