Posts Tagged ‘7-4-09’

Gallery Furniture: A Great Story with a New Chapter

steveparkhurst | July 5, 2009 in Advertising,Branding,Earned Media,Marketing,Promotional,Television,Visual | Comments (0)

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The recent saga of Gallery Furniture is proving to be very interesting. And from that saga, the marketing, branding and rebuilding opportunities to be learned from are equally interesting.

For those who may not know, Houston based furniture giant, Gallery Furniture had a fire recently that left the retailer unable to sell furniture. As it turns out, Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale, the founder and owner of Gallery Furniture, has a lot of social capital in the bank. Mattress Mack has been a visible figure in the Houston area for many years, whether it’s been his radio ads, tv ads, newspaper ads, visibility at Houston sports venues or greeting people at the main entrance to his furniture stores. You’d be hard pressed to find someone who doesn’t recognize Mattress Mack, and even harder pressed to find someone that can’t name for you one of Mack’s philanthropic endeavors.

Mattress Mack’s massive furniture cathedral on Interstate 45 is part showroom, part museum. There is a ton of furniture there to be sure, but there is also a lot of memorabilia from sports heroes to presidents, some things signed, some things don’t need a signature. Some photos include Mattress Mack with the sports figures or presidents. Mattress Mack has been known to come to the aid of citizens in need, anywhere in the world. You may recall Mack was right in the thick of the Clinton Bush initiative to send money and supplies to tsunami victims.

Mattress Mack maintains a blog where he writes about things going on in and around Houston, and it’s not just about selling sofas or waterbeds. He also posted about the recovery and rebuilding efforts since the fire shut down the main location. The really amazing thing about Mack is that the community at large has rallied around Mack to help him re-open bigger and better. How many cities have a business owner that the community would go to bat for to help rebuild? Most cynical people would shrug off the ordeal and say that insurance should cover the damage.

Not so with Mattress Mack and Gallery Furniture. Fundraisers are being held and money is being raised to get the doors re-opened and the merchandise moving again. Citizens have written to support Mattress Mack and others have volunteered numerous hours with cleanup and other duties. Now, Gallery Furniture’s re-opening has been seen as monumental, and as an event to be celebrated.

Witness the billboard below to understand. The whole community knows the story. This advertising is simple at its simplest. The date, 7-4-09 and the place, Gallery Furniture. That’s powerful when you can narrow your ad campaign like that.

Gallery Furniture Billboard - The Parkhurst Group

One of the many billboards around Houston indicating Gallery Furniture’s grand re-opening

You cannot replicate the Mattress Mack model overnight. It takes time and commitment. It also takes something else, something that maybe I can’t even define. For the lack of a better word or phrase, it takes heart. It takes the heart for doing good, the heart for doing right and the heart for people.

For years Mattress Mack has been giving back to Houston. In the recent weeks, Houstonians have been giving back to Mattress Mack.

If you have your own local Mattress Mack, please share their story with us, email Steve @ this domain and let us know how we can talk to this person about profiling them and sharing their story.