With a strong sense of family and unwavering commitment to the community, Manuel Capó (b. 1925 d. 2009) grew his family business, El Dorado Furniture, into one of the top 50 of furniture stores in the United States. Focusing on a corporate goal of becoming the number one furniture retailer in the nation, Mr. Capó maintained the personal touch that has characterized El Dorado Furniture for over 40 years. As a leader in the industry, Mr. Capó also became a symbol of giving back, especially to children and their families in South Florida.
The beginnings of El Dorado Furniture date back three generations to Cuba in the 1920s. Mr. Capó's father, Simon, traded farm products for used furniture, which he restored and then sold. He eventually grew the business to a chain of five furniture stores, Casa Capó, which by 1950 was one of Cuba's largest furniture enterprises. When Fidel Castro came into power, Simon Capó's stores were taken from him, and in 1966, he and two of his sons fled Cuba in a small sailboat christened El Dorado. They obtained political refugee status in the United States, and Simon Capó opened a store named after the boat that brought them to freedom.
As chief executive officer of El Dorado Furniture, Manuel Capó continued his father's legacy of entrepreneurship and integrity. He captured the confidence and trust of South Florida customers, especially those in the Cuban community. He led the charge in exceptional customer service, targeting ethnic markets, offering same-day delivery, promoting the store as a brand and giving back to the community and industry. Among Mr. Capó's unique concepts are showrooms designed around a Boulevard, a nostalgic main street with realistic building facades, old-fashioned street lamps and benches which opens into individual, specialized furniture galleries.
El Dorado epitomizes the definition of a successful family business. All seven of Mr. Capó's sons worked side-by-side with him, along with 10 of his 20 grandchildren. Mr. Capó instilled in his family a passion for helping others. The company actively works with charities including Miami Children's Hospital, March of Dimes, League Against Cancer, Habitat for Humanity, Amigos for Kids, American Red Cross and City of Hope. For the company's 40th anniversary, Mr. Capó and his family celebrated by furnishing the homes of 40 needy South Florida families.
In October 2010, Manuel Capó was inducted in the American Furniture Hall of Fame. The timing of this honor is especially poignant as October is Hispanic Heritage month, and Manuel is the first Hispanic to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. Furthermore, the induction took place on October 17th, just one day shy of the 44th anniversary marking the first time Manuel touched land after leaving Cuba.