Going Against the Grain

Newcomers to the B.E.100s prove it's not where you start but where you end up that matters

who in defense contracts. NASA, the Air Force, and the Army’s missile defense program are but a few.

Now a seasoned veteran in the high-tech procurement arena, Stallworth is looking toward the future. In his line of business, this is key. It’s simply not enough to prove yourself. “You also have to develop a track record,” he says. “You have to have projects in the pipeline that you’re going to bid on six months to a year from now. You can’t rely on the short-term because very few contracts are won on short notice.”

Golden profits
Trust and commitment are two values dear to Lowell Hawthorne’s heart. And it’s these two values that led to the creation of Golden Krust Caribbean Bakery Inc. (No. 85 on the BE INDUSTRIAL/SERVICE 100 list with $32 million in sales) in 1989. Hawthorne, 41, a native of St. Andrew, Jamaica, was an accountant with the New York City Police Department, but he missed the family business. Fifty-five years ago in Jamaica, Hawthorne’s father had founded Hawthorne & Sons Bakery, a well-known entity on the tiny Caribbean island. Hawthorne wanted to get back to the family business without going back home to do it.

But that would be easier said than done. It was the late ’80s, businesses were failing, and “the failure rates for restaurants were so high that banks basically turned their backs on us,” says the soft-spoken Hawthorne who came to the U.S. with his family in the early ’80s. “But we had a family meeting and decided to to go back to our roots.” The Hawthorne clan (eight brothers and sisters at the time) mortgaged their homes, pooled their resources, and launched the first Golden Krust Caribbean Bakery in the Bronx, New York. Their patties, Jamaican hard-dough bread, buns, and cakes were a hit; within four years the family had opened stores in New Jersey and Connecticut. Then, in 1999, Golden Krust won the prestigious Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year award in New York City.

“Suddenly, calls started coming in from all over; people were interested in the concept,” says Hawthorne. “So we sought information on franchising.” From a single location in the Bronx, the Hawthorne family — with Lowell at the helm — has grown the business to 37 franchises and six family-owned locations nationwide. Their menu also expanded to include the full range of Caribbean fare, from soup to jerk chicken. Hawthorne brags that “Golden Krust is not just patties” anymore and adds that the company participates in the New York City school lunch program. “When Golden Krust is on the menu, kids don’t skip school,” he says laughing.

The company also produces its own line of juices and recently expanded its bakery/production facility to 60,000-square feet, taking up nearly an entire city block in the Bronx. Last year the company grossed $32 million. As the business has grown, so has the family involvement. With 11 brothers and sisters, as well as their spouses now on board, Hawthorne says it’s vital that family members

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