Twinkies maker shuts down operations

by: Diana Davis Updated:

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COBB COUNTY, Ga. - Hostess, the maker of Twinkies, Ding Dongs and Wonder Bread, is closing.

The company announced Friday it’s shutting down nationwide operations for good. It’s blaming a strike by the baker’s union that protested a new contract. Channel 2’s Diana Davis went to the Hostess bakery outlet in Cobb County on Friday.

Long before gourmet cupcake shops, Ding Dongs, Hostess cupcakes, Twinkies were the “it" snack tucked away in kid's lunchboxes. Sue Weldon told Davis she raised her kids on Wonder Bread and Twinkies. 

“I can’t imagine if they go out of business not ever having another one,” she said.

Twinkies were introduced in 1930. They began with banana cream filling and later switched to vanilla cream during the World War II when bananas became unavailable.

Nationwide, 18,500 hostess employees will lose their jobs, including Pat Roach, who began work at the Hostess Austell outlet 23 years ago this week.

Roach lost her house in metro Atlanta’s devastating floods three years ago. She told Davis she found out she was out of job just before Davis arrived. 
                  
“Here it is, the holidays. It’s 18,000 people out of work; that’s a lot of people. I just feel so sorry for some of the employees that have children. I’m older and don’t have children to take care of,” Roach said.
Hostess filed a motion in bankruptcy court to liquidate Friday after striking workers crippled production.

Cobb County resident Leonard Roberts used to drive a Twinkie truck. He had little sympathy for the baker's union.

“Why those people went on strike, I can’t believe it.  I hope they don't find a job,” he said.
         
Roach added, “Some money and a job is better than none to me, but a lot of people don’t see it that way.”
 
As customers grabbed up snacks, Hostess' demise stoked powerful memories. For Dianne Jones, it’s how Wonder Bread and peanut butter stuck to the roof of her mouth.
She told Davis the proper way to eat a Twinkie is “very slowly, because I wanted it to last forever.”
 
Brenda Jackson ran inside after a panicked phone call from her son.

“He asked me had I seen the news, and I’m thinking about the Israeli conflict,” she said.  “And he said, 'They're closing the Twinkie place.’”
 
The store said it may get a couple more deliveries from its factories in Columbus and Birmingham, Ala., but that's it.
         
Hostess CEO Greg Ryburn said there is no buyer waiting in the wings to buy the company, and without giving details, he said there has been some interest in some of Hostess’ 30 brands.



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