After Gallery’s Astros promotion comes up big, what’s next for Mattress Mack?


HOUSTON — He threw out the first pitch of the Houston Astros’ World Series-clinching victory, won bets worth $75 million and gave away that much in product in in his Top 100 stores.

So what’s next for Gallery Furniture owner Jim McIngvale?

“I’ll figure something out,” McIngvale told Furniture Today. “I was born to be a promoter, and I’ll die a promoter. I live by my motto: ‘Early to bed, early to rise, work like hell and advertise.’”

In Gallery Furniture’s biggest ever promotion, the Houston retailer gave away about $75 million to consumers who bought $3,000 in qualifying Tempur-Pedic, Stearns & Foster or Sealy sleep sets. To offset potential giveaways, McIngvale made bets on the Astros that totaled about the same amount, so his winnings and the promotion wound up offsetting. He said the publicity generated from the promotion, including a front-page feature on ESPN.com, generated much more.

“It’s all about brand building. The promotion might have been break-even, but the promotion’s value was worth about $100 million,” he said.

The past week or so was a rollercoaster ride of sorts for McIngvale. After the Astros lost Game 3 in Philadelphia, he was caught on video in a heated exchange with a Phillies fan. But he said some good things came out of the exchange. “The fans were rough, but we won two out of three (in Philadelphia) so it worked out. It solidified Gallery Furniture as a supporter of the Astros. People in Houston love this team, so it was the best brand-building exercise ever.”

After that Game 3 loss, the Astros didn’t lose again. And many Houstonians rallied around McIngvale following the viral video, to the point that he was asked to throw out the ceremonial first pitch prior to the clincher in Game 6.

“I had thrown out the first pitch for an American League Championship Series game before, so it was certainly a welcome surprise and great honor to do that,” he said. “Given all my antics in Philadelphia and the way the fans rallied around me for defending Houston and the Astros, it was a great thrill, and I was honored to do it.”

The promotion has drawn plenty of interest in Houston and beyond, with Furniture Today’s most recent story on Gallery’s Astros promotion generating a record number of page views, especially on Sunday after the Astros had clinched the championship.

“It was a good promotion. The Astros were a great team, and I got lucky,” he said.





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