Jamaica Gleaner / Jamaica-born American businessman Lowell Hawthorne lived a story of achievement over adversity in the establishment and growth of his restaurant chain, Golden Krust Caribbean Bakery and Grill.
Hawthorne, who migrated to the United States in 1981, shot and killed himself at his New York office on Saturday.
Here are 10 things about Hawthorne’s rise in business since he and seven other siblings left Jamaica 36 years ago to join their oldest sister in America in a tough economic climate for restaurant businesses:
1. Hawthorne was an accountant by profession with the New York Police Department.
2. He went to the United States in 1981 with a dream to do the same kind of business that his parents ran in Jamaica for decades.
3. He took his father’s recipe for making delicious patties and started the first business in the Bronx in 1989.
4. Hawthorne convinced his siblings to pull equity out of their homes and deplete their savings to invest over $107,000 in Golden Krust Bakery as a family business.
5. Between 1989 and 1993, he opened 17 stores under the brand as the largest Caribbean chain in the United States.
6. In 1995 he got the license to operate as a franchiser in New York, becoming one of the first Jamaicans to do so. Most of the stores were being operated by franchisees who invested a combined US$24 million.
7. Golden Krust now operates in 120 locations in nine states.
8. In 2000 Hawthorne was named New York City Entrepreneur of the year
9. Every year, he awarded two scholarships in Jamaica and one to a college-bound student in New York in tribute to his mother. On November 28, he posted on Facebook: “I was always in search of the next honest means to make a dollar. Like many transplanted Caribbean nationals, I struggled to work and raise a family. I can only thank God for everything I have achieved. If my story here can inspire other to rise up and give it a go, I would have accomplished something meaningful.”
10. Hawthorne is survived by four children and his widow, Lorna.