The lovable furniture salesman that used his bilingual skills to appeal to the migrant community of Melbourne is the subject of a colourful mural in Footscray.
A household name in Melbourne’s Greek and Italian communities, Franco Cozzo now adorns the whole east side of his Footscray store thanks to local street artist collective Heesco.
While the store was put up for sale last year, Cozzo has left his mark, quite literally, on the shop.
Painted with his arms outstretched in his signature suit and tie, Cozzo is joined by other Footscray landmarks including famous train station donut shop, Olympic Doughnuts.
Heesco says the team of street artists initially fielded the idea to Cozzo’s son Louigi, and was met with delight and enthusiasm.
“We wanted to celebrate this larger than life character because he has been around for so long and people associate him with Footscray,” a spokesperson for Heesco told the Herald Sun.
Franco Cozzo, 78, has had the store at Footscray (his first) since 1959, opening his second Brunswick store soon after and a third in North Melbourne.
Known for selling garish but popular imported furniture at the time, Cozzo delighted migrants by using targeted marketing to garner interest.
He ingeniously translated his “grand sales” pitch into Greek and Italian, with many imitating his “megalo xepoulima” spiel for years to come.
Cozzo migrated to Australia from Italy in 1956 and started selling televisions, refrigerators and washing machines door-to-door before opening his furniture store.