Pandemic spending


I started Prairie Girl with a sum of capital, much of which was an inheritance from my beloved parents’ estate.
Because I had the capital to spend, I spent it. Not for PGB would there be used bakery equipment, cheap countertops, or plain chef’s jackets by the dozen.
No, Prairie Girl Bakery circa 2010-11 had all-new ovens from Quebec, Corian counter tops and chef’s jackets with the logo embroidered on and each baker’s name.
Now, like most every other foodservice business in Canada, we do not have a surplus of cash – in fact, we are one of the lucky recipients of a pandemic wage subsidy.
So, we design our signs in-house; our catering assistant is also our social media manager and a customer service professional; and we are launching new Treats of the Week with photos taken not by our professional photographer but rather by, oh yes, the very same person mentioned above in the catering/media/customer service role!
We’re making do on a shoestring and we are getting by.
This is not to say that investments in your business don’t matter or can all be “on the cheap”. Over the years and to this day, we’ve invested again and again in our website and we don’t regret a dime of it- especially now that we’ve pivoted so sharply to online sales.
We started an employee benefit program a few years ago and that too has been money really well spent.
Ditto for quality ingredients, team recognition, and professional advice (legal, accounting).
But there are a lot of things that a business can spend money on that it shouldn’t.
Pandemic lessons just keep coming. Good thing they are free.

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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