Cordia (Barton) Harrington
Cordia (Barton) Harrington graduated from Central High in 1971 and is a 1975 graduate of the University of Arkansas. She attended the Kansai Gaidai in Osaka, Japan as an exchange student and graduated from McDonald's Hamburger University in 1989. She currently resides in Franklin, TN.
Cordia is the CEO of Tennessee Bun Co., which ships buns to over 40 states and several countries throughout Central and South America. It ships buns to restaurants like McDonald's and Chili's and supplies many places with English muffins as well. The Tennessee Bun Co. expanded in the late 1990s and Cordia opened a second plant, the Nashville Bun Co. She also opened a distribution arm, Bun Lady Transport.
In 1981 Cordia started her first business with her entire life savings, approximately $600. She opened her own real estate firm, which grew successfully as she helped families improve their lives through the purchase of their own home.
One home sale changed Cordia's life. The home buyer asked if she had ever considered becoming a McDonald's franchisee. Cordia was interested and pursued the opportunity. In 1989 she bought the first of her three McDonald's units. Although she was a franchise owner, Cordia did not have an easy time becoming one of the company's suppliers.
The bun plants that had been serving the Tennessee-Kentucky region were nearing capacity, so Cordia knew that a great opportunity existed. After a three-year process and more than 30 interviews, Cordia became a McDonald's bun supplier to that region. She was selected as McDonald's first female dedicated supplier and built the most highly automated bakery in the world, baking over 1000 buns per minute.
Cordia was interviewed in her bakery by Tom Brokaw for "NBC Nightly News" in 2003 and was one of the Nashville Post's "Business Women of the Year" in 2002.