December 11, 2023

While he’s a household name for Houstonians, folks not from around here may wonder what’s the story behind Jim McIngvale, the Houston furniture tycoon also known as “Mattress Mack.”

Long before becoming a social media sensation during the Houston Astros’ 2022 World Series run, McIngvale was known for his over-the-top Gallery Furniture commercials and promotion deals — and subsequent multimillion dollar sports hedge bets.

If you’re new to Houston culture and haven’t learned about Mattress Mack yet, here’s everything you need to know.

Who is Mattress Mack, and how did he get his money?

McIngvale is the owner of Houston retail chain Gallery Furniture. As of Nov. 2022, McIngvale’s net worth is an estimated $300 million.

The king of ‘free, free, free’ promotions

Locals associate Ingavale’s store with its “Free, Free, Free” furniture deals usually dependent upon an Astros win or other major sporting events. While many first learned of the promotions during the Astros’ push for their first-ever championship, the promotions actually began before the 2017 World Series, when customers whose purchases exceeded $3,000 cashed in and Gallery Furniture gave out more than $10 million in refunds.

In 2014, the Houston-based company offered free furniture to the first 500 customers who spent $6,300 or more at Gallery Furniture if the Astros won at least 63 games in the regular season. The customers also won that time, as the Astros went 70-92 during George Springer’s rookie season.

Mack and sports betting

McIngvale has also gained notoriety because of his enormous sports bets.

In 2022, McIngvale won a record-breaking $75 million after betting $10 million early in the baseball season on his hometown Astros to win the World Series.

Over the years, Mack has placed several multimillion-dollar bets, including ones on Super Bowls and the College Football Playoff.

Mack uses the sales from his mattress promotions as a hedge against potential betting losses. No matter the result on the field, Mack ends up winning.

Political endorsements

Aside from his influence in the furniture and betting industries, Mack is no stranger to endorsing political candidates, consistently voting in the Republican primary, according to voting records.

He has previously endorsed a host of Republicans, such as Congressman John Culberson in 2018 according to KHOU 11, Texas Land Commissioner George P. Bush in 2018, and Pierce Bush in the race for Texas’ 22nd congressional district in 2020, according to the Fort Bend Independent. McIngvale surprised some by endorsing some Democratic candidates like Harris County District Attorney Kim Ogg for her second term in 2020 and  Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner for his second term in 2019.

The majority of these candidates went on to win their respective races.

In 2022, McIngvale stepped out as one of the early supporters of Alexandra del Moral Mealer, donating $448,000 towards the Republican’s campaign to unseat Harris County Judge Lina Hidalgo, who narrowly won re-election.

Philanthropy and work in the Houston community

Besides giving away free furniture, Mack prides himself on giving back to Houston and the community when there is a charitable need. In the past he’s worked on special projects like helping to build the first Mobile Stroke Unit in the U.S., for patients in Houston, as well as raising millions for the Bush-Clinton Tsunami Disaster Relief Fund.

He was among many community leaders to aid in relief for Hurricane Ida survivors by organizing a donation site at Gallery Furniture to collect items like toiletries, bottled water, pet food and non-perishable food. He’s teamed up with Crime Stoppers over the summer to help keep kids safe, citing an uptick in crime.

In 2022, Mack surprised a U.S. Army staff sergeant severely wounded in Afghanistan with $20,000 in new furniture to complete the trifecta of major gifts the soldier had already received, including a mortgage-free house and a lot to build the house on from Operation FINALLY HOME and Howard Hughes Corporation.

Mack also treated the Pearland Little Leaguers to an Astros game and donated $20,000, and teamed up with the Astros and former Houston shortstop Carlos Correa to honor a Uvalde victim and her family with a new home. 


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