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JM Pacheco: Holding on to tradition

By Michael Fisher | B&C
Third generation Luis Pacheco pulls up the shutter of his family’s fashion fabric retail store ‘J M Pacheco’, shop No 53, Pacheco Corner, for another day of business. The retail store has been with the family since 1932 founded by his grandfather Luis Sebastio Pacheco on Francis Loyola Road.
Reminiscing the past, he says his grandfather had started a tailoring shop with two tailors paying their salaries in ‘escudos’. It was a very modest beginning as there was no business plan, no marketing plan and no big investment. To make it easy for some of his close customers, he would purchase the materials and stitch the garment. Over a period of time the demand for fabrics and textiles sales exceeded the tailoring business.
When he passed away, his dad, Jose Manuel, took over. Customers would suggest that he sell textile and fabrics too, and hence they were stamped as the pioneers in selling cloth as well as stitching it into garments.
Jose’s sibling, Nelson, ventured into water-proofing, Ronnie studied to be a scientist and joined a lab in the United States, and the two daughters have also settled down in the US, leaving the family cloth business to Luis.
Francis Loyola Road till date is one of the most imposing streets in Margao City with shops on either side designed with sloping tiles. All that has changed and today the street is surrounded by the new market which is the most commercial vibrant street with daily trading business worth Rs 2 crore, according to Margao Municipal officials.
Goa’s liberation opened the floodgates of business for fabrics and textiles. Salesmen from other states thronged retail stores offering incentives and handsome rebates for fabrics and textiles of Raymonds, Garden Vareli, Century and the whole gamut of Indian textiles. The Goa market, especially designer fabrics for ladies, was booming.
Gradually, Luis took notice of the face change of business owners who were evolving over the last two decades to become more representative by businessmen from other states have grown at an unprecedented rate around Shop 53.
Few stores are remaining with traditional owners most of the commercial establishments have changed hands to migrants who offered them a whopping price of over Rs 1 core plus for the store. This was in the early 1990s, says Luis, as he points out to the new change of guard.
With sadness in his eyes, he asks, where are the neighbours like M S Caro, K N Naik, Sonu Naik, Timblo and Marchon the wine store, among others?
“I miss the early morning chat and laugh we would have before the start of business,” recalls Luis with pity writ on his face. He says the flight rate of traditional retail owners have soared from the new market.
At the back of this textile and fabric boom, ‘Goanization’ too was expanding its horizons all over the state. It seems to be the greatest mass migration in Goa’s history is taking place. The newcomers bought the traditional stores lock, stock and barrel. They are lawfully here. They have the jobs, live in houses, and use the municipality for their legal utility bills. Their children are in the schools. Come to that, they are paying taxes.
Meanwhile, in the month of every October, smiling tourists wearing colourful beads and hats saunter into Margao’s new market street buying odds and ends such as bed sheets, towels, mats, handloom bags, sandals and slippers, the basic get-ups needed for their lustrous stay in Goa. This is the time of the year retailers on either side of the street anxiously wait for tourist business. Till then Goa hadn’t known it had a tourist season. It is envisaged that today the new market churns out over Rs 2 crore of business.
In one end of Shop 53, Ninette Pacheco, housewife turned dress designer and a partner in her husband Luis’s business, is busy talking business with some well-dressed western and European ladies. Not the type to idle around, with her husband she decided to diversify the business to designing and stitching fashionable dresses so that she can expand her skills and services.
Dona Silva, Lusia by the Sea, Leela Kempski, Majorda Beach Resort among others would recommend the tourists to Ninette who willingly designs and stitches garments for them which are suited for the Goan climate and its green environment. This group is flown by a charter flight, at a time when few charter flights fly to Goa bringing UK citizens and tourists from Europe and Scandinavian countries.
“I try to adapt suitable styles on a less exaggerated scale so that my clientele will look smart as well as fashionable”, she tells, while taking the measurement of a client. Ninette takes orders and designs of ladies dresses, coats and suits. The locals took notice and now she is busy full-time designing and cutting and stitching mainly for the local beles.
After her marriage in 1978 and gifted with two kids, now grown up, Ninette decided to keep busy in what she likes best-designing. Early in her marriage life she did some practical training course in Dona Helena tailoring classes situated at Abed Faria Road.

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