Andres Capó, left is the distributions center operations leader for El Dorado Furniture. His cousin Suen is a buyer for upholstery and outdoor furniture. Andres’ brother Luis is the visual display leader.
August 7, 2014—
Andres, Suen and Luis Capó are the latest family members leading El Dorado Furniture. They’re smart enough to rely on the experience of their fathers, but they’ve also got a few ideas of their own.
RetailerNOW: How did you get involved in the furniture business?
Andres: I was maybe 13 or 14 years old and didn’t have an Xbox or games like that to play with so when Dad (Luis Capó) went to one of his stores we asked if we could go with him just to get out of the house.
Luis: Yeah, we’d do anything there, sweep the floors, vacuum, or clean the bathrooms—anything at all.
Andres: Little by little we got the passion and we grew into the business. A lot of second- or third-generation kids might feel like they had no other choice but to join the family business, but we had an open menu of things to choose from. We all had different choices available to us and we chose to be here.
RetailerNOW: Your family is originally from Cuba and your stores are in South Florida, an extremely heavy Hispanic area. Do you market heavily to Hispanics?
Luis: Surprisingly not much because we’re already known to them. The challenge for us is to get to the Anglo community and let them know were not the old-style, wood-only (cheap) stuff we were 47 years ago.
Suen: We’ve got the largest selection of contemporary furniture around. That’s the message were trying to get out there. We’re trying to target that message to younger buyers.
RetailerNOW: That’s what every retailer is trying to do. How do you connect with younger buyers?
Luis: It starts with the uniqueness of the pieces we offer. We think we’re different from your average retailer.
Andres: We’re changing up the website, too. We’re making it a little more modern and easier for younger buyers. These days people want to shop without getting out of bed.
Suen: We want to show you every piece of furniture with a 15-second video. If our ottoman can turn into a single bed, you should be able see how that happens without having to come into the store.
RetailerNOW: How much do your parents respect your opinions on the direction of the business?
Suen: Oh, a lot. My father (Carlos) is the head buyer. I get to travel all over the world with him. I’ve learned a lot from him. He’s very fashion forward. Back in the 1970s our store was completely contemporary so he was ahead of his time. I think I’ve learned so much from him that he’s learned to trust what I tell him.
RetailerNOW: What do you guys do when you’re not working?
Andres: I love boating, fishing, going to a movie or a mall.
Luis: I’ve got three kids so we’re big into cruise ships. I love the southern Caribbean, but anywhere in the Caribbean really.
Suen: I go on vacations and go to furniture stores.
RetailerNOW: Really? Furniture stores on vacation? I thought vacations were to get away from work.
Suen: I know, I know, but the business gets inside you and it starts running through your veins. You might get a lot of creative ideas from another store’s display or lighting.
RetailerNOW: What does your family or loved ones think about a vacation that includes a stop at a furniture store.
Suen: Oh, they don’t like it at all. Our significant others shake their heads and say ‘Stop it. That’s not natural.’
RetailerNOW: Why NextGen?
Andres: No matter how big or small your company is, there’s always going to be someone out there with a better idea for you. We want to take advantage of that.
Luis: The older generation is moving on and the younger generation is taking control. To all these furniture stores passing on being a (NextGen) member, I’d tell them to open your mind to see what the next generation can do. You made it work for your business, why can’t we?
Next Generation NOW (NGN or Next Gen NOW) is a community of young, passionate and engaged home furnishings professionals. Next Gen NOW seeks to give a voice to the unique needs of future generations entering the workforce to educate the industry on how to attract and keep young talent. Connect with members online at social.ngnow.org or on Twitter @ngnow.