The Year of Change


As we head into the  last couple months of 2019,  I’m going to share my thoughts on the changes we’ve made at PGB since October 2018, taking each one at a time. In today’s post I will just list the changes and  then will use today’s post as my outline for the remainder of the year.

I will share  how the changes went, which projects went better than others and the “did well/do better” learning I have taken from this busy year.

Here is, I hope, a fairly complete list of our projects for the last 12 months:

  • updated Designer cake menu
  • leased a management office on the 12th floor of the Victoria street store’s building for Carly (GM) and me
  • renovated Victoria kitchen to move the  two-person catering team to the office area that Carly and I were in
  • added a large floor mixer, an additional freezer and 2 (or 3?) coolers to the  Victoria kitchen to accommodate greater production
  • commenced an ongoing digital advertising program including the production of a number of still and video ads
  • created a social media coordinator role and invested in related graphic design, training, and photography; for now, Jenna combines this work  with a busy catering role
  • created an executive assistant position in the management office; Megan manages the Baking Team scheduling and the first round of Baking Team interviews in addition to other administrative and strategic tasks
  • created a new products/new projects role; so far Andrea has worked on two new store openings and a new GF/V/nut-free cake in 2 flavours
  • transitioned all stores to nut-free, requiring supplier changes, policy and kitchen changes, and new menu items
  • opened our first suburban store (April)
  • designed and ordered new bags including 3 reusable bags specifically designed for our rapidly growing cake sales
  • opened our 3rd downtown store (August) –  required us to learn the new skills of using a commissary kitchen/daily delivery
  • created a training role in each of the two teams: Baking (Alec) and Customer Service (Abby)
  • developed a gluten free, vegan and nut-free cake in 2 flavours and signs dup for Grocery Innovation Congress (next week)
  • refreshed look of the existing 3 stores with new paint and in one case, a new cupcake display
  • added new 4 inch cakes to our line-up of Homestyle cakes
  • worked with an analytics firm to develop a “Dashboard” that helps Carly and I track the results against the company’s plan/budget on a daily basis

I’m also thinking of the number of people who took on more senior roles over the  past year, such as Michael who stepped into running the very busy FCP store and Praveen who took on the Victoria store: although these are not really “projects/changes”, these transitions required the people directly involved to learn a lot, and to some extent, for the whole team to adjust.

So, it has been a year of change and there is always so much to be learned when change happens, whether personally, professionally or in a business. I will enjoy reflecting on it, and I hope that you will enjoy hearing about it!



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