Lowell Hawthorne (May 1, 1960 – December 2, 2017) was born on the island nation of Jamaica. He graduated from Oberlin High School and Grantham College in Jamaica before migrating to the United States in 1981. He was employed as an accountant to the New York Police Department while pursuing studies leading to an Associate degree obtained at Bronx Community College. He later studied Business Administration at Baruch and Lehman Colleges and is a product of the City University of New York system.
In 1989 his strong sense of family and a desire to create economic stability for his dependents led him along with his wife Lorna, his brothers, sisters and their spouses to open a baked goods retail outlet on East Gun Hill Road in the Bronx selling breads, buns and pastries. The art of baking flowed through the veins of the Hawthorne clan, having been taught the family secret by their father Ephraim Hawthorne who operated the successful Hawthorne & Sons bakery located in the hills of St. Andrew, Jamaica in a community known to many as “Border”. It was under the tutelage of his father that Lowell and his siblings mastered the art of creating delectable baked products and were involved in the day to day operations of the family business which was the classroom from which the now successful Caribbean franchise graduated.
The popularity of the first outlet in The Bronx, NY (East Gun Hill Road) grew rapidly and shortly gave rise to the establishment of several other outlets across the New York metropolitan area in predominantly Caribbean neighborhoods.
Seven years later sixteen additional Golden Krust stores were opened. Lowell was encouraged to create a franchise chain which he boldly pursued. In 1996 Golden Krust became the first Black owned Caribbean business in the U.S. to be granted a franchise license. With such growth, the need for more manufacturing space became a pressing one and soon led to the acquisition of plant facilities at Park Avenue located in the South Bronx. This move was necessary as the business and its franchises had begun to grow so rapidly that the small East Gun Hill Rd store could no longer meet the increased demand for products.
Today, Golden Krust Caribbean Bakery & Grill has expanded by leaps and bounds, encompassing over 120 stores across nine states including New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Maryland, Philadelphia, North Carolina, Massachusetts, Georgia and Florida. The company provides employment for over 1000 persons system-wide. Several other stores are under construction and the company’s goal is to move from the segment industry to being a major player in the quick service industry by 2020. The company’s vision is to take the taste of the Caribbean to the world.
Tragically, Mr. Hawthorne took his own life December 2, 2017