When an extreme cold front swept through Texas, millions of people were left without heat or power. But as local officials scrambled to assign blame, one furniture store owner stepped up to help by converting his Houston furniture stores into overnight shelters.
“We’re trying to alleviate some of their pain by opening up this furniture store for some warm food, good camaraderie and a good night’s sleep if they need it,” Gallery Furniture founder and president, Jim McIngvale, aka “Mattress Mack,” told Inside Edition.
According to ABC News, McIngvale’s company, Gallery Furniture, can host 200-300 people in each of the company’s two Houston stores, which are equipped with hot food bars, hand sanitization stations, and showroom furniture. “Mattress Mack” has also stocked his community trade school with company mattresses to sleep additional people until the state’s electrical grid is restored.
Each cozy refuge – made possible by Gallery Furniture’s powerful generators, backup diesel, and a wealth of plush couches, mattresses, and recliners – has been a life saver to families who’ve been stranded for days without power.
“We spent the night, pretty much, in the cold, which is something I’ve never done,” one Houston resident, Denistra Hunt, told CBS affiliate KHOU, recalling her family’s freezing nights at home without heat or power. “With a 2-year-old, it was dreadful. We all just got in one bed and covered up.”
Nor is this the first time Mattress Mack has set business aside to focus on some good ol’ fashioned philanthropy. In 2005, McIngvale opened his stores for residents seeking shelter in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. More than a decade later, he did it again to provide refuge for local victims of Hurricane Harvey.
Article continues below
Our Featured Programs
See how we’re making a difference for People, Pets, and the Planet and how you can get involved!
It’s little wonder Mattress Mack, who considers himself “part capitalist, part social worker,” has become local hero in Houston, which has seen more than its fair share of natural disasters. “Tough times never last, tough Texans do, and we’ll get through this also,” McIngvale told CBS News.
Millions of people are still struggling without power, heat, and potable water in Texas. Please help us provide emergency relief to people, pets, and wildlife affected by this crisis by donating to our disaster response fund.Whizzco