Eight Friendly's franchises across Central New York will close by the end of the week, while more than a dozen others, just miles away from the closing restaurants, will remain open and operate under new ownership.
Friendly's Restaurant and ice cream shops in Liverpool, Rome, Fayetteville, Oneida, Cortland and Ithaca neighborhoods will close to customers Wednesday, July 31st. Two other restaurants in the Southern Tier are also shutting their doors.
Customers at the Friendly's in Fayetteville were surprised to hear the news of its closing.
"I thought they were doing fine," said Leeann Russo, who has been coming to the restaurant for years. "It's been in this area for so long. There's really not a lot of, you know, too much competition really up here...So I'm surprised."
"I don't really understand why [it's closing]," said Paige Wooldridge. "It's a really popular place and everyone I know likes Friendly's, so I was really shocked."
Employees were also taken aback by the news. "I was upset, sad," said employee Shenna Supernault. "Cried a little bit. It's my job. I take care of my family on this income."
"Normally during the summer we get a lot of people here for ice cream," said employee Anna Stanford. "Like when it's 90 degrees outside, the line is literally down to the parking lot. And it's crazy."
All are franchise restaurants owned by the Kessler Family, LLC.
The company sold 35 of its other franchise Friendly's to corporate Friendly's Ice Cream, LLC, the operator of Friendly's Restaurants and a manufacturer of its ice cream products.
A Friendly's spokesperson tells CNY Central that the eight closing stores were "not performing as well as hoped," and corporate chose not to include the eight locations in its new purchase.
Massachusetts-based Friendly's Ice Cream LLC announced the acquisition Monday morning, but did not say how much it had bought the franchises for.
The new ownership of the restaurants will go into effect on Thursday, August 1 after the transaction is completed on July 31. Friendy's says there will be no disruption in service to customers.
The 78-year-old company says it's focused on working to reposition itself and continue to serve neighbors in a friendly, family environment.
Closing restaurants: 1700 N. James Street, Rome, NY145 W. State Rte. 281, Cortland, NY7560 Oswego Road, Liverpool, NY501 E. Genesee Street, Fayetteville, NY 109 Genesee Street, Oneida, NY323-325 Elmira Road, Ithaca, NY3604 Vestal Parkway, Vestal, NY87 Oakdale Mall, Johnson City, NY
Transitioning restaurants: 2760 Union Road, Cheektowaga, NY10 South Main Street, Jamestown, NY2502 West State Street, Olean, NY3935 Dewey Avenue, Greece, NY1206 Ridge Road, Webster, NY4 Spencerport Road, Rochester, NY3701 James Street, Syracuse, NY192-196 West Bridge Street, Oswego, NY287 Hamilton Street, Geneva, NY3275 Erie Boulevard, Dewitt, NY6555 Fourth Section Boulevard, Brockport, NY2425 West Henrietta Road, Rochester, NY3081 West Ridge Road, Rochester, NY2717 Monroe Avenue, Rochester, NY2309 N. Triphammer Road, Ithaca, NY5407 West Genesee Street, Camillus, NY170 Clinton Avenue, Cortland, NY770 Miracle Drive, Rochester, NYBox 2086, NYS Route 31, Clay, NY338 Greece Ridge Center Mall, Rochester, NY1148 Front Street, Binghamton, NY561 Harry L. Drive, Johnson City, NY301 East Main Street, Endicott, NYArnot Mall, Horseheads, NY41 Main Street, Hornell, NYRiverside Plaza, W Pulteney St, Corning, NY2669 Corning Road, Horseheads, NY377 Main Street, Oneonta, NY1233 Arsenal Street, Watertown, NY3450 McKinley Parkway, Blasdell, NY4350 Maple Road, Amherst, NY6651 Transit Road, Williamsville, NY1700 Burrstone Road, New Hartford, NY3873 State Route 31, Liverpool, NY697 Eastview Mall, Victor, NY (Express)