When I moved to Houston, it didn’t take long for me to hear about Gallery Furniture. Within a couple months I had seen enough of the commercials and heard personal referrences from friends and collegues that I new Gallery Furniture was more than just another furniture store. Although I didn’t know the full story behind the company, I knew there was a story, and that people in Houston, and across Texas, connected with that story.
Unfortunately I learned more about that story last night, in a way that no one ever wants to. First I heard it on Twitter, and the mainstream news reports followed not long after, that the warehouse behind the iconic Gallery Furniture was the site of a 4-alarm fire. The flames could be seen for miles, and the smoke and heat was detectable from the local news Doppler radar. The reports from the firefighters were that they could only take a defensive stance and protect the showroom from being engulfed and allow the warehouse with millions of dollars of inventory to burn out. In the end, they were blessed with no injuries and that everyone who was in the building at the time of the fire was accounted for.
The founder and owner of Gallery Furniture, fondly known as Mattress Mack, wasted no time in getting a proactive message out to his customers. It’s a masters course in crisis communication unfolding right before us. Updates were posted on the web, via twitter, mainstream media interviews, and I even saw a camera crew heading into the Post Oak location right behind Mattress Mack, which I would speculate is their ad firm wasting no time in getting a commercial out addressing the events and the companies plan to rebuild.
The communication from Gallery Furniture has been great, but the truly moving story is unfolding from their customers. It’s a prime example of the loyalty your customers will show you when you treat them with respect and dignity. When you build a customer base by “doing the right thing” and taking care of people and your community at large, they respond in a big way. Rising from the ashes of this fire, customers of Gallery Furniture and Houstonians at large, are outpouring their support for Gallery Furniture. They express their deep concern for the company and its employees, their gratitude for all the the company and its founder does for the city, and their unwavering support of the company. Many even going as far as saying they’ll find a reason to buy some furniture and go to Gallery Furniture to support them in this tough time. For example, one anonymous poster said this “…I will make my way out to your newly opened location to pick up some stuff– don’t know what yet, but I’m sure I will find something. May God bless you and help you get through this tough time.”
I’ve never purchased anything from, or even been to a Gallery Furniture, but I assure you, next time I’m in the market for some furniture, it’s the first place I’ll go. Now that I’ve seen how much Gallery Furniture is loved by its customers. Now that I’ve seen all the amazing stories of how Gallery Furniture supports its community and our US soldiers. Now that I’ve seen that Gallery Furniture is an honest company with a genuine heart. I now consider myself a loyal Gallery Furniture supporter.
Mattress Mack and Gallery Furniture, I hope you can find some comfort in the outpouring of support from your loyal community, and you have a new loyal customer in me.