laépoca, founded 1885 in Havana, Cuba, began operations as a small fabric store on the streets of downtown Havana. In 1927, Diego Alonso and his brother Angel, both immigrants to the island from Spain, joined the store with dreams of turning it into the premier retail destination of Havana. laépoca soon became exceedingly successful and expanded rapidly from its original location.
In 1954, after the completion of a new building on the corner of Galiano and Neptuno Streets, laépoca became the third largest department store in Havana, employing over 400 persons and spanning five floors on half a city block. Third in square footage to El Encanto and Fin de Siglo, laépoca was known for its contemporary design.
Following the 1959 revolution that unseated president Fulgencio Batista, Fidel Castro was brought to power. In 1960, the newly formed Castro government forcibly confiscated laépoca as part of its campaign to end private enterprise in Cuba. Having lost what he worked for, Angel and Diego relocated their families to Miami to start over again.
In 1965, laépoca opened its doors again in Downtown Miami as a small corner store in the Alfred I. DuPont Building. No stranger to ambition, Diego Alonso, along with his sons Tony and Pepe, once again set their sights on building one of the city’s best retail businesses. The department store quickly expanded to nearly the entire ground floor of the building, including an upscale boutique for women, its own electronics store. During the 1970’s, laépoca was the premier retail destination in Downtown Miami with designer brands like Christian Dior, Lanvin, Yves Saint Laurent, Chanel, and Mary Anne Restivo.
The Alonso family purchased the historic Walgreen’s building in 1992, with a vision to one-day move laépoca to a new and better location. The six-floor, over 50,000 square foot building, built in 1936 in Art Deco style, is notable for being the third Walgreen’s pharmacy location outside of Chicago.
With a confident vision for Downtown Miami, Tony, Pepe, and Tony’s two sons, Brian and Randy decided that the future of laépoca was at a different location. Viewing the emerging development projects and the premium retail opportunity, laépoca opened its doors for the first time on December 18, 2005 at the historic Walgreen’s building, 200 East Flagler Street.
The new location, currently operating with retail space covering three floors and nearly 25,000 square feet of the building, sets the tone for historic Flagler Street. The store encompasses men’s, women’s, and children’s apparel, footwear, luggage, and accessories, with a range of brands from Lacoste, Ralph Lauren, Hugo Boss, and Diesel to Samsonite, Levi’s, Nike, and Puma. laépoca is proud to be family operated for three generations, focusing on attentive service and unique product selection in the heart of downtown Miami.