Jim “Mack” McIngvale opened Gallery Furniture in Houston 37 years ago. Today — with three locations and 500 employees — he still gets fired up to go into work every morning and interact with customers. Inspired by the work ethics of his father, an insurance salesman, McIngvale calls himself a hard-charger boss. “Late to bed, early rise, work like hell and advertise.”
To compete with less expensive products online, Gallery creates compelling experiences with an indoor playground, exotic animals, ice cream and fresh-baked cookies. These days, McIngvale is best known for his philanthropy: His annual Christmas giveaway — a 30-year tradition — furnishes hundreds of households and he has fed over 25,000 during Thanksgiving over the past several years, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
“We’re a community cheerleader here,” he says. When thousands of people were forced out of their homes after Hurricane Harvey, he opened his stores and offered beds and sofas to 200 displaced residents. “We didn’t check to see who they were, we just opened the doors and gave them a place to sleep and shower,” he says. “It was one of the best experiences of my life.”