What’s Different Now?


I was interviewed on Tuesday by the City Allergy Guide about our quite-new nut free status and also by the marketing agency for Brookfield Place about, well, our new store in Brookfield Place.

I noticed they both asked, “What’s different now than when Prairie Girl opened in 2011?”.

By a mile, my answer is “adoption of online ordering”. We had a good custom shopping cart that customers used from the beginning, but not to the  degree that customers use it now. Back then,  placing an everyday cupcake order online struck people as unnecessary, “I’ll just come to the  store that morning.”

But now, 8 years later, everyone orders everything online, in small quantities and in large ones. People order their deodorant on Amazon and every type of meal imaginable on Uber Eats so to order one or two cupcakes – or a 2-tier Designer cake and dozens of cupcakes with custom toppers – isn’t a big deal.

Another change is that there is no longer a sentiment that food sensitivities or preferences are fads. Allergies and sensitivities to nuts, eggs, dairy, gluten and soy (to name a few) in fact seem more prevalent now. Large orders we receive for offices or events reflect this: almost always they include some gluten free cupcakes and some vegan cupcakes. (The time is right for the gluten free AND vegan cupcakes we are working on!).

Things that haven’t changed? I wasn’t asked this question but a few that come to my mind:

  • There are still many applicants who don’t show up to interviews and trial shifts but in a more positive light, it is still possible with persistence to bring amazing people onto the team who are more hardworking and career-focused than ever (I don’t buy the Millennial/Gen Z generalizations!);
  • Everyone is still celebrating the same things in the same ways-baby showers, birthdays, retirements, weddings –  with the same messages of love, congratulations and sad-to-see-you-go piped in icing; and
  • Mini cupcakes still outsell Classics 4 to 1, and Cuties are still “a little too small”!


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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