We need to replace our oven because it is old enough to collect Social Security!

Dreamer: Tiffiny Meinert

Business: Tiffiny's Tipton Bakery

Location: Tipton, IA

Industry Contest: Hospitality/Restaurants

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Tiffiny's Tipton Bakery is a Full Service bakery including breads, donuts, cookies, customized cakes (sculpted, tiered, fondant, etc.) sandwiches, soups, pastries, etc. The Tipton Bakery was started in 1928 and the Meinert's purchased it 2 1/2 years ago changing the name to Tiffiny's Tipton Bakery.
Business Description:
The Hartog family introduced the Tipton Bakery Crescent TM over 85 years ago. The best way to describe the Crescent is a melt in your mouth confection with a white creamy filling topped with powdered sugar creating a little bit of heaven. People travel from all over or have Tipton Bakery Crescents TM shipped to them. We hear stories all the time about how customers would come to the bakery with their parent or grandparent when they were younger just for a Crescent. We started a map tracking how far people travel for a Tipton Bakery Crescent TM. Every state has been represented along with several countries. (See the map in the images section.)

The Tipton Bakery Crescent TM is such a signature item for our bakery that we started having a birthday celebration each year. We discount the price to the age of the Crescent. The first year was the 85th birthday and we sold over 4000 Crescents in a day and a half. This year the celebration is March 6th and 7th. We hope to see you there.

The Crescent may be most popular but it is not the only item on our menu. Our white and wheat breads are also original recipes from the Hartog family. Hamburger buns and dinner rolls are very popular during the holidays and for special events. We also offer other donuts and pastries, cookies, sandwiches, soup (seasonal), and cakes for all occasions including sculpted cakes and fondant or buttercream icings.

A true old fashion bakery is difficult to find in our rural area. The closest bakery (not in a grocery store) is 45 minutes away. There is very little competition with our Tipton Bakery Crescent TM. Our local grocery store carries something similar but customers tell us that there is no replacing the Tipton Bakery Crescent TM. Today I had a customer call from California requesting Crescents be shipped to her because she has looked the last 6 months she has been in California but cannot find anything similar. We have also had soldiers stop as soon as they get home just for a Tipton Bakery Crescent TM.

Graduation/Memorial Day weekend is our 2nd busiest weekend of the year. Last year over 22% of the Tipton graduating class had us make cake and/or buns for their parties. This was only roughly ½ of the cake/bun orders. Other areas orders came from include: North Cedar, Anamosa, West Branch, Durant, West Liberty, Muscatine, Rochester, Wilton, and University of Iowa.

Market analysis shows that we have an average sales volume compared to other small/family owned bakeries. Since purchasing the bakery 2 1/2 years ago we have more than doubled the sales volume from the previous management. There is definitely more business here but we need to be more efficient so we can produce more product at a lower cost to stay competitive with the larger chain store bakeries.
Reason for Entering:
In order to make Tiffiny's Tipton Bakery and the Tipton Bakery Crescent TM a household name we need to expand and update our equipment. We have already done major repairs and upgrades including lighting, a new proofer (steam room), all new kitchen faucets, added a bathroom, a new furnace, etc.

Right now our biggest concern is a new oven. The oven was purchased in 1951. In the last 2 1/2 years we have had parts fabricated because parts are no longer available. We have also had 2 days without the oven due to repairs. We had to improvise to make our products without it each day. My fear is one day it will not light and will no longer be fixable.

When considering what type of new oven to purchase, we are looking toward our future of having a production facility in Tipton and distributing items throughout the Midwest. We currently distribute our products to Brother's Market in Lisbon and the I-80 Truckstop Restaurant. With larger distribution in mind we want to get a high tech oven with a price tag over $25,000.

Upgrading our website for online purchasing is also on our list. We currently have a very old register. It does not have many reporting capabilities. We have no way of following up with our customers unless we track sales information manually. There is a bakery specific software that is available and would give us the ability to not only track sold items and current stock levels but also give cost analysis and nutrition information.

Thank you!
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