Recently, Houston has been nothing short of devastated by Hurricane Harvey. Countless homes, estimated up to 100,000 homes, businesses, and other residences were either completely underwater or suffered significant flood damage. According to meteorologists in the Houston area, it was the worst storm that Houston had dealt with, with some estimating that Hurricane Harvey had poured up to 27 trillion gallons of rain. Along with the devastating destruction that the hurricane has caused to the millions of citizens of Houston, 40 people lost their lives.  


Yet, the “Energy Capital of The World” has come together in a show of true generosity and respect toward one another, helping each other in a graceful and loving way that is showing what H Town is all about. Also,  numerous individuals have come forward to raise money and offer a helping hand. Actors such as Kevin Hart and Brad Pitt, companies such as Walmart and athletes such as the incredible and possible Superman JJ Watt have raised millions of dollars in financial aid and resources for evacuees and refugees from Hurricane Harvey.


However, one very familiar face to any true Houstonian has opened up his two furniture showrooms and said “to hell with profits” and used those stores as evacuation shelters.


(Houston Culture Map)

Jim McIngvale, also lovingly known as Mattress Mack, is the founder and owner of Gallery Furniture, a furniture store nothing short of epic. Becoming almost a staple and local legend of Houston, he became known for his over-the-top and overly confident yet warm and friendly demeanor in person and in the legendary commercials, where he stated that Gallery Furniture “can save you money today!”. That phrase about the affordability of his merchandise, quite like a character in a sitcom in the 1980’s, became his catchphrase and he still says it in the commercials today.


Growing up not too far from the flagship Gallery Furniture, the Kasoff family frequented there anytime we needed anything furniture-related. When I was only nine years old, Mattress Mack himself handed me a signed Gallery Furniture basketball. Also, Gallery had prices for all parts of the economic spectrum, with affordable prices and high-end prices evenly throughout the stores. Mack himself is very charitable in many Catholic charities and in livestock auctions such as the Houston Livestock and Rodeo. On top of all of that, Gallery Furniture also had same day delivery.


With the generosity that McIngvale and all of his company has shown in the recent weeks, there have been many humorous and thoughtful petitions signed in his honor. One such petition is one to rename Interstate 45, the notoriously awful highway going from Houston to Dallas, to The Mattress Mack Expressway.


Another petition, one reaching 177,000 signers on, is to turn August 26 into Mattress Mack Day in Houston. The petition itself states that “This man is a Houston icon that deserves to be remembered forever,” and  will be mailed directly to the office of Houston’s mayor, Sylvester Turner. The petition will honor both McIngvale’s many charitable actions as well as the generosity and heroism he’s showed to the countless Houstonians affected by Hurricane Harvey.


As a Dallasite with a Houstonian heart, I wholeheartedly support, and have already signed, the petitions to both rename I45 to The Mattress Mack Expressway and for August 26 to be “Mattress Mack Day.” McIngvale has throughout the many years, showed nothing short of amazing generosity and love toward his fellow Houstonians and has helped immensely in the recovery from this terrible storm.  


Do you remember Mattress Mack and Gallery Furniture? If so, tweet me at @CaptainKasoff.