Starbucks plans Mohawk Trail shop in Greenfield, Friendly’s to close

Friendly’s restaurant on the Mohawk Trail at the rotary in Greenfield.

Friendly’s restaurant on the Mohawk Trail at the rotary in Greenfield. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

Friendly’s restaurant on the Mohawk Trail at the rotary in Greenfield.

Friendly’s restaurant on the Mohawk Trail at the rotary in Greenfield. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

Friendly’s restaurant on the Mohawk Trail at the rotary in Greenfield.

Friendly’s restaurant on the Mohawk Trail at the rotary in Greenfield. STAFF PHOTO/PAUL FRANZ

A rendering of the proposed Starbucks store contained in the company’s site plan review application for 200 Mohawk Trail.

A rendering of the proposed Starbucks store contained in the company’s site plan review application for 200 Mohawk Trail. KIMLEY-HORN AND ASSOCIATES

By CHRIS LARABEE

Staff Writer

Published: 02-27-2024 1:29 PM

Modified: 02-28-2024 12:37 PM


GREENFIELD — With an application coming before the Planning Board next week, Starbucks is brewing up its first Franklin County location.

The national coffeehouse chain will come before the Planning Board on March 7 in pursuit of site plan approval to operate in the existing Friendly’s restaurant, located at 200 Mohawk Trail near the Interstate-91 rotary. Friendly’s, which opened its rotary location in 1982, is expected to close in September of this year, according to a company spokesperson.

“We are deeply grateful for the unwavering support from the Greenfield community over the past 42 years. Our loyal customers have been the cornerstone of our success, and for this, we extend our heartfelt gratitude,” the statement reads. “After careful consideration and market evaluations, we have reached the difficult decision to conclude operations at our Greenfield, MA, location in Sept. 2024. Until then, we remain committed to providing joyful dining experiences to all our guests.”

The site plan review will be held in hybrid fashion in the meeting room on the second floor of City Hall, 14 Court Square, at 6 p.m. A Zoom link and agenda can be found on the city’s website.

“Starbucks is proposing to take over the existing Friendly’s building and renovate it for their use,” the site plan review application reads. “The site changes include changing the drive-thru location to accommodate a 14+ car stack with a bypass lane. The proposed improvements will also include landscaping around the site.”

If approved, the location will be Starbucks’ first location in Franklin County. Currently, the closest Starbucks locations are at least 30 minutes away from Greenfield, with one located in Athol, two in Hadley and two in Keene, New Hampshire.

While the Friendly’s already has a drive-thru, Starbucks is planning to remove curbs and pavement around the southern boundary of the parking lot to expand the drive-thru lane. The lot entrance nearest to Route 2 will remain full access, while the southern entry is planned to be exit-only.

Other site changes include numerous plantings around the property and repainting of the building. The building’s existing drive-thru entrance, where customers can walk up and order ice cream, is proposed to be renovated into a small outdoor seating area.

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The end of Friendly’s at the rotary marks a continued nationwide trend of Friendly’s restaurants closing down, with hundreds of locations shut down in the last decade-plus, according to WCVB and WBZ. In western Massachusetts, there will be only nine locations left, with several around the Springfield area, one in Northampton, one in Amherst and one in Pittsfield, according to the restaurant’s website.

Starbucks will operate as a tenant in the space, which is owned by Orion Pro Friend KP LLC in Miami, Florida. Last year, a 62-year-old Friendly’s, owned by Orion Pro Friend ML LLC and registered to the same Miami address, closed on North Main in Palmer.

The chain began as “Friendly” in Springfield in 1935, when brothers Prestley and Curtis Blake opened up their first store. Five years later, the brothers opened up their second location in West Springfield, which also featured food other than ice cream for the first time. By 1974, the company had more than 500 restaurants round the Mid-Atlantic and northeastern U.S., according to its website.

“While we will say goodbye to Greenfield for now, we hope for a future return. Our vision includes expanding to new locations nationwide, driven by the continued support of cherished guests like you,” Friendly’s statement reads. “Your ongoing support fuels our passion for crafting memorable family-fun experiences. Thank you for being an integral part of our journey.”

Chris Larabee can be reached at clarabee@recorder.com or 413-930-4081.