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‘Mattress Mack’ recovering from mini-stroke

Jim “Mattress Mack” McIngvale, the owner of Top 100 Gallery Furniture in Houston, took to Facebook Tuesday night to tell his friends and followers he is recovering from a “mini-stroke.”

McIngvale, a 68-year-old Houston entrepreneur and philanthropist, told followers via a Facebook Live stream from an exam room at CHI St. Luke’s Hospital at Texas Medical Center that doctors believe he suffered a transient ischemic attack, also known as a mini-stroke.

A transient ischemic attack produces similar symptoms to a stroke but only lasts a few minutes and causes no permanent damage. It happens when there is not enough oxygen reaching the brain. This is often due to a blood clot that remains for a brief period.

“I’m having tingling in my arm, leg and face, which indicates, perhaps, a mini-stroke,” McIngvale said in the video. “I’m here getting checked out and will be here (Wednesday).”

The Facebook post is captioned, in part, “Please watch with the sound, please pray for Mack and anyone else in need of healing.”

McIngvale, who is wearing an Alex Bregman Houston Astros baseball jersey in the video, said he felt fine but wants to make sure he doesn’t have any stroke or heart attack symptoms.

Better safe than sorry

“I am not deathly ill. This is more of a precautionary thing,” he said. “I’ve learned in my life that it’s better to be safe than sorry.”

McIngvale spent 23 minutes on the live stream, answering questions from viewers and encouraging others experiencing similar symptoms to get checked by a physician.

True to form, McIngval, who is known nationally for his promotions tied to major sporting events, even managed to squeeze in a plug for Gallery’s upcoming store promotion.

“The best way you can cheer me up is to go to Gallery Furniture and buy some of our furniture as we get ready for our Fourth of July super sale,” McIngvale said just before giving out his personal cell phone number.

McIngvale was recently named to the American Home Furnishings Hall of Fame Class of 2019.

Keep up with the latest on the Home Furnishings Association’s Current News blog.

Photo of Badcock Store

Six months after hurricane, Badcock store opens in Florida

Photo: HFA member Sonja Rhinehardt outside her temporary Badcock store in Pensacola, Fla.

The morning after Hurricane Michael flooded and flattened Panama City and much of the surrounding Florida Panhandle, Home Furnishings Association member Sonja Rhinehardt ventured out to check on her two Badcock Home Furniture & more stores.

“It broke my heart,” she said, when she learned that both stores were destroyed. “I knew the hurricane was going to be tough to rebound from for the community, but seeing my stores is when I realized things were going to be tough on me personally.”

Six months later, Rhinehardt is amazed how far Panama City has come. There’s still much to do. Many  residents are living in damaged homes or trailers unfit for human habitation. Some are live in tents.

But just as many have rebuilt their homes and were looking for furniture and appliances when Rhinehardt opened a temporary Badcock store in Panama City this spring.

The store’s opening was celebrated April 6 and guests were given $50 Badcock merchandise cards. Crowds of local residents showed up before the store opened to replace furniture and appliances lost in the Category 4 storm.

“There were times I felt defeated, but I never gave up,” said Reinhardt. “We had a great staff that wouldn’t let me give up. I cried a lot , but kept going forward and, of course, Badcock was a great paertner through all of it.”

Actually, the store in Panama City is the second Badcock “store” to open. Within days of the hurricane hitting the coast, the Badcock Retail Operations team began helping Rhinehardt formulate a plan to get a temporary location up and running. The team got the first temporary location up and running within three weeks after the storm.

That temporary location consisted of storage sheds set up in the parking lot of one of Rinehardt’s old stores. 

Rhinehardt ran her business out of those sheds for more than five months until a space was secured this spring on West 23rd Street in Panama City.

Badcock CEO and President Rob Burnette said Rhinehardt’s determination to stay open and serve her community is admirable. “I’m inspired by dealers like Sonja and by our operations staff who have such a commitment to our customers, our community and our brand,” said Burnette, who was named the HFA’s Retailer of the Year in 2018. “We hope that our actions help inspire healing and rapid rebuilding in Panama City and the adjacent towns.”

Reinhardt was said she doesn’t know how long her temporary store will stay open. “We’re swamped with other things,” she said. “Every day we’re busy. People are so glad to see we’re open and helping them get what they need.”

Robert Bell is Content Editor for the Home Furnishings Association. Email or call him with news from your store, including expansion, personnel, successful initiatives—anything of interest to HFA members. He can be reached at rbell@myhfa.org or 916-757-1169.

Photo of Walker Furniture Truck

HFA member Walker Furniture helps firefighters with a good night’s sleep

Two years ago, Home Furnishings Association member Walker Furniture pledged to replace the mattresses at all 30 Clark County firehouses in the Las Vegas Valley as part of an ongoing event called “Project Firehouse: Rested & Ready.”

On June 12, employees from Walker Furniture delivered six new mattresses, foundations and protectors to a firehouse on East Desert Inn Road near the city’s famous neon strip.

Linda Alterwitz-Mizrahi, co-owner of Walker Furniture, makes it a point of attending every delivery to the county’s firehouses — no matter how small or far away the station is.

Their home away from home

“Every delivery is special,” said Alterwitz-Mizrahi. “It’s hard to imagine how much the firefighters appreciate having new mattresses considering the fire station serves as their home away from home; however, their excitement is apparent as they line up to help unload the Walker truck.”

If you’re keeping score, the latest delivery will make 62 new mattresses delivered to eight Clark County Fire Department stations. That’s an impressive number, but Walker has a long way to go. By the end of the event, Walker Furniture will supply all 30 firehouses with new mattresses.

“Watching the old mattresses being taken away tells a story of how long it’s been for our first responders to enjoy a good mattress,” said Alterwitz-Mizrahi. “I’m glad we’re able to help.”

Read the Shop Talk blog here.

Photo of Jake Jabs

Hall of Fame class includes Jake Jabs

Jake Jabs is one of four industry leaders who will be inducted into the American Home Furnishings Hall of Fame during the High Point Market Oct. 20. Jabs is president and CEO of Home Furnishings Association member American Furniture Warehouse in Englewood, Colo.

The others in the Hall of Fame’s 2019 class are Clement “Clem” M. Lange, co-founder and chairman of Best Chairs Inc./Best Home Furnishings; Paul Maitland-Smith, founder of Maitland-Smith Ltd. and Theodore Alexander; and Jim McIngvale, founder and owner of Gallery Furniture.

The American Home Furnishings Hall of Fame Foundation Inc., is an industry-wide organization founded to preserve its history, to celebrate exceptional individuals who have made extraordinary contributions to the U.S. home furnishings industry, and to inspire a new class of innovation and leadership.

‘The best of the best in our industry’

“This year’s inductees represent the best of the best in our industry as a result of the work done by a dedicated selection committee, which is committed to thoughtfully and thoroughly researching candidates from across the industry,” David Gebhart, president of the foundation’s board of directors, said in a news release.

“Induction into the Hall of Fame is the home furnishings industry’s highest honor,” he added. “Our new honorees represent innovative approaches to retail and domestic manufacturing as well as high-end design and global sourcing.” 

The news release said this about Jabs:

“Jake Jabs, CEO of American Furniture Warehouse, is an entrepreneur who pioneered the big box home furnishings store. A top 20 retailer and one of the largest privately held companies in Colorado, he believes in competitive pricing and created his own coast-to-coast trucking fleet. A former Air Force officer, he focuses on hiring veterans, offers widespread incentive pay to employees, and spends a full day with each new hire to instill his passion for honesty, providing value and fully informing each customer with detailed product information. He has a penchant for playing guitar for store customers and appearing with a white tiger in television commercials.”

The guitar man

Jabs isn’t just noted for guitar playing; guitars helped launch him in business. He grew up on a ranch in Montana and used 30 head of cattle to secure a $3,000 loan in 1955. He bought a music store in Bozeman just as Elvis Presley-mania was sweeping the country, sold guitars and gave lessons.

His next venture was furniture. That business later took him to Colorado and eventually led to the founding of American Furniture Warehouse in 1975. Over the years, the company has grown to 14 stores throughout Colorado and Arizona with nearly 3,000 employees and more than $700 million in sales in 2018.

He founded the Jake Jabs College of Business & Entrepreneurship at Montana State University and supports the Jake Jabs Center for Entrepreneurship at Colorado University in Denver.

Jabs served on the boards of directors for the Western Home Furnishings Association and National Home Furnishings Association, predecessor organizations to the HFA. In 2017, one of his Denver stores hosted HFA’s Leadership Immersion Program, where Next Generation Now members spent three days learning from AFW staff. 

Giving back to the industry

“I like to give back, I like helping others,” he explained to HFA’s Retailer NOW magazine. “This industry we’re in, it’s changing. It’s nothing like it was, say 10 years or even five years ago, and will be nothing like it is now in five years. That’s why we all need to help each other out. Everyone needs a little help now and then. I like being there for them when they need that help.”

Jabs, whose business supports many community causes, has received a long list of awards. He said he’s grateful for them all but called the Hall of Fame induction a great honor.

Responding to a question, he said he doesn’t plan to bring his guitar to the Oct. 20 event in High Point, which will feature an address by Captain Sully Sullenberger of “Miracle on the Hudson.”

But he’d be happy to borrow one.

Doug Clark is content manager and government relations liaison for the Home Furnishings Association. He writes HFA’s Policy Matters blog.

Photo of Sharron, Karen, and Mark

HFA leaders get out in the industry

Photo: HFA CEO Sharron Bradley, left, and Executive Vice President for Membership and Marketing Mark Schumacher, right, visit the future home of the American Home Furnishings Hall of Fame with CEO Karen McNeill in High Point, N.C., in April 2019.

Home Furnishings Association executives are participating in many industry events during June.

CEO Sharron Bradley welcomes HFA members to Insights Experience in Portland, Ore., June 17-18. Insights offers networking and education with branding as the focus. Presenters include Aaron Draplin of Draplin Design Company, local social media influencer Cait Pearson of She’s Hungry, and McMenamins, the popular family owned chain of brewpubs, breweries, wineries and historic hotels.

Mark Schumacher, executive vice president for membership and marketing, is representing HFA at the Furniture Industry Networking Event hosted by Renegade Furniture Group in Melville, N.Y., June 12. The all-day learning and networking experience brings together industry leaders from more than 100 companies to talk about current customer trends and industry directions.

Schumacher and Shannon Williams, HFA’s director of membership and programs, will travel to Bozeman, Mont., for the AMI Group’s Furniture Leaders Conference June 17-20. Furniture Leaders is a retailer-owned, nonprofit buying group of 51 independent retailers with 73 store locations throughout the Pacific Northwest.

Executive Vice President Mary Frye’s busy month includes attending ADL’s National Home Furnishings Industry Tribute Dinner in New York on June 13. This year’s celebration, held at the Grand Hyatt Hotel, will honor three distinguished industry veterans: Michael Traub, former chief executive of Serta Simmons Bedding, LLC; Simon Kaplan, chief executive and chairman of Crest Furniture; and Ellen Gefen, president of the Gefen Company, Inc. It also serves as a fundraiser for ADL, or Anti-Defamation League, supporting its efforts to bring about a world without bias, discrimination or hatred.

Frye also will attend the WithIt conference in Alexandria, Va., June 24-26.  The conference, themed Igniting Leadership, will provide opportunities for professional development, new business partnerships, an expanded network and enhanced business skills.

The Home Furnishings Association is a key participant in industry leadership events, as the June schedule for its top executives attests.

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