Jean Blacklock

reflections on being an entrepreneur

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Icing: eat it with a spoon

For a full year from around August 2009 to the fall of 2010, I made a lot of cupcakes and a lot of icing. I’d go to the store and buy 4 pounds of butter at a time because good icing needs a lot of butter. I also bought a lot of cookbooks because although I had baked cupcakes and made icings for years, it is one thing to whip up a batch for family and friends, and another to sell them. Creating...

The Kindness of Strangers

Last week I listened to an interview of Andrew Oliver of Oliver & Bonacini on Leading Through the Crisis. It is an excellent interview – have a listen to really understand the impact of the pandemic on the Canadian foodservice industry. E20. Leading through Crisis Andrew also mentioned the many good things that he has seen including the loyalty of his team and the kindness of their...

Chicken Dinner

I had a tough day on Tuesday. The details don’t matter – think back to your last challenging day and that’s how I was feeling. In response to my tales of woe at dinner, Andrew kindly said, “Wow, you really had a crappy day!!”. Do you know what flashed through my mind right then? It was that even if, instead of having challenging meetings, I had just spent the  day buying lottery tickets and...

Pandemic Progress

I haven’t thought about back-to-school for elementary and secondary students for awhile. Rebecca, our youngest child, graduated from Grade 12 in 2016 . Here’s a post from 2014 in which I mention the four of them   But this year, the Year of the Pandemic, back-to-school for children and teenagers is on all of our minds…another example of the many unusual side effects of a pandemic. Another...

The Power of Small

Early on in the pandemic, I listened to a podcast that asked, When this is all over, what do you want to have accomplished? I’m always up for a good self-development challenge, so I made a list of what I wanted to achieve in the pandemic: Keep my business afloat Eat more fruits and veggies Get a good start on the book I want to write about starting and running a business In making my little list...

Pandemic spending

I started Prairie Girl with a sum of capital, much of which was an inheritance from my beloved parents’ estate. Because I had the capital to spend, I spent it. Not for PGB would there be used bakery equipment, cheap countertops, or plain chef’s jackets by the dozen. No, Prairie Girl Bakery circa 2010-11 had all-new ovens from Quebec, Corian counter tops and chef’s jackets with the logo...

Half Baked Harvest

One of many unexpected joys in the pandemic has been finding a few new bloggers, perhaps the best of which has been Tieghan Gerard of Half Baked Harvest. Her Sunday emails of her 9 favorite things from the week before, has been a bright spot in many a pandemic Sunday when Andrew and I have been doing our best to create a weekend out of air. I found Tieghan when I read about her 2nd cookbook...

#BS #teamevents

I’ve attended, mostly unwillingly, a vast array of team building exercises, events and rituals. So has Andrew and Marilyn and every other employee on the planet. The evening sleigh ride event when I was the bank, Andrew’s afternoon of horseback riding in the Rockies, and Marilyn’s recent team painting class come to mind as just a few examples. Do you know what I remember about that sleigh ride...

A Clean Kind of Sad

About a week ago we decided to not reopen the store in the concourse of First Canadian Place, Canada’s tallest building at the corner of King & Bay. Right until the last day we served customers there (Monday, March 16th), it was so busy: there are/were just so many people in the offices flanking the King & Bay intersection. But it was the right decision for all the reasons I mentioned in...

I Can See Clearly Now

Until this year, I’ve spent my life taking my eyes for granted. In my thirties I had laser surgery to go from Coke-bottle glasses to no glasses. I had both eyes done at the same time. After promising the receptionist that I was on my way home to rest, I returned to the office and watched with amazement as I saw further and further into the Prairie vista as the day went on. (That was in the...

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