Happy Birthday


Last week was PGB’s 3rd anniversary and every year on April 1st, I think about opening day and the chaos that it was! Sometimes I wonder whether any new business opens perfectly? There are just things that you don’t think about in the planning stages which you can only see as requirements once customers come in the doors.


In our case, on April 1st, 2011, some of the things we did right were: having a good product (although a lot of tweaks and changes were still to come), doing a media release, having bags with logos ready to go as well as stickers so as to “brand” the boxes, knowing the type of customer service we wanted to offer, and having a kick-ass technology platform/point of sales system thanks to my husband Andrew who loves technology and right from the start of the planning process, took on the technology requirements of the business.


In the list of what we lacked on opening day, I must admit the following is just a small portion of those items because as I said above, you don’t know what you don’t know at first. But here goes:

– I hadn’t really matched up the size of the cupcakes (especially the minis) to the boxes the result being that the minis slid around on the bottom of the box….

– the bags were only in one size and thus were too big for many of the boxes causing accidents for customers on the way home…

– we were way short staffed both out front and in the kitchen…

– the two 4-pan ovens were too small…

– we had not thought properly about cleaning/laundry/bookkeeping.

The last point caused some bickering between Andrew and I in the early weeks because we were so darn tired from doing the – yeah – cleaning/laundry/bookkeeping ourselves in addition to everything else at the bakery and – oh yes! – Andrew’s real job at the bank! (Andrew took vacation time to open the store with me but even the best of vacations must come to an end ha ha).

Unknown-1On a happier note, the night before the 3rd anniversary,  the PGB team gathered at our house for a 3rd birthday party, perfectly timed with some painting being done in our house so the place was bare other than balloons in PGB colours. I have the best team!! Here are a couple of pix – in one, Thalia (Yorkville manager of customer service) and me- and in the other, Amy, (overall manager of customer service), Margarita (event specialist) and Carly (manager, finance & ops).Unknown


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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