As I’m writing this, Andrew is on a bus to Hopkinton, the town where the Boston Marathon starts. For this marathon and the last one, Andrew worked with a running coach and although we have laughed that if “Coach Kev” said to run into the lake, Andrew would run into the lake, if you ever want to know how to achieve a goal,  watch a determined marathoner up close and personal. It starts with figuring out exactly where you’re at (heart rate wise, speed wise), deciding on the run time goal, and then working with an expert to figure out a day by day plan. Reminds me of a phrase I have heard somewhere along the way – that to succeed at a goal you gotta “plan the work and then work the plan”.

The only little hiccup was Christmas Day in Paris when  Coach Kev had planned a “long run” (two plus hours).  Ok, sure.  Andrew’s an intuitive man and he quickly ditched the marathon plan for that day and ate a croissant.

Anyway, even with all that planning and goal-setting, I am a bundle of nerves at the moment and I bet Andrew is too (no phone of course!). So I will keep myself busy by writing Wednesday’s post – a little competitor analysis we did yesterday by visiting Georgetown Cupcakes, owned by the famous Cupcake Girls.


        The store was busy and deservedly so – the cupcakes were nice and fresh and definitely not from a mix or using subpar ingredients. I enjoyed my “Vanilla 2” a lot. A couple of things I noticed that were interesting – they only had the one gluten free option available;  their daily selection is fairly limited at about 10 different (rotating) types; and their packaging seems fairly bland for the volumes they must do: there’s only one size of bag and the boxes are standard issue pink without a logo or a window.

In terms of service, it was efficient but not friendly. They take the orders at the front and key the flavours you want into the cash register, you then pay and further down the counter there is another team of people who take the order which comes out of a small machine back there and fill it. [see picture below of the area where the orders are filled- you can see the box which spits out the orders on the counter].

I can see why the division  of work makes sense (we usually have people filling orders and another one or two on cash when we get busy) but the part I am curious about is what happens when a customer has a larger order and needs to decide as he or she goes along what to select.

In other words, at PGB we often find that people want to see their box as it is being filled up so they know what to select next and standing there simply stating the order would seem to be daunting to some customers. As well sometimes people decide to order more or less as they make their way through the ordering process. I am not sure what happens at Georgetown when a customer sees his or her order and realizes it is too big or small or the wrong type.

Anyway I am sure that the Cupcake Girls have figured out the system that works best for them! No one in the store seemed to mind being asked for their order upfront…maybe it is a case of customers becoming accustomed to whatever the process is from day one.


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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