What will you let go?


I’ve been thinking a lot about the sunk cost fallacy.

We succumb to it any time we eat more than we want at a fancy Sunday brunch buffet or hold onto a lime green sweater that we don’t wear.

At $60 per person, darn it, we are going to have an extra helping of Eggs Benedict and two of the chocolate mousse.

That trendy sweater is cashmere so it stays in our closet because, well, we paid a lot for it and don’t get a do-over.

Before we closed PGB, one day Ailish and I were talking about the edible printer.

Some customers loved having photos or logos printed onto their cakes or cupcake toppers – see that adorable pup above!

But, the printer required training to use, it was challenging to provide printed orders to the stores outside the downtown, sometimes customers didn’t like the finished product, and it required a lot of upkeep and supplies.

Maybe we sold a few more cakes and cupcakes because we could emblazon them with pictures in edible ink but I’m pretty sure that the additional revenue did not exceed the printer’s drawbacks.

But, as Ailish and I talked about that morning back in January, if the business had continued on, there is not a chance that stopping edible printing would have even been raised as an idea.

I mean, the thing cost $20,000! We had all the supplies! People loved it! It was on our website!

And so on…even though in an honest analysis of the Prairie Girl printer, it was not a decision we would have made again. But we’d made it, so of course we had to stick with it. Or so the sunk cost fallacy goes.

When I reflect on the possibility of a PGB 2.0, I think about the things I don’t have to do anymore because every detail will be up for grabs.

I don’t need to go with polka dotted cardboard boxes – or purple, green and pink as the colours – or the same payroll service, uniform style, or type of location.

In fact, I don’t even need a location.

Don’t get me wrong. There is definitely sadness when you lose something.

I miss the team that worked so hard in 2020 to keep things going.

I can’t believe I will never again wander out to the Victoria Street storefront and chat with a customer.

I think about how fun it was to work behind the counter at the FCP store on a Friday.

But it is definitely cool to think about taking ten years of experience, using it to sift and sort, and then creating something fresh and new.

When the pandemic is over, what are you going to do differently?

Now’s your chance to decide.





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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