Joe Friend (Lester Friend's son) took over "Yankee Shop" from Lester about 1950 and operated it as "Friends Steam Models" in the 1950s and 60s until 1972, at which time poor health was beginning to take its toll on Joe.
In 1972, Joe sold the business to a new owner (not a member of the Friend Family) who operated it as "Friends Models" in Groveland MA (and later Georgetown MA) throughout the 1970s. Friends Models ads can be seen in back-issues of Live Steam Magazine of the era.
From the beginning, Friends Models was chronically.....in fact mortally......short on cash. Friends Models never sold enough castings to stay in business. Worse, despite having his castings priced at "break even" pricing levels, the owner still received endless complaints about "high prices" from the hobbysists of the era. (One time, he even priced castings at LESS than his foundry costs, just to see the reaction. He still received complaints about price!)
The lack of sales, and earning zero profit on what sales didcome in, required that the owner "run the business from his savings account". You don't need to be an accountant to figure out what happened next. There was no hope of ever "getting back" all the money he had paid to Joe Friend to buy the company, let alone having the venture "pay its own way".
Only the owner's love for the Yankee Shop, the Hobby, and the trains (and his hope that "he would sell something tomorrow", or that "business would get better next year"), is what made the business last as long as it did.
But throughout the 1970s, "tomorrow" came and went, as did "next year". It never got better. So by 1979-1980, it was over. Friends Models ceased operations and canceled its advertising about 1979. The designs of the "Yankee Shop", of Lester Friend and Laverne Langworthy, were off the market for the 1st time since 1938.
Fortunately, the owner's love for the Yankee Shop product line, cited above, is what saved it. The entireproduct line was kept intact and was preserved, in a barn, from 1979 to 2007, despite the owner's bitter loss of thousands of dollars on the venture. The product line could have been sold off piecemeal, or, disposed of entirely. (He received many requests for the former; and some men would have been very tempted to do the latter).
In 1987 (age 15) I became aware of the existence of "Yankee Shop" and "Friends Models", and in 1990 I sought the owner, in order to ask for parts assistance with my Friends Models "Boston and Albany" tanker. During my first conversation with him, over the phone around 1990 (we had not yet met in person), I asked him to sell Friends Models to me. I was about 18 at the time. He advised me against it, and told me what a financial disaster it would be.
I soon thereafter visited him in person. Still around 1990. He supplied the repair parts I needed, and a blueprint....and he became a dear friend and mentor from that point forward.
Many years passed, and in 2007, I purchased from my friend the patterns, castings inventory, master vellums for blueprints, and the design rights to the old "Yankee Shop" and "Friends Models" line, for the sole purpose of carrying the business on for him; preserving and protecting the patterns and drawings; having parts cast "the old fashioned way" at local sand foundries; and, putting these classic live steam designs back on the market again permanently.
The prior owner remains, to this day, a friend, mentor, consultant, and, with his dry wit and phenomenal sense of humor.....a sometime-practical-joker against me.
Joe Friend, who had not been involved with "Friends Models" since 1972, passed away in 1989.
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In the newspaper clipping seen above, the Yankee Shop/Friends Models 3/4" scale 4-6-6-4 Challenger is shown at the New England Live Steamers track at Danvers, Massachusetts. In the lower part of the clipping, Joe Friend, owner of Friends Steam Models until 1972, is shown at the Danvers track.