Jean Blacklock

reflections on being an entrepreneur

Latest stories

Becoming nut free

Changing to a nut-free bakery in 2019 deserves a 10/10 rating, but like many worthwhile projects in life, it was a lotta work especially as we were doing it at the same time as building our Woodbine store (we wanted to open that store without ever having had nuts in it). The hardest part was finding all the supplies. They must of course have a nut-free ingredient list but also cannot contain a...

Letting stuff go

I’ve realized that part of change is letting stuff go. My sister’s wedding anniversary is December 29th. That sounds romantic but it was a pain: I was in 2nd year law school with difficult first term classes, there was  Christmas on the farm to get through and Leslie was marrying into a Ukrainian-Canadian family which (we learned) celebrates weddings over a 3 to 4 day period. I am...

The latest on Snackin’ Cakes (TM!)

I’m really excited about our Snackin’ Cakes project! Let’s start with the name: Snackin’ Cakes was a registered trademark of Betty Crocker/General Mills until 2018 – they gave it up just in time for us to register it.  Yes! I think it will be a perfect name for these cute little cakes. Taste-wise, the feedback we received at the Grocery Innovation Congress was really...

Digital advertising

This week in my continuing review of PGB’s changes over the last year I will look at our launch of advertising online. The big picture: digital ads work. Christina, our website and ad manager, often describes ads on Google as the “yellow pages” and ads on Facebook/Instagram as “billboards”. Both types of digital ads work well to increase sales and are fairly cost effective. Having spent ad...

Risky Business

Which of these things increase revenue: opening new stores, recruiting new people, investing in edible printers, creating more appealing boxes and bags, upgrading the online system, or leasing a management office? My answer: all these expenses lead to more revenue. But the last item – leasing a management office – was challenging to wrap my mind around. Whereas the other items are...

Evolving Designer Cakes

In my last post, I listed our 2018-19 changes and promised some detail to come. Here we are at the first one: the revamp of our Designer Cake menu. When we opened in 2011, we only sold cupcakes and I was – in retrospect – annoying on the  topic. People constantly asked for cakes and my answer as the then-catering and customer service manager was that we focused on cupcakes so as to...

The Year of Change

As we head into the  last couple months of 2019,  I’m going to share my thoughts on the changes we’ve made at PGB since October 2018, taking each one at a time. In today’s post I will just list the changes and  then will use today’s post as my outline for the remainder of the year. I will share  how the changes went, which projects went better than others and the...

Vegan, Gluten free & Nut free….PGB Snackin’ Cake

A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned we have a booth at the Grocery Innovation Congress on October 22-23 and that we had a lot of work to do in the meantime. Last week, we met with Mark Terrell who consults in the grocery industry and he was a big help in giving us a clear roadmap to prepare for the show, including samples of appropriate fact sheets and signage and how best to arrange the booth...

Writing A Book

I’ve decided to write a book about changing jobs and the personal impact of career transitions. Its outline is still a little vague but I have met a really great writing coach and I am excited about working with Barbara. In thinking about it, I’ve reflected on what is the same and different among the things I’ve done work-wise. Many of the differences are apparent: different...

And now for something entirely different

Andrew has an encyclopedic knowledge of Seinfeld episodes. He tells me that George in Seinfeld once hatched a plan to do the opposite of whatever he’d usually do: his life was going so badly, why not do the opposite and see what happened? Things went really well for George for awhile under this brilliant approach. I thought of George and his do-opposite idea yesterday. We have a booth at...

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