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Friendly's Files Chapter 11; Local Restaurants Stay Open

Staff Reports
NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — Friendly Ice Cream Corp. of Wilbraham has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The move has been expected for weeks as the 76-year-old chain has struggled with rising costs and the economic recession.

The company's closed 63 "underperforming" restaurants across the Northeast, Virginia and Florida as part of the restructuring. However, local restaurants in North Adams (State Road), Pittsfield (Dalton Avenue and Elm Street), Lee (Housatonic Street), Lenox (Route 20), Great Barrington (Stockbridge Road) and Bennington, Vt. (South Street), will remain open. Also remaining open is the Friendly's at the bottom of the Mohawk Trail in Greenfield although a second Greenfield restaurant on Federal Street will close. Two in Albany, N.Y., on Wolf Road and Western Avenue, will also close.

"We have embarked on an aggressive campaign to enhance restaurant operations, improve the guest experience, strengthen our team and expand the company's successful retail ice cream business," said Harsha V. Agadi, chairman and CEO of Friendly's in a statement.

The company faced significant financial challenges, Agadi said. "This was exacerbated by the weak economy and rapidly rising commodity costs that have impacted the entire restaurant industry."

Read the full press release here.
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