William Jopling, or more commonly known as Jop, was known to many as a flooring pioneer, but to us, his TW Flooring Group employees, he was so much more. Today is a difficult day for us because it’s the one year mark of Jop’s passing. Over the past year we’ve done a lot to honor Jop, including revitalizing one of his first companies, this company, but today we want to remember him for who he was.
Jop wasn’t just our boss, he was our friend, our mentor, our trusted leader, the glue in our little work family. Some of us knew and worked with Jop for 25 years, some of us for only a few months, but we can all say that Jop was very fond of the greetings “Yo” and “What’s up?”, he had his own unique style, he was someone you wanted to be around and know, and he was someone who was always there.
In honor of today, we all got together to think about what Jop was to us and now we’d like to share them with the world, all of our thoughts, our stories, our photos and our remembrances.
“I met Jop about 25 years ago when I was working at a mill. He just strolled in one day and asked me what we do here, so I showed him around. After that, Jop started sending us (Thompson Mahogany) more and more exotic wood flooring, then renting storage space, then renting office space. After he split with his partner, we partnered up to create Wood Flooring International and worked in a tiny little office at Thompson Mahogany.
We didn’t stay there long, the small WFI office was moved to the fourth floor of Jop’s house after a few months, where five employees ran the business. It was tight, up there on the fourth floor. One time I interviewed someone at the dining room table downstairs. Jop’s daughter, who was a year or two, came streaking through the dining room with her mom chasing after her, it was so embarrassing. Parking was a mess, too. We’d always be running out to the street to move our cars in the middle of the workday. We grew a lot from there.
All that time working together and he always started the day with the greeting ‘What’s up?’ He finished the day with ‘What a day’ or he would ask you as you were leaving for the day ‘What happened today?’”
“A typical day for me started with a call in the morning on his way in and a call late at night on his way home. He always greeted me the same way and what I wouldn’t give for one more ‘Yo, dude’.
I first met Jop when I was creating a private label wood line for the largest flooring distributor in the country. I had many suppliers that wanted to be part of this collection. I had heard about this guy named Bill Jopling who really knew hardwood flooring, so I called him and we set up an appointment. Jop and Andy walked into the meeting with no samples. Jop was wearing jeans, dress shirt hanging out, sandals and a hoodie. JOP STYLE! 2 hours later I knew this was my supplier. You only had to meet Jop once and know you wanted to be around him.”
“We all loved Jop, he was more than just a boss, he was also a friend, a mentor and always ready to help you. Some of us got to know Jop really well and went through with him some really challenging times in the history of his businesses. But through it all, Jop always maintained a positive attitude and was determined to make it succeed, that did take a toll on him with countless hours of work that he put in to the company. It is because of the foundation he laid down for Tesoro that we are still here. As we remember him on the one year anniversary of his death, we pay tribute and honor him and not just in a professional level, for everything he has done for the flooring industry, but also on a personal level for the friend that he was. He is missed and will always have a place in my heart.”
“Jop called me every Friday to see how business was for the week. He was a huge motivator for us all. The one thing he told me that I’ll always remember was “Just get one sale at a time!” Miss his enthusiasm and love for what he was doing.”
“My mornings at work involved a ‘Yooo’ or a ‘What’s up?’ from Jop when he strolled in wearing jeans, a hoodie and sandals or socks or sometimes no shoes at all. He was my first real boss out of college and he definitely wasn’t what I was expecting. It wasn’t just the way he dressed or greeted me, it was how he always made it a point to check in with everyone every day, how he came up with these amazingly creative ideas and how he joked with all of us. I’ll always remember how Jop put so much time and effort into work, but he was still so carefree and happy. He did what he loved, so he created this relaxed atmosphere and comradery in the office – I miss that about him.”
“I am in California travelling with our rep and Galleher staff. It is the day I am leaving to come home after being gone all week.
Jop calls and says, ‘We are flying to Costa Rica to visit a flooring factory so you need to get a plane ticket.’
‘When?’ I ask.
‘Today’ Jop replies.
‘What?! I don’t have clothes to travel to a flooring factory in Costa Rica! I only have clothes and shoes to call on customers, like long dress pants, dress shoes, and I have only packed for the days I have been here.’
‘Don’t worry’, in typical Jop fashion, ‘Just find a Goodwill store and buy some clothes!’”
“I remember one time when Jop, his nephew and I were in a little 4-seat puddle jumper flying over the jungle, going from one remote sawmill in Guatemala to another one across the border in Belize. The pilot was flying low over the forest to stay out of turbulence, but it wasn’t working that well and the plane, which must have been at least 30 years old, was bucking. I was genuinely scared. But after one particularly bad bounce, I looked over at Jop and he looked back with that big Cheshire grin, enthusiastic like a little kid. The look on his face said it all – it said “these are the moments that make life fun.” And suddenly I was having fun, and we laughed the whole rest of the way to Belize. When we got there, we met with an old Texan who carried two .45’s in his belt to scare away thieves, at a mill where there were rastas sleeping on top of all of the machines. Later that afternoon we went swimming with sharks. We laughed together through the whole day.
Jop wasn’t just a friend and a teacher, he was a mentor for how to approach life. I miss that man. I always will.”
“I met Jop 22 years ago when I worked for Thompson Mahogany. I was young and ready to take on the world. He was older and established and had a presence that I could only wish to obtain. I learned a lot from him, how to think outside the box, the value of good marketing, always be ahead of everyone, and formal footwear in the summer is silly.
Jop was one of a kind. One of life’s great characters, and I’m blessed to have known him.”
Obviously, Jop meant so much to all of us, and he continues to mean so much to us. We continue his work and his dream here at Tesoro Woods every day. To our boss, our mentor, our trusted leader, our friend: rest in peace, you’re always in our minds and hearts.