Scott James Pacheco was a sophomore in the carpentry program at Fall River’s Diman Regional Vocational Tech High School when his dad suggested he get a job as a shop helper for Stephen Plaud, the notable craftsman of beds in North Tiverton where the elder Pacheco worked. Over the course of 20 years, Pacheco went from sweeping up after school to learning alongside Plaud the art of meticulous time-tested woodworking techniques. Four years ago, Pacheco purchased the business now called Scott James Furniture and Design. His mentor Plaud has stayed on and now works for him, along with 15 other employees, including Pacheco’s dad. Now, Pacheco talks about the business, his passion for the trades, and his Diman workforce pipeline.
CHILDHOOD MEMORY: My grandfather James Pacheco, who had been a cabinet maker, had a small, makeshift basement shop where he made knick-knacks for craft shows and family members. I would be working with tools at nine and ten years old using the saws and sanding.
BEYOND BEDS: Stephen specialized in beds and bedroom furnishings, which we still do, but have branched off and do a lot of custom work, from dining room tables to cabinets and more. We take a traditional item and update it with contemporary designs and styles using high gloss finishes.
TRENDING NOW: We have been doing a lot of bed frames with TV lifts. The TV is stored in a large footboard of a bed frame and has a wireless mechanism. It’s very popular.
FAMOUS CLIENTS: We’ve had the opportunity to create pieces for some well-known people. We recently created 22 pieces – including an armoire, tables, and benches – for one of Forbes’ Top Ten World’s Wealthiest People. We get 70 percent of our business from interior designers. We also work with large wholesalers like Garnet Hill. Right now, we have five pieces in their catalog.
RECRUITING STRATEGY: I get workers from Diman’s co-op program. They place students who have good attendance and good grades. It’s a reward to get a job. If a young person has an interest in working with their hands, I think you’re better off working in the trade than going to college. I have a network of people who own plumbing and HVAC companies and they can’t get workers. I have seven guys with 25 years’ experience each; I pair the younger ones up with the older experienced guys. I want to hire young people with a good work ethic, drive, and basic hand skills.
FUTURE OWNER: I have a terrific Diman student working for us who told me last week, “I want to be just like you. I’m going to buy this business from you someday.” I said, “Good for you buddy.”