LONGMEADOW, Mass. (WWLP) - 2011 was a tough year for Wilbraham-based Friendly's restaurants, and it seems as though 2012 is starting on a difficult note for the chain.
In October, Friendly's filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and closed around 63 locations , including several in Western Massachusetts.
Now, the company has undertaken additional closings. In a statement sent to 22News, Friendly's spokesperson Maura Tobias said that five western Massachusetts locations were shut down Sunday night due to the inability for the company to and the properties' landlords to reach a restructured lease agreement.
All four of the Pioneer Valley restaurants that have been closed are located in Hampden County, with the Friendly's on Cooley Street in Springfield, the Friendly's on Page Boulevard in Springfield, the Friendly's on Bliss Road in Longmeadow, and the Friendly's inside the Holyoke Mall all shutting down.
In Berkshire County, the Friendly's location on Stockbridge Road in Great Barrington has also closed.
Longtime Friendly's customers like Lisa Galpert of Agawam were saddened to hear about the closing. "It was kind of expected, but I didn't think it would happen this quickly," said Galpert, outside the Longmeadow restaurant. "It's too bad. I grew up here and Friendly's was like a landmark, so it's too bad."
In addition to the local closings, several major Friendly's closings also took place just to our west, in New York State. The Times-Union of Albany is reporting that Friendly's closed five locations in the Capital region.
As was the case with the Springfield-area outlets, the Times-Union reports that Friendly's said the company was was unable to reach an acceptable lease restructuring agreement in those particular cases.
Our Connecticut sister station WTNH-TV reports that nine locations have closed in Connecticut. Most of those closings are in southern Connecticut, though the Friendly's on Main Street in Glastonbury and the Friendly's on Spencer Street in Manchester are among those that have closed.