Lessons learned…again…


It has been a very busy, very intense time at Prairie Girl Bakery.

Often people’s response to the type of business we have at PGB is something like, that sounds delicious,  fun, and pretty! 

Sure. Some of the time it is. But every business is hard work and in the opening of a 5th store, some PGB team members worked way past any form of work-life balance.  I wasn’t aware of the extent of the long hours and instead of showing support at a time I should have been showing support, I reacted in frustration when something came up. The details are less important than the basic point that emailing or speaking in frustration is not smart, it’s dumb.

The thing is,  I know if you are the type of person who reads a blog on being an entrepreneur, you’ve likely read or heard the advice about not reacting in frustration about a hundred times.
So have I, and yet it is so easy in the heat of the moment to think something like, “I am really in the right here, this is just crazy!”.  It is hard then to remember the nasty reptilian part of the human brain that kicks in when we are stressed out, coming to false conclusions and making recommendations like, Now would be a good time to vent.

Since you already know this advice, I’m writing about it today as a public service reminder to you that the aftermath of reacting is not fun and you will be much better off to wait, ask questions, listen, learn and then respond and come up with a plan. And if you stumble and do not follow that advice, what I wish for you is to receive the gracious and kind response I did in the two meetings I’ve had with the team members involved. Their commitment to the business and to each other is humbling.

I’ve noticed that sometimes in relationships, the resolution of a misunderstanding or disagreement can get us to a better place than before the rupture happened. I think that goes in a company too. Without the candid conversations we’ve had, I may not have learned about a number of  things in the business, unrelated to hours.

Although these are truisms that everyone should know, my take-aways from the last couple of weeks are:
– Don’t react! Respond! There’s a difference and missing it can cause all sorts of unintended hurt.
– As a business owner, don’t get too far away from the front lines because no business is “delicious, fun and pretty” and as the owner you need to know the pain points.

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


To receive email notifications of new blog posts, please subscribe below.



Hello, You!

I’m so glad you are here.

Sign up to receive my posts and you will never miss one. (and by the way - absolutely no other marketing-type emails will be sent your way!)

- Jean