ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. — Champagne flowed as guests mingled at El Dorado Furniture's ribbon cutting in St. Pete Thursday night.

  • El Dorado Furniture expands to St. Petersburg
  • Store originally started in Miami in 1966
  • The store is a Capo family tradition

But amid the glitz and glamour, you'll find little reminders of the journey that led to this moment.

“My father started the business when he arrived on a little boat to the United States,” said Roberto Capo, Chief Marketing Officer.

Capo's father, Manuel, fled Cuba on a boat called “El Dorado” in the 1960s.

“He said, ‘Whatever we do, if I make it to freedom, I’m going to name the store after the boat,’” Capo said.

The first store opened in 1966 in Miami. All six of Capo’s sons, Roberto included, grew up with heavy involvement in the family business.

“(Working) right after school, it was our summer job,” Capo said.

El Dorado Furniture continued to grow in size and value, soon becoming a South Florida staple.

“His education was a third grade education so his principles were basic — treat people right, do the right thing, and work hard,” Capo said.

The St. Pete location is special to the Capo family — it's the first time the store is expanding north.

Capo says it’s something his father always wanted to see.

“It’s an honor today. (My parents are) not with us anymore, but it’s an honor for us to continue that legacy, and knowing that his dream to continue growing throughout Florida is still alive and well,” he said.