Selling pieces of puzzle paradise

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Ballhagen 7

Shelves at Ballhagen’s Puzzles hold more than 1,800 varieties of puzzles in various shapes, materials and styles. The ceiling is a showpiece in itself: It’s decorated with puzzles that the owners have completed over the years.

SLEEPER – Puzzles have been a piece of Mitch Ballhagen’s life since childhood. When he was a kid, “we always had a puzzle up on the table,” he recalls, and notes that he’s slightly expanded the hobby as an adult. “I’ve probably got about five or six other puzzles of my own that are in a room in back that I do.”

Oh, and a store stocked with more than 1,800 different varieties.

That store — located just a stone’s throw from Interstate 44 — is Ballhagen’s Puzzles, a Laclede County business that’s been around for more than a quarter century. “Over 300,000 puzzles have sold in the 25 years just from here,” says Mitch, who along with his wife, Robin, took over the family business in 2015. (more…)