CEO @ Byrd Cookie Company
Stephanie Lindley, Byrd Cookie Company’s CEO and fourth-generation owner, grew up in Peachtree City, Georgia, located just outside Atlanta, and studied business at Southern University and Kennesaw State University. She moved to Savannah, Georgia in 1988 to learn how to run Byrd Cookie Company, a popular family-owned bakery originally founded by her great-grandfather, Benjamin Tillman Byrd Sr., in 1924.
Methodically trained in every aspect of the company’s operations, from warehouse organization to mixing and baking dough, Lindley developed creative new flavors – including Byrd’s award-winning Key Lime Cooler – that gave the gourmet food industry confidence in the Byrd brand and in the next generation of leadership.
Over the years, Lindley has grown Byrd Cookie Company from a regional cookie bakery to a national leader in the specialty food industry. Strategic partnerships with Delta Airlines, Universal Studios, Neiman Marcus, Dylan’s Candy Bar and Williams-Sonoma helped position Byrd as a leading gourmet cookie brand with strong annual sales and successful retail stores in Georgia and South Carolina.
Under Lindley’s leadership, Byrd focused on meeting the increased demand for cookies while exceeding sales objectives for retail stores, wholesale manufacturing and contract baking. Contract baking for other companies helped lower overhead, expand stable revenue partnerships and increase sales. In recent years, Byrd secured major baking contracts with Trader Joe’s, United Airlines, Dollar Tree and Target, repositioning the company as an international large-volume cookie manufacturer.
Lindley recently oversaw a $6 million expansion at Byrd’s production facility in Savannah, Georgia, including the addition of a new state-of-the-art industrial baking line that allows the company to bake more than one billion cookies annually to keep pace with growing demand. This strategic expansion will enable Byrd exceed $50 million in annual revenue. A second expansion, scheduled for 2020, will support $100 million in annual revenue by 2025.
A member of the Board of Directors of the Georgia Chamber of Commerce, Lindley is motivated to share the best of Savannah with a global audience and to make the world a little sweeter, one cookie at a time.
The food business can be tough. But what does it take to succeed, and what unique assets and challenges does Savannah offer in the quest to deliver deliciousness? In this panel, owners of Savannah’s best-loved food brands share their stories of building and maintaining their empires and what they are doing to innovate in this […]