FRANCO’S GRAND SALE
Furniture legend finally ready to sell up in beloved ‘Foot-is-cray’
But maybe I change-a my mind, because firstly, I will miss all of my publicity
A LEGENDARY furniture king’s western suburbs store is up for grabs and could be transformed into luxurious apartments.
King of baroque Franco Cozzo put his famed furniture store in “Foot-is-cray” up for sale on Thursday, with an asking price of around $7 million.
The 1088sq m Hopkins St shop could be transformed into an apartment tower or new commercial site, subject to council approval.
Opened by the flamboyant Mr Cozzo shortly after he arrived in Australia in 1956, it expanded to a second store in “Brunsawick” not long after. The exuberant salesman still works in his stores and said he would miss his customers and the area if the site sold.
“But maybe I change-a my mind,” he said, “because firstly, I will miss all of my publicity.”
Mr Cozzo said he would like to keep the furniture shop and see apartments developed on top.
“Because the family will be furniture people always and I am the king of furniture,” he said.
The past year has been tumultuous for Mr Cozzo, when police alleged that the Footscray legend had been living in fear of his son Luigi “Lou” Cozzo. Luigi was previously accused of threatening to kill his father in April 2016, but prosecutors dropped all the charges against him on December 12.
However, the 82-year-old said yesterday that he didn’t want to retire, 30 years after charming Melburnians with his heavy accent and foreign-language TV sales pitches. “If I retire what’s-a Franco Cozzo — finish — but I want to be an actor always,” he said.
However, the father of 10 said the western suburbs and Footscray would always have a special place in his heart.
“Footscray and the west has been good to me and is full of lovely, lovely people,” he said.
“I love Footscray and I love Australia because it made me who I am.”
Commercial agent Rudy Kelemen said the property was targeted towards developers and was taking into consideration settlement periods.
“He’s 82 and there comes a time when you want to move on,” Mr Kelemen said.
He said the site had a lot to offer as it was 5km from Melbourne, close to public transport and in the heart of Footscray.
The shop was first put on the market two years ago, and is currently under offer.
Franco Cozzo holding court as ever in his Footscray shop, which may not be his kingdom for much longer.