Angelo R. "Jim" Pachioli, known to television viewers across Western New York as the raspy-voiced spokesman for his furniture company, Factory Sleep Shop, died Monday (Sept. 27, 1999) in the Kresge Residence at the Mitchell Campus of Hospice Buffalo, Cheektowaga, after a brief illness.
A Williamsville resident, he was 75.
Born in Buffalo, he started two businesses in the city -- the Delaware Inn in 1951 and the Dairy Isle custard stand in 1953 -- before taking jobs at furniture stores in the late 1950s.
He purchased Factory Surplus Sleep Shop in Cheektowaga in 1960 and continued to operate it until his death. A second location was opened in the Town of Tonawanda in 1983, which was operated by his son, Wayne of East Amherst.
Pachioli gained instant recognition in the early 1980s for a TV commercial in which he donned boxing trunks and gloves to promote his store. With the theme from "Rocky" playing in the background, he declared in his signature voice how he had been "slugging it out with the big boys for 22 years and winning."
The ad worked. He told Buffalo News television critic Alan Pergament that he sold more mattresses than any other one-store operation in the nation.
The secret to his success, he told an interviewer in 1985, was hard work. He said then that he was on the floor in his store 12 hours a day, six days a week. Part of what drove him was the poverty of his younger years.
"I was a dishwasher, bartender, maitre d'," he said. "I sold ice cream. I was a truck driver. I never had the opportunity to go to school. It was all done through good, hard work.
"Nobody had any money, no one had nothing," he added. "I went to a couple years of grammar school, that's all. To support my family, at times I had two, three jobs. When I was 14 or 15 years old, I was a dishwasher at the Greyhound station, and I decided I wanted to be a businessman of some kind -- to better myself and my family."
He was a member of the Jewish Community Center and the Buffalo Curling Club.
A major contributor to the annual Channel 17 Auction, he received a commendation from the station.
Survivors, besides his son, include his wife of 48 years, the former Clare R. Zglinicki; a daughter, Judith C. Lazarz of Williamsville; and four grandchildren.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 9:30 a.m. Thursday in St. Leo the Great Catholic Church, 885 Sweet Home Road, Amherst,with prayers at 8:45 in Amigone Funeral Home, 5200 Sheridan Drive, Amherst. Entombment will be in Holy Sepulchre Cemetery, Cheektowaga.