In yet another example of people stepping up to do whatever they can to help those so devastated by Hurricane Harvey, a Texas-based furniture store has opened its showrooms to evacuees and first responders. Gallery Furniture owner Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale has long been known for his zany commercials and big heart, but his decision to turn two of his Houston-area showrooms into shelters complete with food, showers, beds, and electricity truly goes above and beyond.
“Houstonians have a safe, dry place to take shelter at Gallery Furniture so if they can get here they are welcome,” McIngvale said in a press release. “We hope to give them some comfort in this incredibly difficult time.”
On Sunday, McIngvale, who has owned and operated Gallery Furniture for some 36 years, took to social media to encourage evacuees looking for someplace to stay to come down to his 160,000-square-foot showrooms.
Gallery Furniture North Freeway and Gallery Furniture Grand Parkway are now open as shelters for anyone who is in need….
“We have food, beds and clean restrooms for anyone in need who comes to those locations,” the Facebook post read. “Kenneled animals who must stay in kennel and at owners side are welcome.”
He proceeded to share photos of children and families lounging on beds and couches, enjoying food and water while watching storm coverage on tablet devices.
Our GF N FWRY & GF Grand PKWY stores are open for those in need. If you can safely join us, we invite you for shelter and food. God Bless. pic.twitter.com/IHHgjKmjMY
— MattressMack (@MattressMack) August 28, 2017
“Our GF N FWRY & GF Grand PKWY stores are open for those in need,” McIngvale tweeted. “If you can safely join us, we invite you for shelter and food. God Bless.”
In an interview with CNN, McIngvale shared that he and his team spent most of the day on Sunday using their delivery trucks to help evacuate locals from flood zones.
“All day on Sunday we went around rescuing people out of high water stranded on overpasses,” he said. “We brought about 200 people into the store that way.”
CNN estimated his stores had taken in about 800 refugees over the weekend, but, by Tuesday, they were ready to open their doors to even more people.
— MattressMack (@MattressMack) August 29, 2017
One couple who had taken shelter at Gallery Furniture told CNN that they arrived at the showroom soaking wet and were immediately greeted with dry clothes, toothbrushes, soap, shoes, and a mattress still covered in plastic.
“We never stepped foot in [one of his stores] and now I’m just like, wow, I mean, they opened up the doors. Like nothing. He didn’t even second guess it,” Magdalena Marez said of McIngvale. “He was just like, ‘Let me help you.’”
Gallery Furniture employee Dave Marchione said at least 60 National Guard troops had also stopped to rest at the store and were enjoying a good night’s sleep on the store’s “best” mattresses.
“[The troops] are sleeping on the best Tempur-Pedic mattresses that are on the market,” Marchione joked. “And I’ll tell you what—those are some happy soldiers.”
In an effort to ensure anyone and everyone in need of assistance is able to get in touch with him and his team, McIngvale posted a video on Facebook on Sunday expressing his unwavering support for the community and giving out his personal cell phone number. He told CNN his phone was “ringing off the hook,” but he is just happy to be in a position to help those in need.
Pray for Texas – live with Mattress Mack at Gallery Furniture North Freeway
Posted by Jim Mcingvale on Sunday, August 27, 2017
“All of us at Gallery Furniture are praying for you, your family, and of course your community,” McIngvale said. “With God’s grace we’ll all get through this better and stronger than ever because that’s who we are. We are Texans.”