Chapter Closed


I’ve been really busy.
Just this past weekend, I wrote Level 1 of the Chartered Financial Analyst exam and Level 4 of the Environmental, Social and Governance Investing Certificate.
Pretty freaking amazing.
Of course I did not.
Our son, Ted, wrote Level 1 of the CFA and Andrew nailed the ESG exam, so given our limited social lives still, I feel like I did these things too.
These are brutally boring topics.
Would you like to know about the effect of climate change on investors’ risk tolerance, how to calculate the Cash Conversion Cycle or what sort of calculator is allowed into the CFA exam and what to do if the battery dies?
Such was the dinner conversation for days.
That’s ok.  I have been busy with my own activities- seeing clients but also deciding at last on the business I want to pursue.
I will tell you all about my new business very soon.
But today I just want to say: it is not cupcakes or cakes or any business called Prairie Girl Bakery or even Prairie Girl GO, a digital-based-only business idea I had.
There were a few reasons for this decision.
One is, cupcakes are complicated: the required menu diversity, the great care needed in packaging, storing and delivering this fragile and perishable product, and even the extensive inventory of ingredients needed for both the regular menu and the rotating Treats of the Week (dozens of them over a year!).
I’ve also thought a lot about New Coke.
Remember New Coke? What a colossal disaster that was: take a well-regarded brand and decide it needs to be improved.
As I mulled over all the things I would like to do differently in PGB 2.0 that I would see as improvements, it occurred to me that to some customers, any changes to the PGB they remember could be New Coke-like.
And also it has worked well for me to leave closed chapters closed.
After I left BMO, I explored re-entering law or financial services because I really liked those careers, and I tend to be sentimental.
But somehow when I really thought about doing that work again, it lacked a certain sparkle.
I realized that the people I’d met could come with me in my life journey, even if I left the corporate structures.
I met my best friend, Marilyn, the day she started as an articling student in the law firm.
At first we bonded over fashion and recipes. I learned early on she had a disappointing fondness for light desserts and an aversion to horizontal stripes.
The day I told my partners I was leaving to go to BMO, Marilyn gave me the little plastic Minnie Mouse from her desk and wrote me a note:
I’m keeping Mickey. That’s as sentimental as I will get it, but don’t lose Minnie.
And at BMO I made some incredible friends – including Andrew! – and at PGB, well, I never dreamed that I would make friends like Ailish, Andrea and Carly – and meet so many really terrific people who over the years worked at PGB and whom I think of often.
So yeah.
No more Prairie Girl Bakery, no more cupcakes or cakes or boxes with inserts that never really work.
But I have some of the art up on my office wall at home, and a pink neon heart, and incredible knowledge and memories and friendships that I’m taking with me.
More soon!



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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