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Friendly’s Demolition Is A Reminder Change Is The Only Constant

The demolition of the old Friendly’s Restaurant in Brooklyn Square began in earnest last week.

It was a shocking sight even though everyone has known for months that it was coming. Burst water pipes and the ensuing damage in the building made demolition a foregone conclusion even before the property was purchased to be the site of a new, expanded Tim Horton’s.

But knowing something is going to happen is often different than seeing something happen. That was the case last week as heavy equipment began tearing the old restaurant down. In the seeming blink of an eye, a familiar part of many people’s lives was gone. The building was a throwback to the 1960s – which was longer ago than any of us care to remember – while the restaurant was a throwback to a dining experience that has gradually faded away.

Such is the way of progress.

But the demolition work last week downtown should also be a reminder to support local businesses while they’re here rather than just reminiscing about the good memories when they’re gone. Yes, Friendly’s was a chain. But it was a chain that employed people we knew. And for decades it was a familiar part of our city’s fabric. There are hundreds of retail shops and restaurants in our general area that are all competing for our time and our dollars. They all employ friends and neighbors, who in turn support our businesses or our families’ activities in the form of sponsorship donations for youth sports leagues, events and countless other endeavors that benefit the community. But in time even the most familiar of businesses will eventually fade to be replaced with something new.

Brooklyn Square is going to look a bit different by the end of the summer with two new buildings on either side of South Main Street. As time moves on, the new Tim Horton’s and a new Northwest Bank branch won’t be the only changes we see downtown. There are a lot of vacant spaces looking for new life. When it comes to developing downtown, change is the only thing you can really count on.

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