The sale of the Friendly's restaurant chain has been finalized and the owners have announced their plans going forward. Over the last several years, our area has seen the closure of Friendly's in Sangertown Square, Herkimer, Rome and Utica - leaving one lone restaurant on Burrstone Rd. in New Hartford. Now that the sale of the chain has been finalized, what does the future hold for our only existing Friendly's location?

The new owners, Amici Partners Group, LLC said recently in a statement, they plan to grow the iconic brand keeping the remaining restaurants open, which would include Friendly's on Burrstone Road.

"The investors of Amici Partners Group, LLC have been involved with the Friendly's Restaurant brand in many capacities over the years, not only as owners/operators and leaders in the system, but also as longtime loyal customers of this iconic brand," said Craig Erlich, President and CEO of Amici Partners. "Based on our personal connection to the chain, strong investment capabilities, and seasoned management team, we believe we will be able to continue to reinvigorate this much-loved brand for both loyal patrons and new customers alike."

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There are 130 Friendly's remaining, all on the east coast stretching from Florida to as far north as Vermont. There are eleven Friendly's locations left in New York State. Over the last 10 years since the company's bankruptcy, more than 300 of the restaurants have closed. In 2016, Friendly's sold its retail ice cream and manufacturing business to Dean Foods of Dallas, Texas, which supplies grocery stores and Friendly's restaurants with their iconic ice cream.

Friendly's which was known as Friendly Ice Cream originally, was first opened by brothers S. Prestley and Curtis Blake in Springfield, Massachusetts in 1935. The brothers sold double dip ice cream cones for just 5-cents during the height of the Great Depression. The second store opened in West Springfield and by the early 1970s, the chain, still owned by the Blake family, had grown to more than 500 stores. They sold the business to Hershey Foods in 1979, and the chain has had several owners since then, according to Wikipedia.

“Friendly’s holds a special place in the hearts of its many loyal patrons, and we look forward to nurturing that legacy and creating new programs and menu items to meet the changing needs of our customers,” said Erlich.

 

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