Affectionately known as “The Bun Lady,” Cordia Harrington, along with her husband Tom, has built The Bakery Cos., a thriving family-based bakery enterprise based in Nashville, Tenn.
Enthusiastic and outgoing, Cordia has been nationally recognized for her business acumen and community involvement. Her resourceful spirit has led her from one stepping stone of success to the next, overcoming every obstacle in her path.
A graduate of the University of Arkansas, Cordia’s entrepreneurial journey began with the $587 she used to launch her real estate business in Russellville, Ark. Pursuing her goal to make more time for her family, Cordia became a McDonald’s franchisee in Effingham, Ill. After expanding to three McDonald’s restaurants, Cordia was inspired to become a baker for the McDonald’s Supply Chain through her involvement in the Bun Committee and the encouragement of Craig Olson, who was then president of Fresh Start Bakery.
It took three years and thirty-two interviews to convince McDonald’s to take a change on Cordia’s dream to build a bakery, but “no” was not an option! In 1996, Cordia sold her McDonald’s restaurants and built Tennessee Bun Company in Dickson, Tenn., in partnership with Craig Olson and Chip Klosterman. Cordia is forever grateful for the mentorship of her partners and the trust and support of industry leaders Joe Waters, Marshall Maddox and Russ Bundy.
Today, The Bakery Cos. is a family and leadership owned enterprise with multiple plants and more than 500 employees. Cordia is especially grateful to work with her husband Tom, sons Hunter, Brad and Tyler Wilkinson, and daughter Beth Westjohn as they live their mission to
- Create opportunities
- Make a difference and
- impact lives
Through faith in God, inspired business tactics, vision, optimism and an ironclad work ethic, Cordia Harrington has become one of the premier businesswomen in America.
Click on the images below to view .pdf files of the inductee’s biography and plaque.