From the New Mexico Business Weekly

From the February 6, 2004 print edition

Steve Gongora, president, House of Covers

Steve Gongora, 48, is the president of House of Covers, a small family business in Nob Hill. The business has been providing automotive upholstery repairs, custom fittings and restorations since 1972. House of Covers also features interior upholstery accessories such as dashboard covers and sheepskin seat covers, as well as exterior accessories like front-end masks and car covers.


The business, with just five employees, has done its fair share of high-end restoration business including work on Ferraris, classic cars and vintage automobiles. In September of last year, when the production crew of "Elvis Has Left the Building," a motion picture comedy starring Kim Basinger, came to New Mexico to film, they had a problem. The crew found a 1955 Cadillac in Corrales, but it had a red and white interior. They wanted an all-white, original interior, so they called House of Covers to convert the car. The finished product was exactly what the producers were looking for.

bullet Family: Wife, Rita; daughters, Emily, 16; Bernadette, 14; and nephew, Jake, works for the family business
bullet Education: I graduated from UNM in 1977 with a degree in business.
bullet Hometown/childhood: I was born in Paris and spent my childhood in France, Germany and in several states including California, Oklahoma, Texas and North Carolina.
bullet First job: Busboy at Mama Mia's restaurant, which is no longer in business
bullet Why start business: My father, Hector, was in the military and retired in 1970 and then started House of Covers in 1972. I started school at UNM in 1973. Upon graduating in 1977, the business became my full focus and in 1982 my father was called to active duty and the full responsibility of House of Covers fell my shoulders.
bullet Greatest business challenge: Keeping up with the changes in the interior automotive design industry.
bullet Best way to keep a competitive edge: You must be aware of the national industry and focus on your own unique way of customer satisfaction and high quality workmanship.
bullet Like most about job: The challenge of creating new and exciting creations of interiors and the ability to deliver.
bullet Like least about job: Long hours
bullet Toughest business decision: Saying no to a job
bullet Best business decision: Moving from last physical location in 1977
bullet Business philosophy: Listen to the customers and deliver the highest quality product
bullet Mentor: Two former employees who were there when we started out in 1972. Charlie Palmer taught me how to cut patterns. He used to cut several layers of vinyl at one time and there was no margin for error. Vince Chavez taught me many facets of the upholstery trade.
bullet Growth goals: To maintain our steady business and provide this service to the community and, in turn, the business grows
bullet Word that best describes you: Systematic
bullet Current read: Auto Trim News
bullet Top three passions: Woodworking, computers and autos
bullet Stress reducer: Creating things in the workshop, skiing, involvement in the Corvairs of New Mexico and traveling
bullet Phone: 256-0551
bullet E-mail:
bullet Web site:
bullet Address: 115 Richmond Drive NE

If you know a business owner who should be featured in Snapshot, contact Managing Editor Eileen Garvin at 348-8323 or

2004 American City Business Journals Inc.

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