Gallery Furniture owner Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale on Thursday announced his plans to rebuild his flagship store and be open for business on July 4.
Two weeks after fire destroyed the Gallery Furniture warehouse on I-45, McIngvale received an insurance check for $3 million. It’s the first of many advances McIngvale says he’ll use to rebuild.
“We’re excited about the future, strong and stable and looking forward to reopening the world’s greatest furniture store,” McIngvale said.
McIngvale said crews would be moving forward with construction where the scorched warehouse now stands, and workers were busy getting rid of damaged furniture.
“I think this entire revitalization will be a triumph of the human spirit and a triumph of good over evil," McIngvale said, attributing his confidence to what he called the “Houston factor.”
He said crews will totally remodel the main showroom and that customers with ideas on how to make it better should e-mail the company.
Investigators announced last month that the fire was the work of an arsonist, but they declined to speculate on exactly whom might have ignited the blaze.
The investigation is ongoing.
McIngvale on Thursday said that he couldn’t comment on the investigation, but that he is sure officials will find the arsonist.
“I have the world of confidence that they will catch the perpetrators of this crime,” McIngvale said. “I look forward to seeing the suspects brought to justice.”
McIngvale is also giving back almost as quickly as he receives. Thursday he announced he’s giving each of the 31 Houston fire stations that responded to the fire a $10,000 gift certificate from his store.
“Part of the mission at Gallery Furniture is to give back to the community, which has given us so much,” says McIngvale.Ask anyone who works here, and they’ll tell you this is about much more rebuilding a business.
“Gallery Furniture is like the Astrodome,” says Darryl Luckett, an employee of 11 years. “It’s a part of the fiber of this city.
Meanwhile, arson investigators haven’t ruled anyone out as a suspect, which is standard procedure. Reporters asked McIngvale if he had retained an attorney as a result.
“My wife and I have not retained an attorney, because we’re not guilty of this crime,” says McIngdale. “We had nothing to do with it. I’d rather cut off my two hands than burn down my life’s work.”
It’s work that has spanned nearly three decades in Houston.