Alvaro Jiron Rojas, president of family-owned Costa Rican manufacturing major Colchones Jiron, died Jan. 30 following a sudden illness. He was 80.
Jiron Rojas spent his entire career in bedding, joining his father at the San Jose-based mattress maker founded by his grandparents while still in his early teens. He worked his way up, eventually assuming the helm in the late 1970s.
“My father dedicated his life to the company,” said his son Alvaro Jiron Garcia, Colchones Jiron chief executive officer, who, along with two siblings, works in the family business. “He was a tireless workaholic with a passion for the business.”
Born with a natural mechanical aptitude, Jiron Rojas hand built the company’s first innerspring assembler. The machine was the first of its kind to operate in Costa Rica—and still is in use today—but has since been joined by many coilers and assemblers from major suppliers, Jiron Garcia added.
The company grew under Jiron Rojas from a small shop into a fully automated plant with an output of as many as 1,000 mattresses per day and a production staff of 40. The company also opened seven retail outlets in Costa Rica and expanded distribution across the country, supplying more than 1,200 other retail showrooms. It also distributes in Nicaragua and has a brisk hospitality business across Central America and in the Caribbean.
According to Jiron Garcia, Jiron Rojas was well-known and well-respected among industry suppliers and machinery makers around the world, many of whom his father met with at the 26 ISPA EXPOs he “thoroughly enjoyed” attending during his lifetime. At the 2014 Orlando show, his father spent almost the entire time visiting with old industry friends, leaving the work to his children, his son said.
Survivors include his second wife Kathy Alfaro; three children from his first marriage, Alvaro, Jorge and Trilce; two children from his second marriage, Andreina and Andres; and five grand-children.