Lowell Hawthorne, the CEO and founder of Golden Krust Caribbean Bakery & Grill, has died of an apparent suicide on the evening of Saturday, Dec. 3.
Hawthorne, 57, shot himself inside his factory located at Park Ave. building near E. 173rd St. in Claremont, reported Daily News citing police sources.
He emigrated from Jamaica to the United States and is well known for his restaurant franchise chain selling Jamaican beef patties. Hawthorne opened his first store on East Gun Hill Road in the Bronx in 1989, according to the Golden Krust website.
The news about his death has left many people in disbelief with many gathering outside the factory to pay their respects.
Congratulations to franchisees Carron, Andrew, Winston Bramwell and their Manager Felicia Bramwell on the opening of Golden Krust 2nd location in Houston, Texas! We wish them all the great success. The restaurant opened this morning at 10am. We’re located at 8236 Kirby Drive, Houston, Texas 77054. #GoldenKrust #TrustTheKrust #HoustonTx #Texas #Houston
A post shared by Golden Krust (@goldenkrust) on
“He was a good boss, humble and a good businessman. He never seemed sad. This is just terrible news right now.” said Pete Tee, 27, a former employee told Daily News.
“He was a nice boss, a wonderful guy,” said Everald Woods, an employee since 2003 told the newspaper. “He’s the kind of guy you want to work for, for that long. He takes care of his employees.”
His death has also sent shockwaves through Jamaica. Jamaican prime minister, Andrew Holness, expressed his condolences after hearing the news.
My condolences to the friends, family and employees of Jamaica-born Lowell Hawthorne, CEO of Golden Krust Caribbean Bakery & Grill.
He headed the largest Caribbean franchise chain in the US, with more than 120 stores. pic.twitter.com/PX9MpD2Mkg
— Andrew Holness (@AndrewHolnessJM) December 3, 2017
Hawthorne’s last post on social media was on Nov. 28 where he reflected on his struggle before his success in a short post.
According to an interview with A Plus, Hawthorne worked as an accountant for New York Police Department for about 10 years after coming to the United States.
Inspired by his father, who owned a bakery in Jamaica, Hawthorne first opened up his own bakery and grill business in his family’s basement. With the help of over 40 family members including his wife, siblings, and their spouses, the restaurant chain spread to nine states across the United States with over 120 restaurants.
Hawthorne’s success story has been documented in his memoir, “The Baker’s Son” which was published in 2012. He also starred in an episode of Undercover Boss earlier this year.
In 2000, he won the coveted Entrepreneur of the Year award from accounting firm Ernst & Young, reported The Gleaner.
Golden Krust became the first Caribbean-owned business in the U.S. to be granted a franchise license, according to its website. Its mission is to provide the taste of the Carribean to the world.
“It’s a very humbling experience to know that the concept that began in Jamaica with our parents was able to come here,” Hawthorne told the Daily News back in 2012.
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