Fredericton — People can be seen lining up outside of grocery stores tonight for their last chance to buy a local fall favourite. Due to decreased sales and increased competition, the Friendly Razorblade Company has announced the end to their partnership with the Fredericton region apple orchards, and that this October would be the last for the Friendly Apple, their popular joint product.
Back in October of 1982, The Friendly Razorblade Company was working on an apple-skinning machine and reached out to Fredericton apple orchards to request donations for testing. As fate would have it, it had been a slow season for apple sales, and the orchards could not spare any extra that year. But, eager to gain publicity and work with the company, Mark Handel, of the Apple-A-Day orchard, proposed another venture.
“I had heard stories when I was a kid, and thought they were old wives tales,” said Handel, “but then I got to thinking, what if we could make it a reality?”
Handel put forward his idea for a joint project, and Friendly Razorblade president Gary Meade jumped on it immediately.
“He said ‘apples with razor blades in them,’ and something just clicked,” remembers Meade. “I had heard all those old stories, of course, but here was someone actually suggesting that we go out and do it. We had the plan. We had the resources. What reason did we have not to pursue it?”
The result, which came to be called “Friendly Apples,” were on the shelves within a year, and quickly became a best-seller.
“I think it’s the convenience,” explained Handel. “People could have their breakfast and a shave all at once.”
After three years of record profits, consistently peaking in October, the other local orchards were brought in to increase output as international interest grew.
“Here we had a product that Fredericton could really claim as its own,” said Handel. “A true Maritime original.”
Now, after 30 years, the Friendly Razorblade Company has decided to end its partnership with the Fredericton apple orchards, and discontinue the Friendly Apple product.
“You can blame it on the Walmarts, you can blame it on the Gillettes,” said Meade. “But I think that it’s us. We’re just a dying breed: a genuine, Canadian company.”
Some see the dissolving of their partnership as the end of an era.
“I think it’s a real loss to our city,” said Marcy Lee, a Friendly Apple customer. “I’ve given Friendly Apples out to trick-or-treaters for as long as I can remember.”
Friendly Apples can be found while supplies last in the produce sections of grocers in the greater Fredericton area until the end of November.