Stores Full Of Furniture, 'Mattress Mack' Opens His Doors To Flood Victims | KERA News

Stores Full Of Furniture, 'Mattress Mack' Opens His Doors To Flood Victims

Aug 29, 2017
Originally published on August 29, 2017 3:15 pm

Houstonian Jim McIngvale, known as "Mattress Mack," has turned his two furniture stores into temporary shelters for Tropical Storm Harvey evacuees.

As the city started to flood, he posted a video online with a simple message: Come on over. He gave out his personal phone number. And hundreds of people streamed in.

"We sell home theater furniture that you watch TV in, they're sleeping on that. They're sleeping on recliners, sleeping on sofas and love seats. We have sleeper sofas, they pulled them out and slept on that," McIngvale tells NPR's Morning Edition. "They're sleeping on hundreds of mattresses throughout the store. They're sleeping on the couches — wherever they can find a place that's comfortable, and God bless 'em."

When some of the storm's victims couldn't make it across flooded streets, McIngvale dispatched his large delivery trucks and drivers to collect people and bring them to safety.

"We put out a Facebook feed that we were going to rescue people, because there was so much need," he says. "The city and the local authorities did a great job; they just couldn't get to all the 911 calls."

McIngvale says he is at capacity — he told NPR's All Things Considered on Monday that 400 people were living at both of his stores. He has done this before — during floods last year and when Hurricane Katrina hit 12 years ago. He built his stores on elevated concrete to make them floodproof.

McIngvale also has food for the evacuees — and he invited them to bring their pets, too.

"Think a slumber party on steroids," he says.

A slumber party — or maybe just a safe, dry place to wait out a record-setting storm.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

As Tropical Storm Harvey hovers over Houston, thousands of people are out of their homes. And they need places to sleep.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Yeah, they sure do. Jim McIngvale is a business owner here in Houston. His inventory, I think you could say, is exactly what those evacuees are looking for.

JIM MCINGVALE: Yeah, we sell home theater furniture that you watch TV in. They're sleeping on that. They're sleeping on recliners. They're sleeping on sofas and love seats. We have sleeper sofas. They've pulled them out and slept on that. They're sleeping on hundreds of mattresses throughout the store. They're sleeping on the couches. They're sleeping wherever they can find a place that's comfortable, and God bless them.

GREENE: And we should say Jim goes by the name Mattress Mack. He runs two giant furniture stores in the Houston area. As the city was starting to flood, he posted a video message online - come on over. He gave out his personal phone number, and hundreds of people started streaming in.

MCINGVALE: A lot of them walk in with what they could get out in a trash bag. It's very sad.

MARTIN: Some of the storm's victims couldn't even make it across flooded streets. Mattress Mack says he's got trucks that could handle those conditions.

GREENE: So instead of delivering furniture, he dispatched his drivers to collect people and bring them to safety.

MCINGVALE: We put out a Facebook feed about we're going to rescue people because there's so much need. The city and the local authorities did a great job, but they couldn't get to all the 9-1-1 calls.

GREENE: Yeah, city services have just been totally overwhelmed. Mattress Mack says he is at capacity, but he's ready to keep hosting people until these waters subside. He has done this before, we should say, during floods last year and also when Hurricane Katrina hit 12 years ago. He built his stores on elevated concrete to make them floodproof.

MARTIN: Mattress Mack even says he's got food for the evacuees, and he invited them to bring along their pets, too.

MCINGVALE: Think a slumber party on steroids.

MARTIN: A slumber party maybe, or just a safe, dry place to wait out the storm.

GREENE: Yeah.

(SOUNDBITE OF GOONIES NEVER SAY DIE'S "IS IT ALL SO LOST") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.