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S. Prestley Blake, Mount Hermon class of 1934, and co-founder (with his brother Curtis Blake) of Friendly's ice cream has donated copies of his book, A Friendly Life (Brigantine Media), to every student at NMH.  The books were handed out at registration on Friday, August 26 and Tuesday, August 30.

The book’s opening scene shows Blake standing up in a 2001 shareholder’s meeting and demanding accountability from the company’s CEO for letting Friendly’s debt rise while stock prices and employee morale plummeted. “I guess you can see I’m stubborn,” Blake admits later in the book. He describes how the business started in 1935 during the Depression: Blake and his brother, Curtis, received backing from their parents, bought their first chairs for $8 from a second-hand store, and kept their records on the pieces of cardboard from laundered men’s shirts. Blake doesn’t hide his early mistakes, such as letting ice cream drips fall on the countertop but rather uses them to demonstrate how he and Curtis honed a business model for what would become a restaurant operation with more than 500 locations.

Among his other school-related philanthropy, Blake previously donated ice cream equipment to the NMH farm.

 

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