Jim McIngvale

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Jim McIngvale
Born (1951-02-11) February 11, 1951 (age 65)
Starkville, Mississippi, U.S.
Residence Houston, Texas
Nationality American
Other names "Mattress Mack"
Occupation Businessman,
Known for Gallery Furniture
Religion Roman Catholic[1]
Website www.GalleryFurniture.com
The main Gallery Furniture store in the Northside
Gallery Furniture store in Uptown

Jim "Mattress Mack" McIngvale (born February 11, 1951) is a businessman from Houston, Texas. He is known for owning and operating the Gallery Furniture retail chain.


McIngvale was born on February 11, 1951, in Starkville, Mississippi. He graduated from Bishop Lynch High School in Dallas.[2] He and his wife have three children. In 2002, McIngvale co-authored the book Always Think Big with Thomas Duening and John Ivancevich, which chronicles the ups and downs of McIngvale's entrepreneurial career.[3] He lived in the Northgate Forest community in an unincorporated area of Harris County, Texas. Ericka Mellon of the Houston Chronicle said that he was "one of Northgate's most recognizable residents."[4]

McIngvale is best known for his energetic, fast-paced sales pitches, typically ending with some variant of his catchphrase "saves you money!" His distinctive sales style originated from an incident that occurred early on in Gallery Furniture's history. Faced with financial difficulties, McIngvale invested all his remaining money, approximately $10,000, in a television commercial to be aired on two stations. While watching the commercial being produced, he became dissatisfied and ad-libbed a sales pitch, speaking rapidly because of the limited amount of time available. The commercial proved very effective, and his sales increased dramatically afterward.[5]

In 1999 McIngvale spoke to the British Deming Association annual conference about the influence of W Edwards Deming on his business methods. A transcript of the talk appeared in the UK Deming Newsletter in June 2000 and is reproduced here

The Houston Chronicle reported in May 2009 that McIngvale refused to pay $48,000 dollars of taxes to the Greater Northside Management District that was assessed from 2005 to 2007; he paid taxes to the district in 2008. His northside facility is within the district's boundary. McIngvale said the management district does not do enough to maintain the area; the business owner described the management district's taxation policies as "taxation without representation." The district sued McIngvale to try to force him to pay the taxes, and McIngvale said he's willing to dispute the charges in court.[6]

Gallery Furniture[edit]

Jim McIngvale started Gallery Furniture with $5,000 and his own pickup truck after a potential investor did not follow through with a proposed loan. [7][8] Initially, he did fairly well. But when the oil industry took a turn for the worse, he found his business slowing dramatically. Taking the last $10,000 to his name, Mattress Mack invested in local television commercials in 1983.[9]"I was doing an ad, and I was frustrated," said McIngvale. He continued, "I couldn't come up with a punch line. Finally, I pulled some money out of my pocket and yelled, 'Gallery Furniture saves you money!' "[10] The phrase caught on and has become well known throughout the greater Houston community. Gallery Furniture, established in 1981, has been consistently ranked in Furniture Today’s Top 100 Furniture Retailers for some time and currently ranks as the Sales-per-Square-Foot leader for independent retailers in the United States.[11] The store has around $200 million in sales per year.[12] It originally sold less expensive furniture targeted toward lower-income individuals but has since expanded to include higher-end furniture.

On May 21, 2009, the Gallery Furniture store on Interstate 45 North between Tidwell and Parker caught fire. There were no injuries. One hundred and fifty firefighters battled the 4-alarm blaze, which did not spread to the inside of the showroom, although it devastated the warehouse.[13] The fire is believed to be arson, pursuant to the ATF, and suspect Robert Gillham was apprehended a few weeks later.[14] Gillham has been incarcerated since his initial arrest in 2009. According to his attorney, Gillham has been deemed mentally unfit to stand trial by an expert, and Assistant Harris County District Attorney Steve Baldassano believes it is unlikely Gillham will be tried. Gallery Furniture owner Jim McIngvale commented on the situation, saying, "We wanted to get this behind us, and get some closure on this. But the court system is the court system and if they say he's incompetent, we certainly respect whatever the court system rules."[15]

Gallery Furniture engages in a number of charitable projects.[2] It aims to refurnish, redesign, and revitalize the more than 130 USO Centers around the world, and has become a USO Worldwide Strategic Partner Sponsor.[16]For 30 years, Gallery Furniture has been holding its annual Christmas Giveaway, outfitting needy Houston area families' homes with brand new furniture. For the 30th anniversary of this tradition, 30 families received all new furniture, delivered by Gallery Furniture.[17][18][19]

Grand Parkway Store[edit]

In 2014 the company announced it will open a new store in Fort Bend County, one of the fastest-growing counties in the greater Houston area.[20] On June 5th, 2014, Gallery Furniture broke ground on their new store, in Richmond, Texas. Jim "Mattress Mack" McIngvale was on site, sinking shovels into the ground with others involved with the construction. In addition to being the biggest Gallery Furniture location yet at 165,000 square feet, it will feature a space for disabled adults of the Brookwood Community to sell items they have made. [21][22]

Gallery Furniture vs. Hilton Furniture ads[edit]

In 2000, Conan O'Brien staged a competition on Late Night with Conan O'Brien between two of Houston's middle-of-the-night advertisers, Jim McIngvale ("Save You Money") from Gallery Furniture and chainsaw-wielding Hilton Koch ("That's a fact, Jack") from Hilton Furniture. Hilton Furniture won the Late Night battle of the ads contest, and O'Brien brought Hilton to New York to appear on Late Night as well as for "an advertiser makeover" from Foote, Cone & Belding.[23]

Super Bowl XLVIII Promotion[edit]

Gallery Furniture, prompted by McIngvale, ran a promotion for Super Bowl XLVIII promising customers a full refund on any purchase of more than $6,000 if the Seattle Seahawks, selected as the team of choice by a coin toss, won the Super Bowl. Many customers took advantage of this offer, buying an estimated $7,000,000 worth of furniture in the weeks leading up to the game. The Seahawks went on to win the game; thus, the customers will receive their refunds. McIngvale spoke to ESPN, saying, "In the long term, we made a lot of happy customers," and continued, "That's what it's all about: building customers for life."[24][25][26][27][28]

Houston Astros Baseball Promotion[edit]

In celebration of Jim Mcingvale’s 63rd birthday in 2014, Gallery Furniture is currently running a promotion promising a full refund to the first 500 customers that purchased $6,300 or more worth of furniture if the Houston Astros win 63 baseball games or more in the regular season. The 500 customer limit was very quickly reached, and the total refund amount will be an estimated $4,000,000 if the Astros win 63 games. An official countdown has been started and is trending on social media under the hashtags “#GFToday”, “#MattressMack”, and “#Astros4Million”.[29][30][31]

Mack-O-Pedic Mattress[edit]

In 2014, McIngvale unveiled his new line of Mack-O-Pedic mattresses, which is the first and only product he has put his name on. The mattress is made in America, and was designed by McIngvale. He was quoted by UpClose Magazine as saying, “After so many years in the business, it’s clear what sets a really good mattress apart from a ‘so-so’ one." He continued, stating, "At GF you’ll find a range of great mattresses…including the Mack-o-Pedic, made right here in the United States, to offer you the best quality mattress for the best value." [32][33][34]

Philanthropic Work[edit]

Salvation Army[edit]

In 2007, Jim McIngvale held a fundraising event at Gallery Furniture for The Salvation Army. It attracted former President of the United States George H.W. Bush and former First Lady of the United States Barbara Bush as bell ringers. McIngvale donated $50,000 of his own money to the Salvation Army. [35]

Donation to Mobile Stroke Unit[edit]

In 2014, McIngvale made a donation to The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston Medical School in and with Memorial Hermann-Texas Medical Center, to partially fund the United States' first Mobile Stroke Unit. The unit itself is an ambulance outfitted with computed topography technology, which allows testing for blood clot-related stroke on site. If emergency personnel determine that this is the cause, the patient can then be treated with a tissue plasminogen activator, effectively breaking down the clot. Being able to immediately identify whether or not someone is suffering from stroke is useful as time is of the essence -- every second counts. James C. Grotta, M.D., saying of the time it takes to treat a victim of stroke, "Because we were able to arrive so quickly and initiate tPA treatment on scene, we may have not only saved Ms. Osaka's life, but by cutting down on precious time, we were able to help save millions of her brain cells and minimize any residual disability as well." Jim McIngvale cited his own experience with stroke when discussing his donation, ""I'm thrilled to hear of the positive outcome for the first stroke unit patient and hope that we will see many more of these outcomes as the team continues its groundbreaking work. This is a priceless and lifesaving service Dr. Grotta and his team are providing the Houston community and it was an honor to be able to contribute to such a cause that is so close to my heart."[36] [37][38]

Political Views[edit]

Jim McIngvale supports the Tea Party movement.[39] Jim has funded full-page ads for the Tea Party that have appeared in the Houston Chronicle. He was a guest speaker along with many local conservative radio hosts for The North Houston Tea Party Patriots at Sam Houston Race Park.[40]


  1. ^ Malisow, Craig. "Big Mac". Houston Press. May 5, 2005. Retrieved Nov 5, 2010.
  2. ^ a b Pilkenton, Jenn. "Houston's Mattress Mack Uses His Success to Help Others". Philanthropy World Magazine. 12 (1). Retrieved April 27, 2009. 
  3. ^ Duening, Thomas; Ivancevich, John; McIngvale, Jim (March 19, 2002). Always Think Big. Kaplan Business. ISBN 0-7931-5375-1. 
  4. ^ Mellon, Ericka. "SUBURBAN SECESSION / Neighbors petition to join Klein / Northgate Forest residents complain of lower property values and performance with Spring." Houston Chronicle. Thursday April 5, 2007. B1 MetFront.
  5. ^ http://www.freeenterpriseland.com/BOOK/MATTRESSMAC.html
  6. ^ Patel, Purva. "McIngvale sued over unpaid taxes." Houston Chronicle. May 29, 2009. Retrieved on May 30, 2009.
  7. ^ Duening, Thomas; Ivancevich, John; McIngvale, Jim (March 19, 2002). Always Think Big. Kaplan Business. ISBN 0-7931-5375-1. 
  8. ^ Butler, Kevin (February 7, 2000). "Retailer Jim McIngvale - Giving Customers Good Service Has Him Standing Tall". Investor's Business Daily. Los Angeles, California: William J. O'Neil. 
  9. ^ Butler, Kevin (February 7, 2000). "Retailer Jim McIngvale - Giving Customers Good Service Has Him Standing Tall". Investor's Business Daily. Los Angeles, California: William J. O'Neil. 
  10. ^ Butler, Kevin (February 7, 2000). "Retailer Jim McIngvale - Giving Customers Good Service Has Him Standing Tall". Investor's Business Daily. Los Angeles, California: William J. O'Neil. 
  11. ^ Engel, Clint (May 29, 2008). "Gallery, Select Comfort Lead in Performance". FurnitureToday.com. Retrieved June 14, 2008. 
  12. ^ Williams, Roy H. (November 28, 2005). "What Are You Offering?". The Monday Morning Memo. 
  13. ^ Desel, Jeremy; Zubowski, Courtney; Ponto, Michelle (May 28, 2009). "Investigators look for cause of 4-alarm fire at Gallery Furniture". 11 News. Houston, Texas. 
  14. ^ Glenn, Mike, Dane Schiller, and David Kaplan. "ATF says Gallery Furniture fire in north Houston was arson." Houston Chronicle. May 28, 2009. Retrieved on May 28, 2009.
  15. ^ Rogers, Brian (March 13, 2013). "Gallery fire suspect likely to never face trial". http://chron.com. Retrieved December 14, 2013.  External link in |publisher= (help)
  16. ^ "USO WorldWide Strategic Partners". USO. 
  17. ^ Khou Staff, KHOU Staff (Dec 13, 2013). "Gallery Furniture gives 30 Houston-area families new new furniture". http://Khou.com. Retrieved December 15, 2013.  External link in |publisher= (help)
  18. ^ Butler, Kevin (February 7, 2000). "Retailer Jim McIngvale - Giving Customers Good Service Has Him Standing Tall". Investor's Business Daily. Los Angeles, California: William J. O'Neil. 
  19. ^ "Holiday Gift". Houston Chronicle. December 20, 2007. Retrieved June 14, 2008. 
  20. ^ Wray, Dianna. "Five Things We're Hoping Will be in Mattress Mac's Biggest Store Ever." Houston Chronicle. Monday March 31, 2014. Retrieved on April 3, 2014.
  21. ^ http://www.fbherald.com/business/article_f924212c-eb4b-11e3-9421-001a4bcf887a.html
  22. ^ http://www.bizjournals.com/houston/blog/breaking-ground/2014/03/gallery-furniture-to-open-its-largest-store-yet.html?page=all
  23. ^ Conan O'Brien show finally gets early time slot here "[1]." Houston Chronicle. June 8, 2005. Retrieved on April 18, 2013.
  24. ^ http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/on-small-business/super-bowl-loss-how-the-seattle-seahawks-cost-one-small-business-7-million/2014/02/03/5e4c330a-8d0f-11e3-98ab-fe5228217bd1_story.html?wpmk=MK0000202
  25. ^ http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2552038/Furniture-store-owner-loses-7-million-Super-Bowl-promotion-offering-customers-refunds-expensive-furniture-Seattle-won-Super-Bowl.html
  26. ^ http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-26030725
  27. ^ http://espn.go.com/blog/houston-texans/post/_/id/3850/did-the-seahawks-win-you-free-furniture
  28. ^ http://bleacherreport.com/articles/1947233-mattress-mac-loses-7-million-on-super-bowl-promotion
  29. ^ http://www.bizjournals.com/houston/morning_call/2014/04/gallery-furniture-swings-for-the-fences-with-new.html
  30. ^ http://www.chron.com/news/houston-texas/article/With-the-Astros-sudden-streak-of-good-luck-5531273.php
  31. ^ http://www.businessweek.com/articles/2014-07-15/texas-furniture-stores-4-million-bet-against-the-astros
  32. ^ http://upclosemagazine.com/latest-posts/authentic-genuine-real/
  33. ^ http://www.galleryfurniture.com/mattress/mack-o-pedic
  34. ^ http://www.mattressmack.com/macks_weblog/2014/04/now-introducing-the-mack-o-pedic.html
  35. ^ U.S. Donors Contribute $117 Million To 2006 Salvation Army Red Kettle Christmas Campaign "[2]." "PR Newswire". March 15, 2007. Retrieved on December 14, 2013.
  36. ^ http://www.cbs8.com/story/25691482/nations-first-mobile-stroke-unit-successfully-transports-first-patient
  37. ^ http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/nations-first-mobile-stroke-unit-successfully-transports-first-patient-261820131.html
  38. ^ http://www.galleryfurniture.com/jim-mcingvale-funds-nations-first-mobile-stroke-unit
  39. ^ Anonymous group targets McIngvale for supporting Tea Party "[3]." KHOU. May 26, 2010. Retrieved on April 18, 2013.
  40. ^ Houston Tea Party, Boycott Sponsor Mattress Mack and Gallery Furniture "[4]." Kick. April 12, 2010. Retrieved on April 18, 2013.

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