Jim 'Mattress Mack' McIngvale Opens Stores' Doors Again amid Texas Winter Storm: 'We're Here'
Jim "Mattress Mack" McIngvale — who owns Gallery Furniture in Houston, and previously made headlines for opening his stores' doors in the wake of Hurricane Harvey and Tropical Storm Imelda — is doing so now for those who have been adversely affected by Winter Storm Uri that ravaged Texas this week.
While "it's kind of a feeling of déjà vu doing this again," McIngvale told ABC News, "obviously the circumstances are quite a bit different. But the need is tremendous."
The business owner explained that he bought "10,000 gallons worth of diesel" for backup and had a generator while Gallery Furniture opened its locations in Houston and West Houston. According to McIngvale, they should be able to provide between 200 and 300 people with shelter at each store.
"Anybody who needs it — whether they're homeless, whether they lost power, whether it's just wanting to come in and get something to eat — anybody wants to come in, we're here for them," he said. "We all have a responsibility for the well-being of the community."
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Speaking with Michael Strahan Thursday on Good Morning America, McIngvale admitted it was "a task trying to make sure these people can get their minds off the difficulties we are in and look forward to a better future tomorrow." But he has brought in entertainment, like balloon artists, to help lift the spirits of kids who are staying at the Gallery Furniture sites.
Of how he is handling helping as many people as possible while still being mindful of COVID-19 restrictions, "This is a cavernous store, over 100,000 square feet, so even with 400 or 500 people in it we maintain a safe distance," McIngvale told Strahan, 49.
"We've done a good job on the COVID precautions — not as good as we probably should, but we're working on it every day," he added.
McIngvale is also using the opportunity to provide his 10-year-old granddaughter with an invaluable lesson. As he told ABC News of having her nearby while navigating this crisis together, "I'm trying to teach her that the essence of living is giving."
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McIngvale and his staffers previously rescued people from stranded cars, parking lots and even their flooded homes amid Tropical Storm Imelda and its resulting floods, according to The Washington Post.
"I can't let my people drown. It's so easy to open the doors and let them in," he told the Post. "They've got pretty much all the creature comforts they need. We let them in and take care of them, just let them know that people care about them."
McIngvale also told KTRK at the time that "one of the best things about Houston is we come through these dark hours very well."
"I know it's devastating when water is coming in their house, devastating when their cars are flooded," he told the station. "We got through Harvey — we'll get through this. Let's keep our chins up, keep helping each other."