Natural Choice Furniture started in 1978 by Charlie and Irene Coker. Charlie was a home builder; he built a lot of the Shasta Forrest Village homes in Shingletown, Ca. He transitioned from building homes to building furniture by opening up the Natural Choice Furniture Factory. He was primarily a wholesale retailer with a small retail outlet that was onsite. He sold to unfinished furniture stores. Charlie at one time had 25 employees working for Natural Choice Furniture. He also had a panel shop in Redding & a showroom in the old downtown mall. He met Mike McGunagle’s parents at an industry show in Reno Nevada. That is where Mikes parents started to buy Charlie’s products. He started with only Shaker, Contemporary and Country Style furniture. Charlie started buying wall bed mechanisms from the McGunagle family, where Mike was with his parents in Sonoma County.
Mike McGunagle started his career in Petaluma California building homes in Sea Ranch with his father and three brothers. He built homes from 1970-1976 and then the housing market crashed. In the 1970’s, they closed the coast line to building new homes. They called it the “Coastal Commission” and you could not build from the ocean to the ridgeline. That is when Mike’s dad became a furniture builder and started a chest bed store where they manufactured chest beds in 1975. Mike and his siblings from a very young age started helping their dad build all of the cabinetry and furniture in their family home. Once all of the housing construction went down & they had the chest bed store, Mike was no longer working with his father. In 1976, Mike was 16 years old and started working for the Petaluma Nude Shop. That is where Charlie & Irene were supplying the wholesale furniture to the Petaluma Nude Shop as well as Mike’s parents. Mike quit the Petaluma Nude Shop in 1982 and went to work with his father at the chest bed store in Petaluma, Ca. They did primarily chest beds but they also did a variety of things. They then started experimenting with the Wall Beds, which is commonly known as the “Murphy Bed”. His father made his own wall bed. His father would drive to Los Angeles, Ca, to pick up the wall bed mechanisms & they would also do deliveries in Los Angeles. For many years, they had ads in Sunset Magazine. Mike worked for his father for about four years and then went out on his own. He received a loan from a family member, started his own furniture shop called Sunofagun while also building room additions in homes and building all of the cabinetry in the room additions. He then started supplying his father & uncle with furniture up until about 1999. A lot of what Mike has done has been self taught from fine wood working magazine, being innovated and thinking outside of the box. He did not want to be like everyone else. All of Mikes finishing experience, sales & deliveries is from the Petaluma Nude shop. Manufacturing was learned from his father.
Charlie & Irene were getting ready to retire in 1999. Mike got wind of this; he came to Redding to look at the Natural Choice Furniture Factory in 1999 & took over the entire business which was primarily wholesale. Mike was the primary supplier for Mack Wall Beds for seven years, at least. During that time, the wholesale accounts demised due to imported furniture. The cost to purchase the imported furniture was a fraction of the price. At that point the wholesale business was no longer profitable. That was the point Natural Choice became a retail outlet. Focusing on chest beds, wall beds & furniture grouping, Mike would do the high end custom furniture. Mike ran the front office and the factory by himself with one employee that ran the showroom. Mike worked 7 days a week, easily, 12 hours a day to pay the bills.
Around 2005, Brian came on to work with Mike. There were many employees that cycled through; Brian was the original employee who is still here today. Around 2010, they went to everything out of their retail outlet, no longer supplying wholesale. From that point on, they did custom furniture, Wall Beds, Chest Beds & really anything you could imagine. At one time there was a hair salon in the back office which is now our Accountant’s office. There was also Paraclips which made huge satellite dishes, which was the building behind Natural Choice Furniture.
In 2015, Ben Guzman came on with Natural Choice Furniture as a Craftsman with Brian & Mike. Ben had worked in a couple of local kitchen cabinet shops as well as took woodworking classes during & after high school. Ben started his craftsman career at the age of 15 years old. His grandfather was a contractor as well as a building inspector for a hospital in Los Angeles as well as in Redding, Ca. His grandfather taught him many skills to woodworking & bought a property in Old Station, Ca where he had plans to build a vacation cabin. The summer Ben’s grandfather bought the property in Old Station, Ben would travel to the property and stay in a recreational vehicle for weeks at a time, while assisting the contractors & his grandfather build the cabin. His passion has always been woodworking and he takes much pride in the work that he does. In 2017, Mike decided he wanted to retire & move to Montana to spend time with his parents. He offered to sell the business to Ben, which was something Ben has always wanted; His very own custom furniture business. This was a very generous offer and of course Ben said yes. Ben started to run the business as his own in August of 2018. Mike has been mentoring and teaching him everything about this business. He will continue to produce Mike’s furniture designs as well as some of his own.
All in all, Natural Choice Furniture has a crew of three talented craftsmen. Natural Choice Furniture’s craftsmen have a combined experience in wood working of 60+ years. All of our cabinetry is built on site in a variety of styles and materials. Come visit our showroom in Redding, CA and see our unique furniture designs built with traditional and unusual woods.