In my line of business, I’m fortunate enough to meet a lot of really interesting people. And sometimes you meet people who you know you’ll keep in touch with for the rest of your life. That’s how I feel about Jim McIngvale.
I’ve actually known and admired Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale since I was in college at Texas Southern. Coming from Germany, Houston felt like the center of the universe: so much to do, so many places to explore, so much good food to eat, and great people to meet. In Houston, Mattress Mack is a legend: He is the owner of Gallery Furniture, and it was always understood that if you could outfit your house with furniture from Gallery, you were doing pretty well for yourself. But Jim started his business on the side of the freeway with a few thousand bucks, furniture under tents, and his personal motto, “Grateful for everything, entitled to nothing.” Thirty years later, Mattress Mack is the American dream come to life, but he never forgets those early, scrappy days while he enjoys his success.
When Hurricane Harvey hit in August 2017, the devastation was unbelievable. So many of the places I had hung out in with my family and my friends were under water. Neighborhoods were ravaged, people had died, and all of the rebuilding we knew would have to come afterwards was overwhelming, not to mention the things that were left behind in Harvey’s wake … it was terrible. I reconnected with Jim at that time and found out that he had opened up his stores to people who needed shelter during the storms. But his generosity didn’t end there: He chartered a 737 jet and flew first responders and military vets to Game 6 of the World Series to watch the Houston Astros as a thank you. He also organized Thanksgiving meals and dinners for anyone in need. All of this came out of his own pocket and the generosity of his very big heart. Jim’s efforts helped and continue to help a whole lot of people and, to me, he’s definitely somebody we should all aspire to emulate when it comes to giving back and serving the community.