Santiago Pons Quintana 1929-2020
Born in Alaior (Menorca) in 1929, Santiago Pons Quintana was the first son of Santiago Pons Victory and Magdalena Quintana Vinent, a humble family that like all in his time lived in a troubled time. He was lucky to go to school in the same municipality and was able to study high school with Dr. Hernandez-Mora during his stay in Alaior.
During and after the Spanish Civil War, like many people in Minorca, he suffered from hunger and the narrowness that prevailed, and this was to be added to the lack of his father, who was imprisoned after the war, leaving the family with the only support of his mother.
He learned the shoemaker job from his uncle, Pepe Quintana, who gave him the first opportunity to work, and helped his family during his father's absence.
During this time, one of his tasks was to clean the workshop, and he picked up the scraps of skin he found to take advantage of the only thing that fit in those pieces, children's shoes.
These shoes were designed, cut and assembled, with the help of his parents, and they were sold in "Can Dineru", the store in Alaior´s main square that ran, and runs, the family of who would be his wife Inés Palliser Mascaró.
It was in that store where was made the first big order for Pons Quintana. An incredible request to export children's shoes to Iceland. In those circumstances, and with a unique entrepreneurial nature, he did not hesitate to start his own company, and manufacture these shoes together with his family in a rented space in San Francisco´s Cloister of Alaior (Es pati de sa Lluna).
This order launched the company, which was founded as it is known today in 1953. He was 24 years old.
From children shoes, the business move to the slippers market, made with all the craftsmanship known in Menorca, and which led the company's international expansion. Even the Queen of England, Elisabeth II, came to wear Pons Quintana slippers, marketed on the five continents.
With the decline of the slippers at the end of the 70s, Santiago Pons Quintana start a new business in the women's shoe market, while the second generation of the family was incorporated into the company.
After the first collections that allowed to maintain the sales of the company, Santiago Pons Quintana recovered the traditional leather woven of the Balearic Islands, giving a new vision to this product. At the end of the 80s Pons Quintana became one of the world leaders in women's woven footwear, a position that it continues to maintain today.
At this time, its legacy continues as a 100% Menorcan Company, with more than 100 employees, producing more than 200,000 pairs of footwear, of which, more than 70% are exported outside Spain.
Committed to Alaior and Menorca, he was First Deputy Mayor of the City Council of Alaior in the first democratic elections, Founder and President of the Local Association of the Red Cross of Alaior, Vice President of ALAIOR Football Club, where he played for many years, President of the Cultural Center of Alaior, Vice President of the Spanish Federation of Footwear Manufacturers (FICE), President of the Association of Footwear Manufacturers of Menorca, President of the Federation of Small and Medium Companies of Menorca (PIME Menorca) and President of the Federation of Small and Medium Companies of the Balearic Islands.
A tireless entrepreneur, he believed in Menorca, in the working capacity and entrepreneurial capacity of the Menorca´s people, and was a strong advocate that the progress of the Menorca´s companies had to always lead to an improvement in the standard of living of all its citizens.
In 1994, he formally retired giving the company the relief of his sons Magdalena and Santiago Pons-Quintana Palliser, although he went to the factory every day until it was possible, reviewing the production, contributing with his experience, and in recent years he was looking forward to the possibility of making a new slippers collections like those that had given him success in the 60s, drawing them and making the patterns tirelessly.
He has died at age 90 surrounded by his whole family.
Rest in peace.