Jean Blacklock

reflections on being an entrepreneur

Latest stories

Tired

This time last year we were three stores and now we are five. And we are gearing up to have a booth at the Grocery Innovation Congress for a not-yet-developed 6-pack of frozen gluten free, vegan and nut free mini cupcakes. I am tired. Not physically tired as I write this but mentally tired. The team is tired in the same way. They don’t say so – but I know they are ready for a period of time when...

Master Chef

Season 10 of Master Chef (U.S.) is down to 10 contestants. The last few people were whittled off during “Sweet Week” with several baking challenges including making macarons. I don’t like macarons and have never tried making them but they look hard. The guest judge for the macarons episode was Candace Nelson, owner of the famous Sprinkles Cupcakes in the States. I took a look at their website –...

Dietary restrictions

Since April 18th we have been nut free at PGB…and we have always offered vegan options as well as gluten free ones. My observations about foodservice businesses catering to diet restrictions and preferences are: You must do it. If you decide not to, recognize you will miss out on a segment of the market – it’s a rare event  that doesn’t have at least one person who is...

City Girl

Saskatchewan is very cold in the winter. Very cold. The first time Andrew went to Saskatoon with me, I told him to plug in the car and he thought I’d lost my mind. Even in his hometown of Montreal, they do not plug in cars. Mostly because of the cold, I knew as a child that I would not spend my life in Saskatchewan and I moved right after university. So it always is a bit of  jolt when...

trite but true

I’ve been sitting here for 15 minutes trying to think of something to write about. Something upbeat and cheerful and yet honest. The clock’s been ticking. Our Brookfield store will open a week or two later than I’d hoped.  We’ve had some personnel changes – we’re still short a few experienced bakers. There’s so much to do to get our training and quality...

“Stakeholders”

Stakeholders is an annoying corporate term that is actually useful shorthand for every group that’s interested in what a company is doing, even if they aren’t necessarily a shareholder. I’m thinking about this because as I sit down to write a blog, I have in my mind recent questions and comments from several stakeholders that are in some ways aligned and in others, not so much...

Talking

I think a lot of our problems, in the world and in our own lives, are because we choose to write rather than talk. By “write” I mean, email, text, post or tweet to make a point…and then wait for the reply email, text, post or tweet. Logically this back and forth should work. And practically it doesn’t. Two recent meetings come to mind. One was a few weeks with some of the PGB team – I mentioned...

Don’t say you don’t know

I listened to a podcast yesterday that made the point that saying “I don’t know” is an attempt to be confused when what is needed is to simply dig down deep and answer the question. The podcaster wasn’t talking about not knowing the answer to a math question or where your son’s socks are – she meant the answer to questions like, Where should my next store be? What should we use as capital? Should...

Bubble Gum Cupcakes

It is June already! In Toronto we had a snowy, stormy winter that reminded me of Saskatchewan. Now  the spring has been cold too so that the arrival of June felt shocking when it is still pretty cool outside. The first week of the month is the post I answer frequently asked questions received by the catering and social media team, and there are some good ones this month. 1. When will PGB open...

Home is where the heart is

In April, I wrote about some of my favourite things. This month, I’ve asked Prairie Girl’s Head Baker; Managing Director;  and Director of Catering & Customer Service, to share some of their favourites and they kindly did so. Reading their lists – and mine again- it occurred to me that there are definitely themes, themes that I think are pretty universal. None of us included anything of any...

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