Friendly’s: where ice cream makes the meal
July 31, 2021
Friendly’s is a restaurant chain on the United States’ East Coast.
Life with extra sprinkles.
It was smack-dab in the middle of the Great Depression (1929-1939) when brothers Prestley and Curtis Blake opened an ice cream shop in Springfield, Massachusetts and called it Friendly’s. They sold two-scoop cones for five cents each. Yes, them was the good ole days!
In 1940, with a brand new and expanded menu, the brothers opened a second Friendly’s in West Springfield, Massachusetts. During World War II (1939-1945), they closed the business until the war ended.
By 1951, Friendly’s had expanded to 10 restaurants in Connecticut and western Massachusetts. In 1960, the Friendly’s headquarters moved from Springfield to Wilbraham, Massachusetts. The next decade was one of great expansion, as the chain grew to a whopping 500 restaurants. In that same year, a food processing and distribution plant was opened in Troy, Ohio.
When the Blake brothers finally retired in 1979, they sold Friendly’s to Hershey Foods Corporation. The company was sold again in 1988 when Donald N. Smith purchased Friendlys from the Hershey corporation, at which time it became part of Tennessee Foods.
In 1997, Friendly Ice Cream Corporation made its appearance on the NASDAQ stock exchange, beginning at $18 per share and peaking at $26.
In 1998, Friendly’s decided it was time to start franchising. Kim Andereck who was hired as vice president of franchise development created an aggressive and highly successful franchise program for the chain which, until that time had been company-owned. Today, about 50% of its restaurants are franchise-owned.
In the summer of 2007, Friendly’s was bought for $337 million by the private investment firm of Sun Capital Partners, Inc. In December of the following year, Ned R. Lidvall was appointed president and CEO.
On August 5, 2009, the first Friendly’s Express opened in Mansfield, Massachusetts, with three more following in 2010 in Coolidge Corner, Brookline, Wareham and Methuen.
On June 20, 2016, Dean Foods announced the acquisition of Friendly’s Ice Cream for $155 million. This did not change the ownership of the restaurants, which continues to be owned by Sun Capital Partners continues to run the currently existing locations.
Always striving for something new and creative, Friendly’s opened a new prototype in 2018 at the Apex Center in Marlborough, Massachusetts. This new model tested delivery, catering and online ordering, as well as offering a new menu.
Co-founder Curtis Blake died on May 24, 2019, at the age of 102.
Co-founder S. Prestley Blake died on February 11, 2021, at the age of 106.
Where ice cream makes the meal.
Communications and Marketing
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