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Thursday, June 20, 2024
Frank Funaro Men’s Wear was a downtown Windsor cornerstone business for 35 years. Frank Funaro, together with his wife Rosina, owned and operated a fine clothing store known for its fine quality product line, its excellent customer service and its expert alteration capabilities, from 1959 to 1994.

In 1955, Frank Funaro left the bar-and-café business he operated with his brother in Turin, Italy. He immigrated to Windsor to find his long-time love he had met as a young teenager, Rosina, who had immigrated a few months earlier. Frank turned to a business he loved, tailoring, and started out in a modest basement premises at 67 University Avenue West.

Within a few years, Frank and Rosina were married and thus marked the beginning of their lifelong partnership in life and in business. In 1966, Frank and Rosina had three children: Josephine (Josie), ten years old, Francesca (Fran), seven years old, and Alfonso (Al), one year old. The Funaro family renovated and expanded the business at 61 University Avenue West.

By then Frank was a well-known custom tailor. In 1977, the company name was changed to “Frank Funaro Men’s Wear” and the successful store was expanded in order to carry sports and weekend wear and accessories. His daughter, Fran, began working at the store while completing her business degree at the University of Windsor.

The following year Frank negotiated a deal to purchase the downtown corner property which included his store premises. He purchased and still owns the land between University Avenue and the Royal Windsor Terrace, from 61 University Ave. West around the corner to 324 Pelissier Street.

The Funaro family enterprise underwent further expansion and additions in the 1980s. This time the store was expanded to include high fashion women’s apparel which was overseen and operated by Rosina and Fran, subtitled ‘Collections FFB’ ( Fran Funaro Boutique). His son, Al, also joined the staff at the expanded premises and a few years later the next generation of Funaros were born and began learning the ropes of fashion retail under their grandparent’s wing. Roberto Funaro (son of Josie) became a welcome fixture at Frank Funaro Men’s Wear.

1993 also marked another event for the Funaro family. They planned, produced and starred in the first annual “Bold and the Beautiful Fashion Show” which was staged at the Capitol Theatre and Arts Centre in downtown Windsor. It was a show featuring designs exclusively from over 20 downtown boutiques with proceeds going to Windsor Regional Hospital. The show’s success prompted it to be an annual downtown event for several years. Loyal clients of Frank Funaro Men’s Wear and Collections FFB, as well as local celebrities were involved as guest models demonstrating their support of Windsor Regional Hospital and downtown Windsor. Considerable time and effort were involved in this unique production.

As with many successful businesses, Frank Funaro Men’s Wear stressed devoting personal attention to the men and women who shopped there. After 35 successful years of business in downtown Windsor, Frank and Rosina announced the retirement of Frank Funaro Men’s Wear and Collections FFB in 1994.

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The opinions and interpretations in this publication are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of the Government of Canada.


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