extracted from article written in Auto & Trim Restyling News

July 1998

When Hector Gongora retired from the military after 26 years, he wasn’t quite sure what to do with himself. A warrant officer with some managerial experience, Gongora wasn’t about to let his organizational skills go to waste, so he decided to go into a partnership with an associate who had experience in the trim and upholstery industry.

“We just started the shop up from scratch,” Gongora says. “I called a few dealers in the area and they came with me, and we’ve built it up since then. We advertised the first six months and stopped. After that, it has been mostly word-of-mouth referrals and repeat business.”

Thirty-eight years and several trends later House of Covers is a centrally located “traditional” upholstery shop near historic Route 66 in Albuquerque, N.M. Steve Gongora attributes their success to his father’s “clean” initial approach, which stems from a non-journeyman background. Hector Gongora’s fresh set of eyes saw a future that eventually branched into a professional, solid focus on pure and simple business practices.

House of Covers staffs four employees two of whom have been with House of Covers since 1982.  Steve along with his wife Rita manage the front office and sales.  Rafael Molina and Juan Encinas are the backbone of the craft which shapes the company and its quality.  Hector offers his smile and experience to maintain that identity which makes the business what it is today.

 “What makes us different from other shops is that we concentrate heavily on our final product,” Gongora says. “This is a labor-intensive type of industry, and while it’s good to be aware of what the other guy is doing, I think you need to spend the majority of time minding your own store, which to me means having the best tools I can get and the cleanest areas for my employees to work in."  We even had an ergonomics engineer spend a week with us to analyze, study, and recommend a guideline for a safe and continuing work environment for our employees.  Safety is number one for longevity.

But whatever comes and goes and comes back again, House of Covers’ attention will always be on the task at hand and on the best and most efficient way of getting the job done. Even after 38 years, the view from the showroom, inventory room and garage is still the same — a fresh perspective that is underlined with innate expertise.

"Joy Keller is associate editor of Auto Trim & Restyling News."

Business Weekly Story - Steve Gongora

Steve Gongora Spin Instructor



Hector Gongora born 10-3-1929 - died 2-15-2011

Hector Gongora was born in Mission, Texas on October 3, 1929.  His mother, Sylvestra passed away in 2010 at the age of 101.  His father Jose passed away in 1961.  Hector was sent at the age of 13 to Corrales, NM to become a preacher for the Seventh Day Aventist Church.  He helped build the school and would travel north of the Sandia's to bring back coal from Madrid to heat the school.  The dormitory still stands today.   His calling was elsewhere and at 17 he took a bus to California and got a job as a bartender.  His networking skills brought him in contact with many stars of the day such as Nat King Cole, who took him under his wing and gave him great leads for work.  He was an extra in the film Treasures of the Sierra Madre in 1948.  He joined the service and began a long respected career in the Army.  While stationed at Sandia Base he met and married Marie Fuentes in January of 1950.  Together they traveled all over the world and the United States.  Their children, Carolyn, Elizabeth, and Steve benefitted from all the wonderful people they met and the experiences they had as they traveled with their parents.  They were fortunate to have lived in France, Germany, Texas, California, Oklahoma, North Carolina, and New Mexico which has always been home.  In the service, he held many jobs as an enlisted man and as an officer.  Some of those jobs included, medic, chef, nuclear weapons instructor, and nuclear weapons inspector which took him to many unusual places like Turkey and even landing on an aircraft carrier as well as submerging in a submarine.  He retired in 1970 with 23 years of service.  He worked at different jobs and opened House of Covers in 1972.  He worked with his wife and son, Steve till 1982.  He was called back into active duty for another 4½ yearsand retired a second time from the service.  His love of service continued as a Lt. Colonel in the Reserves giving him 48 years of combined service.  Hs loved his country.  In his retirement he volunteered for many veteran organizations such as PVA, DAV, MOW, American Legion.  He also gave his time to the Catholic Community at Risen Savior as an usher, altar server greeter.  He was a former Knights of Columbus.  Every first Saturday he assisted the priest at Gate of Heaven Mausoleum Mass.  After his wife, Marie passed away in 2003, he married Dorothy Moller.  He and Dorothy enjoyed dancing.  The volunteered at the veteran's spinal clinic by providing entertainment to the patients.  They enjoyed traveling until Hector's illness made that difficult.  Although three weeks before he passed away, they took a trip to Hawaii.  His passing was peaceful surrounded by his loved ones.  Zachary, his great-grandson was present and launched a red heart balloon to the sky saying "Now Grandpa can catch it in heaven".

Home Page Products  Photos

115 Richmond NE, Albuquerque, NM  87106-2125

phone (505)256-0551, fax (505)256-0555

Steve Gongora -  stevegongora@houseofcovers.com

Rita Gongora - rita@houseofcovers.com 


Personal History - Steve Gongora has had a personal interest in Corvairs since the mid sixties when his cousin visited the family in his early model rear engine Corvair.  The idea of the motor and its appearance was fascinating.  He started driving one in 1970 and has been driving them ever since.  A 1964 Corvair van has been Steve's daily driver since 1982.  He also owns a 1966 Corsa and a 1962 Rampside Truck which has been featured in a couple of calendars and publications.

For more information on our local Corvairs of New Mexico club click below for their website

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this page has been updated on 12/13/2017