The last Friendly’s eatery based in Fairfield County will be among the 23 locations across the Northeast that the restaurant chain has announced will be closing.
The Danbury location at 81 Newtown Road was built in 1980 and is among three Connecticut Friendly’s that will be shut down when their respective leases come up for renewal; the others are in Southbury and Waterbury.
In February, Southport-based Summit Development Founder, CEO, President and Principal Felix Charney told the Business Journal that he had acquired the Danbury property and that Friendly’s future there was uncertain. “We can repurpose it as a restaurant space or maybe make it suitable for a financial institution,” Charney said.
In a letter to franchisees, Friendly’s CEO George Mitchell announced the closings, which also impacts locations in Massachusetts, Maine, New Hampshire and upstate New York.
“While this was a tough decision, we are confident it will best position the brand for a bright future,” Mitchell wrote. “Especially difficult is the impact these closures will have on the locations’ wonderful employees, who we are working to support with opportunities in other locations or severance payments and other assistance.”
The company, which is based in Wilbraham, Massachusetts, filed for bankruptcy in 2011 and closed nine Connecticut locations the following year. Following the new closings, Friendly’s will operate 77 corporate-owned restaurants plus 97 locations run by franchisees. Within Connecticut, 19 Friendly’s locations spread across New Haven, Hartford, New London and Windham counties will remain operational.