Major Lowndes employer closing

Terry Richards | The Valdosta Daily TimesFresh Beginnings, a cookie bakery firm, will close on June 30, it's owners said. Its sister company, CDK Elead (formerly ELead1One), will not be affected.

VALDOSTA — A major employer in Valdosta is going out of business at the end of the month.

Fresh Beginnings — more recently doing business as Tincredible Treats — will close June 30, according to a statement on the company’s website.

Founded in 1985 by Judy and Hugh Hathcock, the gourmet cookie bakery will close June 30, Tony Macrito, director of exterior communications for CDK Global, which owns Fresh Beginnings, said in a statement.

CDK is a technology provider to the automotive industry and Fresh Beginnings had a long association with automobile dealerships: it was founded with the idea of helping auto dealers with their customer relations through customized “thank you” cookie packages.

Later, the Hathcocks formed ELead1One, a customer service software provider for automobile dealers, which became a sister company to Fresh Beginnings. Together, Fresh Beginnings/ELead1One (now CDK Elead) became one of the largest employers in Lowndes County with more than 1,500 employees.

The combined company was purchased by CDK in 2018.

“In recent years, CDK has focused on strategic investments that help automotive dealers remove friction from the car-buying experience,” Macrito said. “As standard practice, we regularly evaluate our long-term strategy and business portfolio to ensure we’re focused in the right areas. As part of that process, we have made the difficult decision to close the Fresh Beginnings bakery at the end of this month.”

This announcement only applies to the Fresh Beginnings bakery and not CDK Elead, he said.

The company did not mention how many people work at Fresh Beginnings, but various corporate analysis websites, including, estimate the workforce at 200-300 people.

Terry Richards is senior reporter at The Valdosta Daily Times.

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