Celebrating Over 50 Years of Service


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The Franco’s story began in Tuscany, Italy in 1946 when a young Franco Ambrogi learned to sew from his mother at the age of 6. After fifth grade, he left school to work in a tailor shop and by the young age of 15, emigrated to Richmond.  As an experienced tailor who had already honed his craftsmanship, he worked for a small tailor shop for a number of years then was offered a position at a venerable southern department store chain and Richmond icon, Thalhimers.  He later fetched up at the upscale specialty retailer Berry-Burk. By his early thirties, Franco had married his wife Ruth and had three small children. He began supplementing the family income by hand tailoring garments in his garage. He made custom-made suits charging around $125.  He would spend evenings at his customers' homes, doing fittings and delivering garments. 

Franco quickly earned the reputation as one of Richmond's finest tailors, well-respected for his tailoring expertise, exceptional craftsmanship and friendly disposition.  Franco's love of the personal service industry and desire to provide quality in every aspect of the customer experience fueled his passion to open his own clothing store.  In 1972, Franco and Ruth opened the first Franco's store (photo below) just north of Richmond's city limits on Lakeside Avenue. 


By 1985, Franco had expanded his small storefront location to a 35,000 sq ft store, complete with an in-house tailor shop and marble-floored rotunda loosely modeled after the Galleria in Milan, Italy. The Lakeside store location remains to this day as the corporate headquarters of the family-owned and run business with master tailors and a full tailor shop above the retail location.



Franco’s growth continued to evolve over the next thirty years with new locations to serve its growing customer base. In the nineties, locations opened in Richmond's financial district downtown and a south of the James store within the Shoppes at Bellgrade, near Ruth's Chris steakhouse.
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Today, Franco's services are delivered through their two stores (Short Pump Town Center and Lakeside Avenue) and the company's online store, which features select merchandise on the website available to purchase 24/7.  The Lakeside store continues to be home to the company's impressive in-house tailor shop with over half a dozen master tailors and skilled seamstresses. Franco continues to oversee the process with unparalleled attention to detail and exquisite craftsmanship. You'll also find Franco on the selling floor, providing hands-on advise and greeting friends new and old.
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"My heart is still very young; and I believe in everybody," says Ambrogi, in the old-world accent of his native Tuscany. "Whether you are 100 years old or 15 years old, it makes no difference to me. I respect you, and I will do the work to make you look the way you should look." 



Franco, son, and son-in-law


For more than a decade now, Franco's children have stepped into leadership and management roles for the two-store retailer. Son-in-law, Kevin Reardon, and daughter, Maria have managed store operations, buying, and marketing for Franco's Lakeside store.  Franco's son, Mark Ambrogi oversees buying and store operations of Franco's west-end store located in Short Pump Town Center.

Together, this dedicated family team continues to remain focused on the core values that their father instilled in them so many years ago  - placing quality and service at the foundation of all they do.

"When the Quality Shows...it Must be Franco's"   

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