A one-of-a-kind Texan: Things we love about Mattress Mack

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Wednesday, February 12, 2020
Why we love Mattress Mack
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Why we love Mattress Mack

HOUSTON, Texas (KTRK) -- If you grew up in Houston, you know "Mattress Mack" is a household name.

Jim "Mattress Mack" McIngvale arrived in Houston in 1981 and opened the first Gallery Furniture store in an abandoned model home park at 6006 I-45 North Freeway.

He's called the Bayou City home ever since, becoming an icon and for some people, a hero for his efforts following Hurricane Harvey.

We're taking a look at what truly makes him one-of-a-kind.

1) His generosity

Mattress Mack is well-known for giving back year-round. Along with donating to multiple charities, he hosts an annual Christmas giveaway and launched America's first Mobile Stroke Unit in partnership with Memorial Hermann Hospital.

Mattress Mack stepped up his giving even more after Hurricane Harvey, opening his stores to displaced storm victims.

Since then, Mattress Mack has continued to recognize those in need, even sending some people to the Super Bowl in 2018.

2) His energy

"Gallery Furniture saves you money!" Who can forget that classic line?

Mattress Mack first uttered the improvised phrase in his TV commercials in 1983. He explained to ABC13 in 2012, "The producer said, 'Mac you got one more take.' He was very frustrated so I did a little 25 second furniture pitch and out of sheer frustration, I actually had the day's receipts in my back pocket. I reached in my pocket, pulled the money out and said, 'Gallery Furniture will save you money!' And I stuck with that ever since."

His rapid delivery has also been memorable, along with the fun he's brought to those TV spots (in one video on YouTube, a red sports car speeds away with a mattress for delivery).

You'll also hear this one quite a bit, which is also the company's promise: "If you buy it today, we'll deliver it today!"

3) His tenacity

Mattress Mack's wife Linda told Eyewitness News that the couple slept in the store when they were just starting out.

In May 2009, a former employee allegedly set fire to the store on the North Freeway and Parker, causing more than $20 million in damages.

The store reopened weeks later.

On a personal level, Mattress Mack had a procedure on his heart for a congenital condition called patent foramen ovale, or PFO.

As we've seen, he's clearly bounced back.

According to the Gallery Furniture website, he also works seven days a week.

4) He's a family man

Mattress Mack has a son James who is Gallery Furniture's digital marketing manager.

But it's his two daughters that Houstonians might recognize the most. Laura McIngvale Brown and Dr. Liz McIngvale have both appeared in Gallery Furniture commercials.

However, the McIngvale family has also championed for mental health. Dr. McIngvale has struggled with obsessive compulsive disorder, so the family has raised awareness for it.

They also offer grants for mental health through Dr. McIngvale's Peace of Mind Foundation.

5) He's not afraid to take a risk

Mattress Mack is known for placing big bets.

In 2017, he refunded $10 million in rebates after the Houston Astros won the World Series betting that if they won it all, customers would get their money back.

He placed a bet again in 2019.

Mattress Mack has also placed wagers on the 2014 Super Bowl and oil prices in 2015.

He even threw his hat in the ring for a bet on the 2016 presidential election, which cost him $10 million.

6) His love for Houston

Mattress Mack's support for Houston didn't just start with the gambling he takes on the sports teams' success.

He spent his own money and attended the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta to campaign for Houston's bid for the 2008 games.

7) His humility

Despite all the recognition and honor he's received, Mattress Mack appears to be staying humble.

After being invited to the State of the Union in 2018, Mattress Mack tweeted that he was honored to represent the State and the U.S.

His Twitter account is full of moments expressing gratitude to people in the city and around the world who have recognized his work.

8) He's a man of style

After partnering with Vans for his Christmas giveaway one year, the brand gifted him with his own fresh pair of custom shoes.

On the side of the shoes, it said: "People helping people, that's the Gallery Furniture way."

We think he wore them well.

Vans makes custom shoes for Mattress Mack