If you’ve turned on a television in Buffalo lately, you’ve probably formed an opinion of George Costello. He’s the man who seems to find time in every commercial break to tell you, in his own very distinct style, that he sells mattresses for less — a lot less.
His hard sell on soft bedding reminds many of another mattress store owner/TV pitchman who filled Buffalo’s TV screens 30 years ago.
Jim Pacheoli was the owner and raspy-voiced pitchman for Factory Sleep Shop. He was often seen in energy-filled TV commercials wearing boxing gloves as he delivered the company slogan, “Nobody beats us, we guarantee it!”
The commercials weren’t great, and Pacheoli knew that. “I think it’s a bad commercial,” he told The News in 1985. “But if it’s bad, they remember.”
“Not since car dealer Dan Creed looked into the camera and said ‘Shame on you,’ has one local television commercial gotten so much mileage,” wrote News Critic Alan Pergament in 1983.
But even long before the first Xtreme Discount Mattress opened in 2010 or even before the first Factory Sleep Shop opened in 1960 the tradition of bedding sales gimmicks had already begun.
Starting in 1882, the ubiquitous ads of the George A. Otis company reminded Buffalonians that the best mattresses came under “the sign of the goose.”
“An Otisized down quilt equals a drink at the fountain of youth,” said one ad, bragging of the goose feathers that made up an Otis bed, guaranteeing a better night’s sleep.
The highly-advertised bedding could be found at the shop just past St. Louis Church on Main Street — which couldn’t be missed with the giant goose on the front of the building.
“An up-to-date goose of immaculate plumage has looked benignly down from its perch at 818 Main Street quietly honking this homely but universally interesting query, ‘What is home without a good bed?’ ” read a 1910 ad.
At first, Otis specialized in revitalizing and refilling old mattresses with new down, but around 1910 opened a bedding factory on Florida Street near Jefferson just a few years before Canisius College would open its gold-domed “Old Main” building a few blocks away.
George Otis died in an accident at his Akron farm in 1918. Jim Pacheoli died in 1999. George Costello is on a TV near you selling you a mattress for less. A lot less.