In 1956, The Howard J. Kuske Company started in business by manufacturing small furniture and installed and manufactured blinds, custom window treatments and upholstery. The company was located in Escondido. In 1975, Tom Reid was asked to become Howard’s partner. At that time, they branched out to include floor coverings, carpet cleaning, upholstery cleaning, and floor maintenance. Originally located on Industrial Avenue in Escondido, in 1977, The Kuske Company moved to 445 North Hale Avenue in Escondido. The office was only about a thousand square feet, but they quickly expanded to encompass the entire property that included some warehouse space. In these early years, without a forklift, all delivered items, including huge rolls of carpet and base, were unloaded by hand. Rolls of carpet were often lassoed and dragged off the back of delivery trucks.
In the mid 70’s, John Boyce, was hired by Formulabs, Inc. right out of college, and was given a sales territory of 13 states on the East Coast. John was selling high end ball point pen inks and inks to color code insulated wire for Formulabs. He was living in New Jersey with his new bride, Donna, his college sweetheart. After 2 ½ years in sales, John was promoted to National Sales Manager. John and Donna, were then transferred to Formulabs main office located in Escondido from the East Coast. John was now travelling all over the country for sometimes 3 weeks at a time. After a few years, and wanting to start a family, John decided to take the next step in his professional career and was offered a partnership in The Kuske Company as a third owner. John decided to concentrate on developing more commercial business. In 1981, John Boyce and Tom Reid bought out all the interests from Howard J. Kuske, and Howard retired. In 1984, John Boyce bought out his partner Tom Reid, and became the sole owner of The Kuske Company.
In 1988, The Kuske Company expanded its footprint in the commercial flooring business by merging with an installation business, Gordon’s Resilient Floors in San Marcos. The owners, Gordon & Phyllis Oviatt, were instrumental in the continued growth of the company. Now, with the Oviatt’s involved, The Kuske Company had acquired their own “In House” installers. Also at this time, Kuske’s purchased their first forklift, which was a 1953 Clark. What a beauty! With a concerted effort to increase sales, the Kuske Company expanded into more office and warehouse space in the same area on North Hale. Through its expansion, The Kuske Company was now concentrating more on commercial business, specializing in the medical and senior living fields.
Steady growth continues throughout the 1980’s, and an additional need for more installers arises. John reaches out to another labor company, and in 1990, Gordon Van Horn & Sons joins The Kuske Company as additional “In House” installers. With an in-house labor force in place, Kuske’s provided installation for end users, contractors, and designers.
Throughout the 90’s, the company continued to grow and it again became necessary to expand into a larger location. In 1997, Kuske’s purchased a 10,000 square foot industrial building which included an area for offices, show rooms, and a large warehouse at 610 Alpine Way in Escondido, where they still reside. The Kuske Company also opened a second location on India Street near downtown San Diego. Around this same time, John started a sister company called Workplace Services, Inc.
In 1998, Workplace Services/The Kuske Company joined the commercial buying group, Re:Source Americas. John was also President of the San Diego County Floor Covering Association in 1997 & 1998. He was an active board member of the World Floor Covering Association for 3 years, from 1998 to 2000. Today, John is still connected with the Escondido Sunrise Rotary Club, having been President in 2004 and 2005, and is on the Board of Directors of the YMCA.
In 2006, Workplace Services/The Kuske Company switched from its affiliation with Re:Source Americas over to the StarNet Commercial Flooring Partnership. In 2008, the company closed a satellite location and remodeled and expanded its office and warehouse on Alpine Way.
John has many great memories of being in the flooring business after spending over thirty five years. John always respected his talented team of installers, especially when they would install Axminster and woven carpets by hand sewing the seams. In the 90’s, Kuske’s crews installed all the carpet in the Crown Room, banquet halls and was involved in the 400 room remodel at the Hotel Del Coronado. All woven carpet during this installation was hand sewn and power stretched. John also enjoyed the job of Golf Tournament Chairman for the annual SDCFCA event at Singing Hills Golf Club for several years. And, those involved will never forget the fun we had on the Floor Excellence Committee partying-trips down to Ensenada after a full day at the Floor Excellence show. John is also grateful for the wonderful friends he’s made with both competitors and suppliers, while being involved in the SDCFCA.
Today, Workplace Services/Kuske Interiors continues to provide its commercial and residential customers with quality interior products and services in San Diego County. For more information on Workplace Services, Inc. please visit their website at: www.workplaceservices.com. And, for more stories and information on the San Diego County Floor Covering Association, look at www.SDCFCA.com