Tag’s Bakery has provided countless children with birthday cakes every year and now the store is celebrating a big birthday of its own, the big 75.
Opened in Evanston in 1937, the store was named for with the initials of the original owner’s father. He sold it to another family after just one year and Don and Jan Vetter purchased it in 1968. Don Vetter only expected to work there for a decade but didn’t retire until 1999, handing over Tag’s to his children, Gretchen and Greg.
“Back when my father started it, he took pride in not only putting out a product that looked good, but tasted good,” said Gretchen Vetter.
Vetter has worked at Tag’s for 33 years and said many of their bakers have been there for up to 25 years. She says that consistency has kept customers coming back.
One woman has been getting the same birthday cake at Tag’s for the last 23 years.
“It's a tradition,” she said. “It makes me feel good that we're pleasing people. It's a fun place to come.”
The business has grown significantly since 1968, expanding from 1,200 to 3,800 square feet. The original storefront now serves as a cake decorating area, and the basement provides office and storage space. The recipes also have changed, with Tag’s downsizing products and reducing the costs to serve smaller and more budget-conscious families.
Greg Vetter, who went to baking school to prepare to work at Tag’s, is regularly trying new ideas like bananas foster pie and maple bacon Long Johns.
While it was just an unpopular pet project for Greg and Gretchen, Tag’s Florentine cookies have become their most popular item.
“We always try to bring new ideas into play,” Vetter said. “You have to go with the times.”
The 75th anniversary celebration includes discounts on Tag's famous smiley face cookies, which were developed in the 1970s, and a return to other retro items. Some bakery creations will be appropriately priced at 75 cents.