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Five area Friendly’s close doors

Company cites lease negotiations as catalyst for closures

Friendly’s Chairman and CEO Harsha V. Adagi revealed to customers at the Central Avenue restaurant in December 2010 the company’s plan to use the Capital District as a test market for new menu items. The company is now closing several restaurants.

Friendly’s Chairman and CEO Harsha V. Adagi revealed to customers at the Central Avenue restaurant in December 2010 the company’s plan to use the Capital District as a test market for new menu items. The company is now closing several restaurants. Photo by Andrew Beam.

— Diners looking to eat at the ice cream staple Friendly’s in the Capital District might have to travel farther to get their Jim Dandy.

Five area Friendly’s restaurants closed once the last scoop was served on Sunday, Jan. 8. The following locations were shuttered: Saratoga Road in Glenville, Route 7 in Latham, Route 9 in Latham, Central Avenue in Albany and the Colonie Center restaurant. There were 32 other locations closed throughout the Northeast, with Massachusetts having the largest amount of closings with 10.

Lynn Bolton, public relations coordinator for Friendly Ice Cream Corporation, said the “difficult decision” was made to close the 37 locations following failed negotiations for lower leases.

“Since entering Chapter 11 in October 2011, the company has sought to work with our landlords to restructure lease arrangements at locations where we believed rents did not reflect current market conditions and were significantly impacting the viability of underperforming restaurants,” Bolton said in a statement. “While we were able to successfully restructure lease agreements for a number of locations, unfortunately, we were unable to reach an acceptable agreement on others.”

Bolton said there were around 20 employees working at each recently closed location, which amounts to roughly 740 employees losing their jobs. Accommodations would be made by the company to hire employees at surrounding locations, according to Bolton.

“We regret that this decision has become necessary, and we appreciate the hard work and dedication of the Friendly’s employees at these locations and intend to accommodate as many as possible at nearby operating restaurants, where available,” Bolton said.

When the company filed for bankruptcy in 2011 it closed 63 restaurants in the northeast. Area stores included in the October closures included the Wolf Road and Western Avenue locations in Albany, Altamont Avenue in Rotterdam and Congress Street in Saratoga Springs.

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