"Starting out in 1917 as an ice cream parlor by Floyd Fisher (right), the Bon Ton grew into a full line bakery thanks to his wife’s, Emma, love for baking. As Floyd operated the ice cream business, Emma spent her time baking pies, breads, and other home baked goodies to sell at the shop. Thus the bakery section became the most popular and the Bon Ton Bakery switched from ice cream to breads in 1924. Floyd and Emma also sold breads and other goodies to the local area grocery stores; it even involved loading up the area railroad cars and shipping the products out to Helenville and Sullivan. Floyd passed away in 1926, and Emma couldn’t continue on her own. So with the help of two men, Parker and Schuett, who were able to financially help, the bakery continued on. But after a fallout between the two in 1936, Emma’s only living son, Floyd Jr., took over. Floyd Jr. introduced the famous Twin bread and coconut sticks to the Jefferson Community. In 1938, Floyd Jr. suddenly passed away after an appendicitis operation, and his sister, Elsie, and brother-in-law, Irving, moved back to Jefferson from Racine to take over the family business.
Elsie and Irving Radtke, along with their three children, Amy, Richard and Irving, Jr., began running the business that very year. Elsie, a former school teacher, also opened the family’s new farmhouse up to public catering events in 1942. Thus the “Great Oaks Tea Room” evolved. The “Tea Room” served the public from 1942 to 1991, catering to funerals, weddings, and local organizations alike. The “Tea Room” also started the catering portion of the bakery business. The family catered for such area businesses like “Jones Dairy Farm,” “Schweiger’s Furniture” and many more. Elsie and Irving continued on with the bakery until 1971, with the death of Irving. That year, Richard and Amy became partners in business and prioritized the bakery until 1988. John Radtke, Richard’s son, and Verla Radtke, Richard’s wife, took over from there. The bakery in now in it’s fifth generation, that includes John and Cindy Radtke’s daughter, Jessica, and her husband, Josh Punzel.
Now in it’s 101st year in business the bakery has expanded it’s catering and now includes a deli and lunch service. The bakery is truly a family affair, with John and Richard at the baking bench, making the breads and donuts; Cindy dishing out the luxurious decorated cakes, cookies, pies and desserts; Josh, the head chef, fixing the lunchtime dinners and all the catering goodies and meals; and Jessica, who works for the deli section, makes the homemade pies, helps make bread, and even helps her mom with decorating the cakes.
Josh and Jessica plan to follow in the family’s footsteps, continuing to bring the Bon Ton’s quality sweets, bread and catering service to southern Wisconsin, up to and beyond their 101st year in the baking business."