TIPTON, Iowa — Tiffiny Meinert and her family are experiencing the sweet taste of success at a Cedar County business that opened 85 years ago.
Stacy and Tiffiny Meinert, latest owners of what now is known as Tiffiny’s Tipton Bakery, took over in July from Bob and Rita Sissel.
Tiffiny Meinert said the Walter Hartog family opened the bakery in February 1928.
“It was 85 years ago that the Hartog family introduced their now famous crescent,” she said of the bakery’s signature pastry. “This crescent recipe was brought to the U.S. from the old country (the Netherlands) when his family immigrated. Walter was the only one in the family to stay in the Tipton area.
“The community support around here is just phenomenal,” Tiffiny Meinert said. “We hear stories of that every day, people coming in from all over just for the crescents. I have people call first, saying they are coming from, for example, Bettendorf, and coming here is their only reason.”
She said they bake everything from blueberry doughnuts and creme horns to apple fritters with a caramel glaze, and maple-bacon long johns, Oreo long johns, and bismarks filled with raspberry. But the most asked for is the crescent, a moon-shaped pastry that is split on one side, filled with creme and sprinkled with powered sugar. The Hartog family recipe is still in use.
“That is the most popular, by far,” said Stacy Meinert, who calls himself “the jack of all trades.” He helps with maintenance and filling the crescents. He also works full time as a mechanic with industrial and environmental equipment.
Tiffiny Meinert said she began baking with her mother, Connie Blair, when she was 2 years old. Soon, she told her mom and dad, Gene “Duffy” Blair, that she would someday own a bakery. Two months after graduating from high school in 1988, she moved to Minneapolis to study for her degree in baking management, cakes and pastries, and breads and rolls, from Dunwoody Industrial Institute.
When the couple married and began having children, she got away from professional baking for 20 years.
Today, all three children help out. Danyel, 21, studying early childhood education in college, helps decorate cakes and manage the bakery in Tiffiny’s absence. Michelle,18, works the front counter and is a student at Kirkwood Community College. Denver, a high school sophomore, works every morning at the bakery before school.
The Hartog family started a tradition of keeping a map of where customers came from. Tiffiny Meinert has continued it.
“Since implementing the map in late August, 38 states have been represented,” she said. “I never imagined we would need an international map so soon. Argentina, Australia, Scotland, New Zealand, Mexico, Canada and the Bahamas have been internationally represented so far.”