Women’s History Month: Honoring Aida Capó, the Spirit of El Dorado Furniture

Co-founder of El Dorado Furniture Aida Capo

Even before the company’s founding in 1967, the spirit of El Dorado Furniture was encapsulated in one extraordinary woman. Aida Capó, co-founder of El Dorado Furniture alongside her husband Manuel Capó, was not just a savvy businesswoman who helped turn a modest family business into one of the most successful Hispanic-owned businesses in the United States. She was also a wife, mother, grandmother, and matriarch whose indomitable spirit kept the family together through impossible odds.

Born in 1926, Aida Rosa Peraza and her five siblings were raised in Pinar del Río, Cuba. After graduating in 1947, she met her future husband, Manuel, son of prominent furniture manufacturer Simon Capó, while walking in a city park. They wed in August of that year and soon started a family that would eventually grow to six children. 

Aida worked diligently to raise the family while also keeping up with her career as a teacher until 1966, when Manuel decided to leave Cuba to seek a better life for the family in the United States. Because the revolutionary government had nationalized all private business, the Capó family could not sustain their livelihood and made the difficult choice to leave their homeland.

Manuel, along with sons Luis and Carlos, smuggled themselves out of the country on a small sailboat called El Dorado, landing first in Mexico and eventually making it to Miami. Meanwhile, Aida bravely remained in Cuba to take care of the younger children, who could not make such a dangerous trip. Her patience and courage in the face of family separation would be rewarded: The family reunited the next year when Aida and her three younger sons Julio, Pedro, and Jesus landed in Miami and began their new journey, while also celebrating the birth of their youngest child, Roberto. They used a $10,000 loan from the Small Business Administration to open a new furniture store on Calle Ocho (Eighth Street) and named their company El Dorado Furniture after the boat that brought them to the Land of Opportunity. 

Even with the family in exile, Aida remained the guiding light that kept the Capó clan together through thick and thin, maintaining family traditions and making sure the whole family gathered for Christmas year after year. As El Dorado Furniture grew from a tiny business to a massive business with 14 showrooms, Aida made sure that family formed the central pillar of the company ethos. As a result of her efforts, El Dorado remains a family-owned business. All six of Aida’s sons make up the company’s board of directors and several of Aida’s grandchildren are involved in its day-to-day workings. 

As El Dorado Furniture became a pillar of the Miami community, touching the lives and homes of millions of customers in South Florida and beyond, the community also gave back to Aida. In 2002 she was awarded the Hispanic Broadcasting Corporation’s “Woman of the Year” award, and in 2018, a few months after she passed away at the ripe old age of 91, the City of Miami memorialized her by renaming the intersection of 72nd Avenue and 12th Street “Aida Rosa Capó Way.” 

El Dorado Furniture wishes to honor the extraordinary life of this indomitable woman, whose guidance we could not have survived and prospered without. Truly, she was and remains the wind in El Dorado’s sails.

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