Curacao (department store)
|Headquarters||Los Angeles, California, USA|
Number of locations
Number of employees
|Parent||ADIR International, LLC|
Curacao (pronounced Koo-ra-sao), formerly La Curacao, is a large-format retail department store chain. Founded in 1978, Curacao is headquartered in Los Angeles with retail locations in California and Arizona.
The company is said to be uniquely positioned to serve Hispanic and Latino Americans. The stores feature Spanish-language signs and bilingual salesclerks. Curacao sells most of its merchandise on credit to over two million private label cardholders. The company's services also include Curacao Travel, Curacao Money Transfer, Pasito (Internet service provider) and CuraTel (long-distance calling services).
Jerry Azarkman opened La Curacao, a consumer-product door-to-door sales company, in Burbank, California. It became popular among Hispanic people who did not have access to credit. Salesmen allowed customers to buy their goods by placing a down payment and then returning to the customer's residence to collect payments on a regular basis. This service eventually evolved into Curacao's credi-card business. Azarkman's brother, Ron Azarkman, joined the company in 1980.
In 1983, La Curacao moved to the Pico-Union district in Los Angeles. By 1984, it had opened its export division, which allowed customers to shop for goods and have them shipped to their families in Mexico and Central America. During the Los Angeles Riots in 1992, the store was burned down and its inventory destroyed. Two weeks later, the business reopened near its previous location.
In 1995, La Curacao opened its second store, in the Panorama City district of the San Fernando Valley. Inside the Panorama City Mall, the new store featured Mesoamerican style decor and child care. The company also purchased the office tower at 1605 West Olympic Boulevard, now the La Curacao Business Center, where its headquarters are now situated.
In 2012, La Curacao was renamed Curacao, with a new logo.
The retailer has expressed plans to further expand into Nevada and Texas and market toward the English speaking communities as well.
Credit is the cornerstone of Curacao's success with credit cardholders accounting for about 90% of the chain's sales. Curacao is known to provide financing to those who cannot easily access it. The combination of retail and providing financial services has proven successful for the Hispanic market. It is said that most general-market retailers have policies that make it difficult for Latino immigrants to get credit, while Curacao makes it easy for them. The retailer approves 75 percent of credit card applications regardless of immigration status through proprietary credit scoring methods and interviewing techniques. The Curacao credit card is the first credit card for a majority of its cardholders. The percentage of cardholders who default on their payments is on par to that of the credit card industry. The annual interest rates are comparable to most other retail stores, such as Macy's, Sears, and The Gap.
Curacao caters its credit and other services specifically to the needs of the Hispanic community. Its export service delivers merchandise to Central America and Mexico from warehouses in Mexico, El Salvador and Guatemala. The company also provides home mortgage services, travel services, and money transfer with customers able to use their cards to borrow the money they transfer.
Export is one of Curacao's services. Customers can purchase a product in the United States and have it delivered to Latin American countries. The company has its own warehouses in Mexico and Central America and operates a home-delivery program.
The La Curacao Foundation
The La Curacao Foundation, or Fundacion La Curacao Para Los Niños, was established in 2002 to provide assistance to needy children by donating basic home products. It also gives to non-profit organizations.
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