I dressed up yesterday: make-up, a dress, heels, the whole 9 yards.
I had nowhere to go, not even video meetings.
But I was feeling grumpy and I’m up for anything that may move me from thoughts like, “Maybe this will go on forever” to ones of optimism, even gratitude for this time to retrench.
And yet, it wouldn’t be fair to write a blog a month after closing my business in a pandemic and imply that all is going well.
Many days suck and if that is how it is for you – welcome, come into my world, have some tea.
Of course I can’t literally invite you in for tea, but please don’t feel alone. It sure is hard sometimes right now. For every single one of us.
Anyway, after the last store closed on January 5th, my list of things I would like to do was very long. I think med school was on there, as it always has been. But I have recently learned about the concept of constraint and how we can make the biggest strides by using it.
So I took my top three ideas:
– Finish the book I am writing with the help of Marion Roach Smith
– Re-activate Blacklock Psychotherapy
– Plan a new business
…and I decided to eliminate one.
This was hard but necessary. A pandemic can’t be all about going after goals, there are other things I want to do in this weird time that may not be possible later when I am busier. Earlier this week I spent a bunch of time making five types of bar cookies/candies (bizarrely called dainties where I come from), and packing them into Valentine boxes of baking for our out of town adult kids. I know they are not sitting at their mailboxes waiting for my Neapolitan Bars but, like wearing a dress today, baking gets me through.
Big goal wise, I’ve set aside the book and I have been focusing on my therapy practice and my business ideas.
I am really enjoying seeing psychotherapy clients again, and I am glad to be able to do that via Zoom. It is rewarding and interesting work.
As for business ideas, questions I am mulling over include:
• How important is being nut-free?
• With vegan and gluten-free sales never exceeding 10% of revenue over the ten years, how important is that market?
• Why does Canada not have any cross country shipping of baked goods (like Goldbelly in the United States)?
• Is there an entirely different business I’d like to build, outside of the foodservice industry?
I have so enjoyed hearing from people who have written emails since we closed, some through the Prairie Girl home page, others through my email address at
If you have thoughts to share with me on the business questions I’m asking myself – or your own tips and tricks for staying sane during this time- shoot me an email. I’d love to hear from you.


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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