Bed's So U Nique by Ralphael

Ralph McNish at M&M Upholstery Inc. now specializing in making custom beds


Ralph McNish, co-owner of M&M Upholstery Inc., has started Bed's So U Nique, a custom bed business.

ELIZABETH HAMILTON/Special to the Guardian
Published: Wednesday, May 22, 2013 at 1:43 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, May 22, 2013 at 1:43 p.m.

Bed's So U Nique by Ralphael at M&M Inc., which specializes in customized beds, is a new business at the family-owned M&M Upholstery Inc. in Gainesville.

The custom bed business is operated by Ralph McNish, 37, co-owner of M&M, with his older brother, David Myers. The business at 201 NW 6th St. was founded 30 years ago by their mother, Dorothy McNish.

Ralph McNish said he works closely with customers to ensure that he makes the kind of bed they want. He said he tries to get customers to tell him all of the details they have in mind before drawing them a sketch. He said once the customer approves the sketch, he orders the materials, which he said is the longest part of the process, most of the time.

McNish said the most common types of materials requested by customers are suede, tapestry and vinyl.

McNish said he can build any kind of bed a customer wants, including putting a child's name in the head and foot boards.

“Once I get the materials, it takes one to two days to make the bed,” said McNish. He said the cost of full-, queen- and king-sized beds range from $300 to $500 and twin-sized beds range from $200 to $300, plus materials. “The style of the bed also determines the cost of the bed.”

In addition to custom beds, M&M also specializes in re-upholstering residential and commercial furniture and also automobile interiors. The business also has a used and antique furniture sales department where beds, sofas, love seats, dining room tables, lamps and more are sold. The business recently closed its carpet cleaning department.

McNish said the custom beds market in Gainesville is not that competitive, but he sees it growing as more people become aware that it exists. He said people like custom beds because they cater to the needs and wants of each customer.

“Everything starts with the customer, from the color pattern they want to the particular style they may want,” McNish said. “I might suggest something to them or they might show me a picture they got off the Internet. Customers have thousands of materials and bed styles to choose from.”

He said the inspiration to start the custom bed department came after he purchased a bed that broke soon afterward, coupled with an idea for a bed his girlfriend had in mind.

He said he really didn't find the kind of bed he wanted when he went shopping for one two years ago after moving into a new apartment.

“I went around looking for an upholstered bed, but only found a couple that I liked, and they were all cream or chocolate colored, and all the same style,” said McNish. He said he bought a bed and put it up before deciding he didn't like the location in the room.

“I tried to move it, and it broke on me,” he said. “I hadn't had it two days. I said to myself, ‘I can make a better bed than that.'”

McNish said the thought of making customized beds became a reality when girlfriend Carrie Rojas told him she wanted a special bed this year for Valentine's Day. Rojas, who is fond of lips and hearts, told him she wanted a black and red custom bed with the head board and the foot board made in the shape of lips.

“I made it with red lips and a black background and that is how the business started in January of this year,” said McNish, adding that the bedrails are red.

Rojas said McNish made the bed better than how she had imagined.

“It is very unique and very girly and it expresses my personality,” said Rojas, adding that she has a “very happy and girly” personality. “He did a better job than I thought he would do because it is just so unique, so different and so perfect.”

McNish said he realized he could be successful in the custom bed business once the department opened.

“When I got my first customer, I made her bed, then a friend of hers came in and another friend came in, and I was like, OK, this is a pretty good idea right here,” McNish said.

Hours of operation are 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. The phone number is 352-376-5728.

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