Lowell Hawthorne built a Caribbean food empire through popularizing Jamaican beef patties coast to coast. Hawthorne was found dead at his Bronx factory over the weekend from what authorities believe was a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Hawthorne was the Golden Krust Bakery and Grill president and his body was found inside his factory on Park Avenue in the Bronx’s Claremont section Saturday night.
Law enforcement authorities said that first indications suggest that Hawthorne had taken his own life. However, police said they are continuing to investigate circumstances that led up to the day of the death of the CEO at Golden Krust.
With the help of his family, Hawthorne opened his first store named Golden Krust in 1989 in the Bronx, after he arrived from Jamaica and was just 21 years old. He promoted a secret recipe for his beef patties, which are spicy beef inside flaky dough, a very popular staple in the Caribbean island nation of Jamaica.
During the next 38 years, Golden Krust grew to over 120 franchises locate across the United States, selling beef patties as well as jerk chicken using the motto, “We take the taste of the Caribbean to the world.”
Built during 1996, the factory on Park Avenue is the Golden Krust’s epicenter. Golden Krust stores are standalone locations, and inside ShopRites and Costcos.
Last year, the company released news that it was planning to center its operations for the U.S. on a 17-acre piece of property in Orangetown, one mile to the south of the New York Thruway.
The Golden Krust $37 million headquarters is still in its planning stage. However, the company already has gained the support of Rockland Industrial Development Agency that negotiated over $1.2 million worth of tax incentives so Golden Krust would move there.
Hawthorne’s plan was consolidating the corporate and legal offices of the company into one new building of 100,000 sq. feet that would have a factory to produce the patties, pastries and bread from Golden Krust.
Hawthorne wrote his own memoir in 2013 titled, The Baker’s Son.
He recalled in the memoir a childhood on the Caribbean island where when just 10 years old he raised chicken, guinea pigs and rabbits.
While he was waiting in line to go through customs upon his arrival in the U.S. after turning 21, he said to himself that the U.S. was a country that embraced immigrants.