Friendly’s seeks fresh start with bankruptcy and $1.9M sale

WILBRAHAM — Friendly’s and its private equity firm owners are using federal bankruptcy courts to sell the struggling restaurant chain to a Texas investment company for just $1.9 million.

It’s a deal both sides say should allow the iconic brand best known for ice cream cones, Fribble milkshakes and Big Beef burgers to continue and for “thousands” of employees of the Springfield-founded chain to remain employed.

But the deal doesn’t involve the Friendly’s business that sells ice cream products to supermarkets or the ice cream plant on Route 20 in Wilbraham. Those businesses are now owned by the co-operative Dairy Farmers of America.

Friendly’s and its soon-to-be former owners, Sun Capital, foreshadowed the move with a series of real estate deals last month, including selling off closed locations in the Forest Park section of Springfield and in Lee, Massachusetts, and Bennington, Vermont.

The new owner, according to court documents, is

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Friendly’s files for bankruptcy and puts itself up for sale

Friendly’s, the East Coast diner chain best known for its “Fribble” milkshakes and sandwiches, has filed for bankruptcy for the second time in less than a decade. The 85-year-old restaurant is the latest to file for Chapter 11 during the pandemic.



a car parked in front of a building: DELRAY BEACH, FL - OCTOBER 05: A Friendly's Ice Cream Corp restaurant is seen on the day the company filed for bankruptcy on October 5, 2011 in Delray Beach, Florida. The company employs roughly 10,000 people in more than 500 restaurants and is known for it ice cream treats and hamburgers, (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)


© Joe Raedle/Getty Images North America/Getty Images
DELRAY BEACH, FL – OCTOBER 05: A Friendly’s Ice Cream Corp restaurant is seen on the day the company filed for bankruptcy on October 5, 2011 in Delray Beach, Florida. The company employs roughly 10,000 people in more than 500 restaurants and is known for it ice cream treats and hamburgers, (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

The company announced late Sunday that it would “sell substantially all of its assets” to a private hedge fund company that owns other quick-service restaurants, including Red Mango and Souper Salad.

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Friendly’s said “nearly all” of its 130 locations, which are predominantly on the

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Former Friendly’s in Forest Park sells for $600K; same investors buy 3 other closed Friendly’s

SPRINGFIELD — A Norwood real estate company purchased the closed Friendly’s property near Forest Park at the end of September for $600,000 and the boarded-up restaurant is now advertised for lease.

The sale is detailed in papers filed Sept. 30 at the Hampden County Registry of Deeds and appears to be a part of a portfolio of old Friendly’s locations sold by the chain’s corporate parent. The location is at 65 Sumner Ave.

The Friendly’s – a 4,700-square-foot space – closed in 2018 as part of Friendly’s continued downsizing. It was built in 1979.

The new owner is Charles River Realty Group, according to records.

12/3/2018 -Springfield- Friendly’s at 65 Sumner Ave. in Springfield soon after it closed in December 2018. (Don Treeger / The Republican)

An employee answering the phone there Thursday said there are no immediate plans for the Springfield location and declined to answer further questions.

The

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