In 1938 the Cabezudo family set up a modest bakery in the courtyard of the building at number 52 Calle de la Estación in Miranda de Ebro where they made homemade biscuits and rosquillas (a kind of doughnut). By a strange quirk of fate, the building belonged to the Solana family and one of its members, José Luis, would later become the owner of Galletas Coral.
Following the death of the head of the family, in 1947, the small bakery business became known as Viuda de Epifanio Cabezudo S.C. . In 1952 the master biscuiteer Andrés Espallargas joined the firm and a new company was formed with the shares split 50-50 and this saw the change in its name to Galletas Coral. With him, Espallargas brought his two sons, Andrés and Guillermo and two nephews, Paco and Juan Monfort.
The new company’s prime ambition was to expand and grow the business, so it moved to a single storey block in Calle Ramón y Cajal, where a small factory with an 8-metre biscuit oven and mini-die-cutter line was installed. This is where they began making sponges and wafer sandwich biscuits, the “boer” wafers, initially just coconut flavour, and new products were introduced.
In 1957 Espallargas with his sons and nephews bought out Cabezudo’s widow and son-in-law’s stake in the firm. The biscuits at that time were sold in large reusable tinplate boxes. They had to be cleaned of rust, straightened out and repainted with red lead. The sponges were separated by sheets of paper. It was very labour intensive. The bags of flour and sugar, which weighed up to 120 kilos, were manoeuvred and stacked by hand. Sales grew steadily, and not just in Miranda, in Vitoria as well. They were outgrowing the little factory in the town.
Galletas Coral now took a big step and moved into a much larger, modern factory on the road to Orón. It had three ovens, one for sponges, a rotary oven and the one with die cutters, and a workforce of around 50 staff. At the end of the sixties, the new generation of Espallargas and Monfort cousins took charge of the business. The former looked after sales and administration and the latter supervised production. A shop remained in the calle Ramón y Cajal where Andrés Espallargas senior and his wife sold Coral products.
As an advertising platform, the company sponsored a cycling team which won some sporting success and helped to spread the Coral brand all over Spain. Sales continued to grow and Coral continued to expand the business. The workforce grew to nearly a hundred employees working round the clock in shifts, 24 hours per day.
At the end of the 60s, Coral experienced its most difficult years, problems which deepened even more due to the oil crisis in 1973. This is the point at which José Luis Solana joined the company, bringing with him his vast experience of consumer tastes, gained over the years since he started work behind the counter of his uncle’s grocer’s shop when he was just 14 years old. Thanks to a lot of hard work, they got through the bad times. Coral’s biscuits were selling all over the Iberian Peninsula and reached the Canary Islands, the Balearics, Ceuta, Melilla…
The factory on the road to Orón also became too small. It was necessary to take another step forward, the biggest in the history of Galletas Coral. The new 8,500 square metre plant was erected on a plot over 17,000 square metres in size, situated in the Bayas industrial estate and its five automated production lines and four high capacity silos made it one of the most modern biscuit factories in Spain.
In October 1999, José Luis Solana collected the “Business of the Year” award granted to Galletas Coral by the Federation of Business Associations, which was presented by the then President of the regional government, the Junta de Castilla y León, Juan José Lucas. In the year 2006, José Luis Solana’s son-in-law, Carlos Fernández Linares, after 16 years with the firm, became joint Managing Director with the former. Fernández Linares would have to navigate the 2007 financial crisis and his skill steered Galletas Coral safely through the difficult economic storm, managing to remain in profit year after year.
The relationship between Galletas Coral and Miranda’s social fabric has always been very close. Both Andrés Espallargas and José Luis Solana served as Chairman of the C. D. Mirandés, the former between 1956 and 1958 and the latter from 1981 to 1985. In 2016, José Luis Solana set up the Coral Foundation for the purpose of carrying out projects related to education and the environment, mainly in Miranda de Ebro and its surrounding district.
In 2015 a new chapter opened in the history of Galletas Coral. Yolanda Solana, the daughter of José Luis, was appointed as Managing Director and her sister Begoña Solana was elected to chair the Board of Directors. A process was started to update the facilities and modernise the machinery, a new, cutting-edge production line was installed and a new adventure embarked on, the penultimate one in the company’s history: to take Coral biscuits to every corner of the globe.