Mattress Mack Opens His Heart to Houston By Barbara Canetti
Hurricane Harvey produced many Houston heroes. But it was the generosity of Gallery Furniture’s Jim McIngvale that exemplified the kindness and spirit of the city’s citizenry after the storm and captured the attention of the nation and beyond.
Precision Industries Inc.Better known everywhere as Mattress Mack, a name dating back to his unique television commercials in the early 1980s, McIngvale has always been known for his philanthropic contributions to many local causes. But right after the August flooding caused by Harvey, he opened two of his furniture company’s 160,000-square-foot showrooms to the public and allowed those people who were stranded a warm, safe place to stay.
Precision Industries Inc.Despite his good deeds, he shies away from the hero label.
“I don’t think anyone should be called a hero for simply doing the right things,” says McIngvale, who credits his Christian faith and Catholic upbringing as the influences in his life.
Precision Industries Inc.“The real heroes were the first responders and the people that had to deal with the flood.”
Precision Industries Inc.Via Facebook, he invited “those in need” to come by his store to eat, rest, shower and sleep. Evacuees came in droves and stayed for several nights, sleeping on sofas, recliners and hundreds of mattresses in the store showrooms. More than 400 people took advantage of his generosity at each location. And for those who couldn’t get to his stores, he dispatched big delivery trucks to fetch the people and bring them safely to him. He also housed 60 National Guard troops and first responders who were deployed to assist in Houston.
Additionally, he began a donation drive, putting out a call to Houstonians for cleaning supplies destined for those in need. He started a fundraising drive and collected nearly $180,000, which was turned over to Crisis Cleanup, Points of Light, Houston Community Toolbank and TXRX Labs. He also donated thousands of boxes of athletic clothing with assistance of the University of Houston’s basketball coach Kelvin Sampson and distributed pet supplies through the local SPCA.
Precision Industries Inc.This is not the first time McIngvale has opened his heart and his store. Last year during Houston’s floods he invited marooned homeowners to stay at his stores, as well as when Hurricane Katrina hit 12 years ago. Despite the fact that it costs him thousands of dollars to keep his stores running through the crisis and now much of his inventory will be sold as used furniture, Mattress Mack says his acts of humanity and community service are what motivate him.
Precision Industries Inc.His kindness and service have been noticed. More than 200,000 people have signed a petition to declare Aug. 26 Mattress Mack Day in Houston. As one petition signer says: “Mattress Mack’s heart is bigger than Texas! Thank you for your generosity! Houston loves you.”