Greg Dufort stands by one of his golf carts

Veteran-Owned business creates a fun escape with Puzzle Rides

U.S. Marine Corps veteran Gregg Dufort is no stranger to adversity. He says, “In truth, sometimes the only way to overcome things is to get through them.  Time can be your ally when life throws you unexpected hurdles – not everything has to be “dealt with” immediately.”

His business Puzzle Rides took years to build. Along the way, he faced many trials, including a stalled launch due to Covid, dealing with the loss of family members, a loss of employment, his traumatic brain injury (TBI), struggling with a lack of capital, and managing the assets they owned for their business. So, he picked himself up, dusted off, and kept going based on a belief that he’d like to have a retirement career – something he could do that didn’t seem like work. That’s when Puzzle Rides became his full-time job.

The idea came to him and his wife during a car ride to California. Their daughter had an upcoming birthday, and they discussed making an escape room for family activities.

“We booked an escape room when we got home and took all four kids (teens and early twenties). The six of us made it out – and my wife and I knew we had a workable idea.  Granted, we had to learn game theory first…but it was a very entertaining ride,” said Dufort.

Surmounting the challenges, though, took time.  Dufort said caregiving wasn’t in their business plan, but they committed to prioritizing his father-in-law’s needs. They also accepted help when it was offered. In fact, his youngest daughter moved home for the months of his life to help. Hospice of the Valley and his father-in-law’s VA benefits also provided relief. Like many people facing the “sandwich generation issues”, Dufort realized they didn’t have to do everything” independently.

He credits his military training as a Marine for his success.

“In the Marines, we know the mission gets accomplished at all costs. For us, that meant never giving up on the business. In the Corp, we had to adapt to achieve mission goals – be creative, be resourceful, and have a backup plan. When Covid hit, we moved to our backup plan – opening in Prescott instead. When I lost my job, we pushed up an opening in Scottsdale and committed to our business being my only job.  We had multiple opportunities in which we could have let it go – but we refused. Semper Fi – the Marine Corp motto – meant being faithful to the business plan, sticking with the process, and to the core values we had set forth,” he said.

You can learn more about Puzzle Rides online at

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