David and Ethel Knops established Knops Upholstery Inc. in 1958. Ethel helped with the books while David ran the workroom and took care of the clients. David always stressed quality workmanship, and with the help of longtime employees Maria Marquez, Joe Avalos and Jose Rodriguez, Knops Upholstery Inc. quickly became a name people can trust!
In 1987 David decided it was time to retire, he entrusted his good name and business to his long time employee Jose Rodriguez. Jose helped Knops for many years on a part time basis and accepted David’s offer to purchase the shop. Jose Rodriguez started working in the upholstery business in 1970 working, for Krohler Manufacturing Company. Krohler builds production line furniture, and when you are asked to finish 100 or more pieces of furniture per day, you have to be very fast. Jose developed his speed becoming one of the fastest workers in the company. Even as a young boy Jose was great with his hands, and was always the first to finish. On many occasions he would get paid for piecework. He would finish his number and go home early.
In 1972, Jose Rodriguez left Krohler in search for a more challenging career opportunity. He started working at a high- end furniture manufacturer called National Upholstering Company. National has showrooms all across the United States, and is famous for building some of the highest quality custom furniture available. Jose was there to help them build that reputation. He started working as an outsider and 3 months later he was promoted to full upholsterer. In a short period of time he was promoted to shop foreman in charge of 30 upholsterers, overseeing production of over 100 employees. He quickly became one of the owners most trusted employees because of his honesty and incredible work ethic. He was one of the company’s strictest foremen, never letting anything go that wasn’t done properly. He helped National Upholstering upholster many of their showpieces that were photographed and advertised in catalogs and magazines all over the world. He helped acquire large manufacturing contracts by simply producing a better product than the competition and has taught so many in the industry. Jose Rodriguez is not only the fastest and best upholsterer I know, but he is also is my hero and my father.
My name is Victor Rodriguez and in 1986 I started to learn the trade in the basement of our home. My dad would bring work home from Knops and we would finish it together in the evenings, and on Saturdays. I graduated from high school in June of 1987 and went straight to work at National. There was a big difference from reupholstering a piece of furniture in which the basic shape is already there and building up a piece of furniture from the bare frame. I was confused, and when I had a question for my dad I would have to wait because he was all over the company answering questions in different departments. I felt pretty worthless… here’s the bosses 17-year-old son who didn’t have a clue. I remember 1 day waiting for my dad and looking around the company trying to find him. I got eye contact with one of the journeymen. He saw that I was just waiting around and shook his head in disappointment. It gave me the spark I needed to push myself. My dad didn’t help my situation at the time because when I would finish a job and ask him for the next one, he would always give me the more difficult jobs to do. I would ask him “Dad can you please give me the easier jobs? He would always say, “If you learn to do the more difficult things first, then everything you do will become easy”. He was right.
Dad gave me a note pad and told me to write down each sofa style and any instructions he gave so I wouldn’t forget. In 3 months I started working on jobs that some of the journeymen were working on. In less than 5 months I started working on a very expensive premier line of sofas that were first upholstered in muslin and were primarily built up of hand stitched hair, making full 5 year journeyman pay. My dad also started to give me some of the company’s showpieces and samples. They were photographed and advertised in premier magazines all over the world. Every time I would finish a piece and put it on the floor. The same journeyman that shook his head at me just several months before would walk over to my piece, look it over, and say, “Man you do beautiful work”. Other journeyman would comment that they had never seen anyone learn so much so fast!
On January 1, 1988 Knops Upholstery Inc. opened its doors for the first time under the Rodriguez family name. Along with my dad, Jose, me and one of the best furniture finish men in the business, my brother Samuel, part time help from my sister Patricia, and all the wonderful help from the nicest person you could ever meet, my mom Margarita, we went to work.
Now over 20 years later with two new generations that have become our own. We have continued to build the name of Knops in treating every thing that we work on like a piece of art, and offering the best craftsmanship available. We have serviced the Greater Bay Area from Palo Alto to Tiburon, from Berkeley and Oakland, to Danville and Pleasanton, and as far up as Napa, Antioch, Tracy and Modesto.
We would now like to bring our very old school tradition and expertise to blend with our modern times.
With the help of my newest and oldest partner, my wife Stacy, the Rodriguez family welcomes you to our new website!
We will be offering all new custom products for sale and existing items for sale through a branch of the company named VSdezine.
From our family to yours,