I was given a copy of The Baker’s son by the family. I have many books on my reading list but this one intrigued me by the nature of the business, “franchise” and the origin of the owners, “Jamaica”. Once committing to reading the book, I could not put it down. What was compelling was the storytelling of a serial entrepreneur who continued to re-invent and re-shape opportunity for himself, his family, and closest friends. Lowell Hawthorne shares insights into his Caribbean home, transatlantic entry into a foreign culture, and his struggle to lead his extended family to a better life.
My favorite passage in the book is when the major supplier refused to sell the Golden Krust business the patties that were its major revenue source. Hawthorne says, “ we are survivors” and proceeded to describe the elaborate strategy to source product until the firm could manufacture its own.
What is most heartwarming about this book is that it is a story of transatlantic, inter-generational, love, hope, and faith. Many immigrants come to America seeking better opportunities for generations of families – the Hawthorne story is one that found a better life through passion for excellence, hard work, and continued re-investment in the needs of the business. The book often describes the fiscal risks of family members (owners) and friends who were either active in the business or later owners of franchises.
The book describes many personal and professional sacrifices of those who journey down the road of entrepreneurial pursuits. During his life, Lowell Hawthorne received many accolades and honors for his business acumen and leadership including an honorary doctorate of Letters from Medgar Evers College. In closing Hawthorne shares his vision for wealth creation through the baker’s dozen principals to live and work by. Of the twelve principals, my favorite, yet most difficult to achieve is “Strike the Perfect Balance”; meaning the balance between passion for business, family and social engagement.
This is not just a Jamaican story, it is an American story – it is our story –“we are survivors“!