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 the attached BlogTO article.


Although I feel sad, it is what I’d call a “clean sad”, without any feelings of failure, blame, or anger.
We didn’t screw anything up- we ran a great store there and made money.
And no one is to blame for the pandemic (in my humble opinion).
And no organization- government, the landlord, the bank – should be rescuing us: who knows when King & Bay will get back to normal, and there are just too many businesses in the PATH to rescue us all.
So at this time I choose to think about the really great memories of working behind the counter at FCP, both on busy Fridays and Valentine’s Days.
Our 1st Valentine’s Day there- February 14, 2012 – we had no idea what was coming. As Nadia, the high energy Customer Service Manager, and I got ready to open the store for 8 am, we saw a long line start to form…around 7:30 am.
The line snaked well past our sightline and didn’t stop all day, even when we had to pull the grill shut because we just didn’t have anything to sell for an hour or so at a time.
The day ended with selling the last little cupcake to a guy who had stood in line for a very long time, and walked away with just a chocolate peppermint mini to show for it.
We were much better prepared the following years!
And a couple of years later, on Fridays, I would work with Amy, a bright and articulate woman working at PGB in-between educational paths. Our conversations in the lulls between customers covered a range of topics, including the outfits of the well-dressed office workers who walked by:
Do you see those red shoes? They must be 5 inches!
I know other food court tenants in Toronto’s PATH are going through the same tough process and my friend, Marilyn, with an office in downtown Houston tells me that their towers are also barren.
But, I am an optimist and although we are now down to only one store, I still feel incredibly optimistic about the future. I mean, c’mon, it’s cupcakes, they’re not going anywhere!

About the author

Jean Blacklock

Jean opened the popular Prairie Girl Bakery in the financial district of Toronto in 2011. She owned and operated the business until it closed in 2021 as a result of the pandemic’s impact on downtown Toronto. Read more about her background in commerce, law, and entrepreneurship here.

By Jean Blacklock


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