Gigionthat.com has learned the Jamaican-born founder and CEO of Golden Krust Caribbean Bakery & Grill, 57-year-old Lowell Hawthorne, fatally shot himself inside his Bronx, New York factory on Saturday, the New York Daily News reported.
Condolences poured in from the United States and Jamaica after news of Lowell Hawthorne’s shocking suicide. “He was a good boss, humble and a good businessman. He never seemed sad. This is just terrible news right now,” Pete Tee, a former employee said. Jamaica’s Prime Minister Andrew Holness sent his condolences to the friends, family and employees of Hawthorne via Twitter.
Things didn’t seem right to Hawthorne’s employees when they noticed his car blocking a traffic lane outside the factory. For hours after he killed himself, current and former employees gathered out the factory in shock and disbelief. Hawthorne, 57, opened the first Golden Krust restaurant, which specializes in Jamaican beef patties and the island’s cuisine, in the Bronx in 1989. His franchise grew into more than 120 restaurants across nine states. “It doesn’t make any sense. He had everything to live for,” Pat Russo, a longtime business associate, told the newspaper. “He was a brilliant business guy. The perfect American success story.”
Hawthorne’s story began in 1981 when he immigrated to the United States from Jamaica in search of the American dream. After a brief stint as an accountant for the New York City Police Department, he launched Golden Krust, modeled on the bakery his father owned on the island. After years of hard work, Golden Krust became the first Caribbean-American owned restaurant in the United States to receive a franchise license, the company’s website states.