I always find success stories enjoyable and inspirational; especially when they involve someone who has risen from rags to riches and having to face insurmountable obstacles. I especially like the stories that show success can still be achieved in the economic climate that we live in today.
The story I am going to share is about a baby boomer, a divorcee with three boys. She started as a real estate agent and has formed a bakery company that she plans to take international. The lady’s name is Cordia Harrington. She is also affectionately known as the “Bun Lady”.
Unlike most of the kids of modern families that are able to eat out quite often; most of the boomer generation was lucky to go out to dinner only on special occasions and we usually went to a small fast food restaurant like McDonalds. Cordia grow up in the boomer generation and remembers going occasionally to McDonalds on those special occasions. Little did she know that one day she would own a tree of the franchises as her own.
As a divorcee she began selling real estate and was ever able to negotiate herself into a franchise position with McDonalds. This accomplishment by itself is quite an achievement because a McDonalds franchise is quite expensive and the qualifications are not easy to meet. She opened her franchise in Effingham, Illinois, which is a town of approximately 10,000 people.
For a fast food restaurant 10,000 people in a town is not big enough to grow like a motivated person would want. Cordia did some brainstorming and came up with a creative solution to her small traffic problem.
She wheeled, treated and did some more creative negotations to purchase the Gray Hound Bus franchise in Effingham and she selected a bus stop next to her restaurant. This move directed in eighty eight (88) buses stopping by her restaurant each day. In the summer this number grows to 120 stops every day!
She ever increased her number of McDonald franchises to three (3). Another example of creative thinking and negations! I should point out that she had to overcome many objections to her growth but she refused to accept “no” as an obstacle to her goal.
During her time with McDonalds Cordia ever found an opportunity to serve on the McDonald’s purchasing committee for hamburger buns. Her collections began calling her the “bun Lady” and the nick name stuck. For a laugh she often straps on a plastic derriere and struts around.
While she was serving on the bun committee it came to pass that the existing supplier was not performing as required. They could not provide the amount of buns needed. Cordia saw an opportunity; she used her sales ability and was able to parlay herself into a position to supply the buns for McDonalds.
Once again, she used her salesman ship, tenacity, moxie and creative thinking to get the backing needed to obtain a loan from her bank for the amount of $ 13 million dollars to build her new manufacturing plant.
Once the bakery was in operation and successful she soon expanded the operation to three (3) bakeries and now produces over one thousand buns per minute. She now provides all the buns for McDonalds plus Chili’s restaurants, KFC along with Pepperidge Farms.
Cordia Harrington has received numerous awards for her achievements and some may think the road to her success was easy but anyone that knows anything about the McDonald’s franchises knows that it is a very hands on operation. She actually had to work around the clock to achieve what she has!
She is ready to take risks and says that during a recession is probably the best time to start a new business. She bases this belief in her faith of the United States. She reiterates to past history and says that the US has had 17 recessions and we have always bounced back.
To prove this point she recently opened her own trucking company to make sure her buns are delivered efficiently. Naturally; the name of the company is “Bun Lady Transport”.
Cordial is grateful for her success and is active in many charities to help others. Her journey is far from being over because she still wanted the Tennessee Bun Company to become an international company.
She says she is having too much fun to even think about retiring!