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Daily News

SOMERS, Conn. — S. Prestley Blake, co-founder of Friendly’s, died Thursday at age 106, the Republican reported. His niece, Holly Thrasher Schroeder, announced the passing on Facebook:

“Our family could use your prayers now … my dear Uncle Pres just passed 2 hours ago, at age 106. The end of a legend! Co-founder of Friendly Ice Cream, along with his brother, my Uncle Curt, who we lost in May 2019, he will be sorely missed! We love you, Uncle Pres! Godspeed and please give Gram and Grandfather and Uncle Curt a HUGE hug and kiss for me! Until we get there, take care of them for us!!!”

Brothers Curtis and S. Prestley Blake built Friendly’s from a single ice-cream shop in Springfield’s Pine Point neighborhood into a chain with 850 restaurants at its height. Curtis died in 2019 at age 102.

Daily News

WILBRAHAM — FIC Restaurants, Inc., the restaurant company operating under the brand name Friendly’s Restaurants, announced an agreement to sell substantially all of its assets to Amici Partners Group, LLC, according to the Associated Press. Amici is currently affiliated with BRIX Holdings, a multi-brand franchising company with national and international experience in the restaurant industry.

Nearly all of Friendly’s 130 corporate-owned and franchised restaurant locations are expected to remain open subject to COVID-19 limitations, and the transaction is expected to preserve thousands of corporate-owned restaurant team-member and franchisee jobs.

To facilitate the sale process, Friendly’s has filed voluntary petitions for relief under Chapter 11 of the U.S. Bankruptcy Code. Friendly’s has asked the Bankruptcy Court for a hearing in mid-December to approve the sale and confirm the Chapter 11 plan.

“Over the last two years, Friendly’s has made important strides toward reinvigorating our beloved brand in the face of shifting demographics, increased competition, and rising costs,” said George Michel, CEO of FIC Restaurants. “We achieved this by delivering menu innovation, re-energizing marketing, focusing on takeout, catering and third-party delivery, establishing a better overall experience for customers, and working closely with our franchisees and restaurant teams. Unfortunately, like many restaurant businesses, our progress was suddenly interrupted by the catastrophic impact of COVID-19, which caused a decline in revenue as dine-in operations ceased for months and reopened with limited capacity.

“We believe the voluntary bankruptcy filing and planned sale to a new, deeply experienced restaurant group will enable Friendly’s to rebound from the pandemic as a stronger business, with the leadership and resources needed to continue to invest in the business and serve loyal patrons, as well as compete to win new customers over the long term,” he added. “Importantly, it is also expected to preserve the jobs of Friendly’s restaurant team members, who are the heart and soul of our enterprise and have been critical to the progress we have made in transforming this iconic brand.”

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