Friendly Ice Cream Corp., which began in 1935 as a neighborhood ice cream shop and grew to more than 600 restaurants, filed for bankruptcy protection yesterday and immediately closed 63 stores. Thirty of the closed stores are in the company’s home state of Massachusetts. Three stores closed in the Greater Philadelphia area (Trenton, Doylestown and Pottstown).
In a press release, Friendly’s said it was a victim of a challenging economy, high supply costs and changing customer preferences. In a phone interview reported yesterday by The Boston Globe, Chief Executive Harsha V. Agadi said the company already has $70 million in financing secured and hopes for a speedy restructuring.
I’m enthusiastically hoping for such a turnaround. Despite applying for a job at the Clifton Park, NY Friendly’s as a teenager (didn’t get it; ended up at Price Chopper), it was my go-to place after a movie during my high school and college years. There was nothing like a Reese’s Pieces Sundae (the five-scoop kind with Cookies’n Cream ice cream) and a side of fries at 11pm. And it seemed I knew half the people in the crowded restaurant, which I once heard was one of the top performing Friendly’s in the country.