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"Mattress Mack" opens Houston furniture stores to hundreds without power after storm

"Mattress Mack" opens stores as shelter
"Mattress Mack" opens stores as shelter 01:48

After a deadly storm swept through Texas, Jim McIngvale's Houston furniture store was packed — but not with shoppers. McIngvale, who goes by Mattress Mack, is known for opening the doors of his furniture stores to those in need. So when a snowstorm left Texans without power or heat in the frigid cold, Mattress Mack invited hundreds in.

"Least we could do is open this furniture store to let people come into a warmer place," Mattress Mack told CBS Houston affiliate KHOU-TV. "Sofas and plenty available TVs, plenty of available mattresses, plenty of available and lots of hot food."

So far, he's opened his Richmond and Houston, Texas, Gallery Furniture stores as shelters. 

Winter Weather Texas
Joecyah Heath, left, Morning Day, center, and Jenesis Heath rest in recliners at a Gallery Furniture store which opened as a shelter Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2021, in Houston.  David J. Phillip / AP

For people like Denistra Hunt, it's a temporary home away from home. "We spent the night, pretty much, in the cold, which is something I've never done," she told KHOU. "With a 2-year-old, it was dreadful. We all just got in one bed and covered up."

The stores have beds, blankets and even food for families struggling after sweeping power outages devastated millions in the state.

And it's not the first time Mattress Mack has helped people during natural disasters. In 2017, he transformed some of his Gallery Furniture stores into shelters after Hurricane Harvey. And he did the same  in 2005, when many fled Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina.

And his giving doesn't stop there — he often donates furniture to families in need and to make over teachers' lounges at local schools.

"I'm part capitalist and part social worker and this is what I like to do," he told "CBS This Morning" for its A More Perfect Union series in 2017. 

Although it costs money to keep his three stores up and running as shelters, Mattress Mack willingly does it, crisis after crisis. "We can afford that and what we can't afford is to cause these people to lose hope, we got to give them hope," he said. "This is what my parents would have done."

For many Texans, Mattress Mack's furniture stores are often the calm after the storm. He told KHOU:  "Tough times never last, tough Texans do, and we'll get through this also," 

Winter Weather Texas
Owner Jim McIngvale, center, talks with people inside his Gallery Furniture store which opened as a shelter Wednesday, Feb. 17, 2021, in Houston.  David J. Phillip / AP
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