Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale held a press conference at Gallery Furniture’s original I-45 location on Thursday to talk about plans to rebuild after the fire that destroyed the store’s warehouse on May 21. Mentioning that Gallery Furniture is strong, stable and excited about the future, Mack said that the new store will be a “triumph of human spirit”.
To jumpstart the rebuilding process, Scott Margraves with W.M. Jones and Company and Liberty Mutual presented McIngvale with an advance check for $3 million on his insurance claim. Total damage is still being calculated but initial estimates have put the full amount between $15 and $25 million.
McIngvale stated that he is hoping to have portions of the showroom open by July 4 of this year and asked for Houstonians to give their suggestions on how to improve the new store. Suggestions can be made at www.galleryfurniture.com. He was quick to mention that while the new store is being rebuilt, Gallery Furniture is open and serving customers from its Galleria area location at Post Oak and Westheimer next to the Container Store.
Assisting with the design of the new I-45 store is Bill Stubbs, from PBS’s “Moment of Luxury” who also contributed to Gallery’s Post Oak location and Jim Gilmore, consumer experience expert and author of The Experience Economy – Work is Theatre and Every Business a Stage. Both Jim and Bill spoke about the new designs and themes of the store, including a new service that will allow customers to choose their sofa style, material, size etc. and watch it being made on the spot.
Susie Barlow, Director of the Houston USO, announced that Gallery Furniture will be decorating both the Mortuary Break Room and the AMC Passenger Terminal Center at Dover Air Force Base in Delaware. This effort is part of McIngvale’s commitment to outfit USO centers worldwide with new furniture and electronics as well as providing interior design services. The Dover project will enhance the areas where our nation’s fallen warriors are provided with special dignified transfers and their families are given a quiet, gentle respite in their time of sorrow.
A grateful McIngvale then gave his thanks to the men and women of the Houston Fire Department and announced that each of the 31 HFD stations that valiantly fought the fire, miraculously saving Gallery Furniture’s Showroom, will be given $10,000 Gallery Furniture Gift Certificates as part of the Adopt a Station program. HFD stations receiving the Gift Certificates include 2, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 11, 12, 13, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 28, 30, 31, 32, 34, 38, 39, 42, 43, 45, 50, 56, 58, 62, 66, 67 and HFD Fleet Maintenance.
McIngvale did not discuss aspects of the ongoing investigation per instructions from the ATF and Houston Fire Department but did state, “I look forward to the person or persons responsible being brought to justice.”
Mack completed the press conference by taking members of the media into the showroom and warehouse to view the damage firsthand.