Catonsville Friendly's franchise closes its doors

The Catonsville franchise of Friendly’s, a restaurant chain known for its ice cream, painted over its signs and closed its doors last month after nearly 20 years.

Lawrence Meiser, property manager for Booth Properties, which owns the Frederick Road building, said the company is still interviewing businesses to rent the space.

Meiser said the Friendly’s franchise owner, a Virginia man whose name Meiser did not know, closed Friendly’s without warning the building owners — “like the Baltimore Colts leaving Baltimore,” he said, referencing the football team now based in Indianapolis.

In a statement, Friendly’s said Signature Restaurants, the company that owned the Frederick Road location, closed on Sept. 24.

“We’ve been waiting for that for years,” said Brian Higgins, general manager of Bill’s Music, the shop directly across the street.

Higgins said he saw workers begin painting over the “Friendly’s” signs on Oct. 24.

Meiser said his company received the keys to the building last week.

“His indication to me was it wasn’t doing real well,” Meiser said.

Booth Properties has heard eight proposals for the space so far, Meiser said, adding that the company will keep interviewing businesses until they find the right fit.

Depending on what the new renters want to do to the space, Meiser said it could take at least three months to renovate it and open after a new renter is chosen.

He said they have interviewed proposals for franchises and independent businesses, as well as both restaurant and non-restaurant proposals. More than half of those interviewed, Meiser said, live in the area.

“We’re gonna pick somebody who is going to enhance Catonsville,” Meiser said.

Jamie Reese, Higgins’ sister who also works at Bill’s Music, said she is hoping for another restaurant “with good food and decent service.”

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