June was Caribbean heritage month, and in terms of Caribbean business, the best examples of Caribbean business heritage are the families behind Golden Krust Caribbean Bakery and Grill. In addition to the company’s CEO, Lowell Hawthorne and the Hawthorne family members, there is their cousin, Stanley Dennis, someone Lowell Hawthorne at a recent event called, his business partner and family friend who always says, “A say yes” when they discuss major challenges in conference calls and business meetings.
On Saturday, June 7, the wife of this Golden Krust partner succeeded in pulling off a surprise event worthy of a mystery novel. She, Noveene Dennis (nicknamed Niko) organized a surprise 60th birthday party at a banquet hall for friends, family and business acquaintances who arrived from Canada, Jamaica, New York City, Long Island, New Jersey, Westchester.
They arrived to celebrate the birthday of a business visionary who built restaurants, nurtured his family, relatives and friends, and helped Brooklyn communities grow. At the surprise event, first his children, then others stepped up to the mike to toast the family and business leader in moving and humorous tributes, as only Caribbean humorists can.
Stanley Dennis owns Golden Krust restaurants at 998 Flatbush Ave., one he has owned for 13 years, another at 1887 Rockaway Parkway, for 10 years, and more recently, at 4102 Farragut Rd., for seven months, and 2223 Church Ave., for six months. Customers have enjoyed delicious Caribbean dishes and delicacies at these locations in Brooklyn. Dennis is a leader who participates in numerous community organizations, especially in the Caribbean American Chamber of Commerce. He works so hard managing and growing his businesses, his family succeeded in giving him a delightful surprise at a June party, attended by hundreds of festive celebrants. He was told he would be attending a political fundraiser, but the event was a tribute to his leadership in the family and his skill, professionalism and endurance as an entrepreneur in the very competitive restaurant business. Dennis, nicknamed, BongoStan, as his friends and family at the surprise party called him, has been running businesses since he was a boy raised by his farmer parents in rural Jamaica.
He and Noveene raised a brilliant family, and like many in the community, champion education and personal responsibility. Stephen, a computer scientist, a NYU graduate, is now the operations manager at the four restaurants and bakeries in Brooklyn. Stayton, an accountant, a LIU masters degree graduate, is a Citibank Hedge Fund accountant, and Stanique, an accountant, a St. Johns graduate, is a manager in the Rockaway restaurant-bakery. Stanley and Noveene, a descendant of Devon House Great House families, a team, have known each other since they were children. The party was rounded out by his granddaughter, Brielle Victoria and her mom, Dian Dennis.
Celebrants commended him for the advice and leadership he has given. In addition to the entertaining and rousing Master of Ceremony, Pastor Vincent Clarke, who arrived from Jamaica with his family, other celebrants were Michael Chang, Sr. V.P of Chubb; Samuel Hussey, V.P of Manhattan Comprehensive Day and Night H.S., and Hawthorne Golden Krust executives. They described his shining humanity and strong religious beliefs. Stanley Dennis’ entrepreneurial strength and endurance stem from his family, which has been doing business for many generations; their businesses supported rural Jamaican communities and now they do the same in the U.S.
His Jamaican nickname was preserved and passed down for generations by entrepreneurial Maroon Jamaican ancestors who survived for hundreds of years in the Caribbean. They brought his nickname from a village in Ghana, West Africa. His parents, his father nicknamed, Bulla and his mother, Ethel, were business people, farmers who farmed and sold produce. Stanley’s father’s nickname, Bulla, preserved by his Jamaican ancestors from the Twi language in Ghana, means rocks. This entrepreneurial family is built on a rock of strength, good dealings and hope for the future. The families behind Golden Krust have multigenerational roots in business, and they are building even deeper roots in America.
Pearl Duncan, an author based in New York, has a book about DNA and ancestry, which will be published soon. She has done extensive genealogical and DNA research into African American and Caribbean ancestors from both Africa and Europe. The author’s grandmother and Stanley Dennis’ grandmother were sisters, and like their Hawthorne cousins, the families are descended from 17th- and 18th-century Jamaican Maroons.