Jim McIngvale, principal of Houston-based retailer Gallery Furniture, has made almost as many headlines as Hurricane Harvey, the massive Category 4 storm that inundated and devastated southeast Texas in late August. There is good reason for that.
Immediately after the storm hit, the man more commonly known as Mattress Mack, whose own home was severely damaged by floodwaters, threw open the doors of several of his Houston-area stores, providing shelter to more than 600 Houston flood victims whose homes were damaged or destroyed. McIngvale then sent out a fleet of the company’s delivery trucks to perform rescues of hundreds of others who were stranded when Harvey turned Houston into an archipelago.
McIngvale also established a fundraising campaign, Rebuild-TX with Jim McIngvale, at GoFundMe.com that has brought in more than $100,000 as of this writing. The monies are earmarked for four area nonprofits helping flood victims.
In the weeks following the storm, Gallery Furniture continued to collect and distribute drinking water, cleaning supplies, food and other items to area residents. Its social media accounts provided information on where and when donated goods are available for pickup and directed people to local agencies who can help them clean and rebuild homes. The Gallery Furniture website, while continuing to advertise sofas, recliners and the like, also became an information hub linking visitors to organizations providing help, collecting donations and seeking volunteers.
While the wealthy Texan has a long history of philanthropy, McIngvale’s tireless efforts to help fellow residents along the Gulf Coast in southeast Texas and western Louisiana to recover from the epic after-effects of Harvey have taken him from local hero to nationally recognized icon. In addition to coverage in a multitude of major media outlets—or because of it—a petition at Change.org asking that Aug. 26 be named Mattress Mack Day in Houston has garnered more than 200,000 signatures to date. Another petition urges that McIngvale receive the Presidential Medal of Freedom.