Curtis Livingston Blake
April 15, 1917
Jersey City, New Jersey, U.S.
|Died||May 24, 2019 (aged 102)|
Hobe Sound, Florida, U.S.
|Occupation||Businessman and philanthropist|
|Known for||Co-founder of the Friendly Ice Cream Corporation|
Born in Jersey City, New Jersey to Herbert Prestley Blake and Ethel Stewart Blake, Curtis and his elder brother, Stewart Prestley Blake (known as "S. Prestley Blake"), jointly founded the Friendly Ice Cream Corporation (later known more commonly as "Friendly's"), in 1935 (during the Great Depression) in their native Massachusetts. By the 1970s, the brothers began to fight over the direction of the business. The company was sold to Hershey Foods in 1979 for $164 million.
Under Hershey Foods, Friendly's grew to more than 800 eateries, the highest number in its history. But the chain began to flounder because of high labor costs and intense competition. Donald Smith, a veteran restaurant executive, bought Friendly's for $375 million in 1988. Most analysts believed he paid far too much for the struggling firm, strapping the company a huge debt.
A former patron and benefactor of the Springfield, Massachusetts-based American International College, Blake asked that his name be removed from the school's campus following the decision by the AIC to close the off-campus Curtis Blake Day School in June 2015 for 37 students with language-learning disabilities, reportedly due to declining enrollment. The Children's Study Home Students, also of Springfield, stepped in to provide for the children, who would otherwise have been displaced.
- "Friendly's and its founders are aging well". The Boston Globe. 28 August 2014.
- Jones, Tim (14 April 2017). "Co-Founder of Friendly's Ice Cream Celebrating 100th Birthday". NBC Boston. Retrieved 30 April 2017.
- Jones, Tim (14 April 2017). "Co-Founder of Friendly's Ice Cream Celebrating 100th Birthday". NECN. Retrieved 30 April 2017.
- Sy Becker (13 April 2017). "Friendly's co-founder Curtis Blake's 100th birthday celebrated". WWLP. Retrieved 30 April 2017.
- Kinney, Jim (April 2017). "Friendly's co-founder Curtis Blake celebrates 100th birthday". Masslive. Retrieved 30 April 2017.
- "Curtis Blake, Friendly’s Ice Cream co-founder, dead at 102", Dave Canton, Masslive, 27 May 2019. Accessed 14 September 2019. "Born April 15, 1917 in Jersey City, New Jersey to Herbert Prestley and Ethel Stewart Blake, Curtis Blake was a member of the 11th generation of the Deacon Samuel Chapin lineage, co-founder of the city of Springfield."
- "Friendly's co-founder S. Prestley Blake nears 100th birthday; Springfield to celebrate". Masslive. October 2010.
- "Friendly's and its founders are aging well". The Boston Globe. 28 August 2014. Retrieved 21 September 2018.
- Obituary of Curtis Blake, Boston.com, 26 May 2019.
- "Friendly's co-founder Curtis Blake has AIC remove his name from campus building". Masslive. October 2015. Retrieved 21 September 2018.
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