Hostess bakery draws large crowds as the company goes out of business

Posted at 10:32 PM, Nov 17, 2012
and last updated 2012-11-18 13:23:06-05

HENRICO COUNTY, Va. (WTVR) - For 82 years, Hostess has been a household name.  Now its multi-million dollar snack food business is at the end of its shelf life.

On Saturday, customers streamed into the Wonder Hostess Bakery Outlet off of Staples Mill Road in Henrico after hearing about the company's demise.

"It's like a preview to Black Friday," Willenette Johnson said.  "It has that Black Friday feeling," she added while waiting in line.  "We're having a ball."

"There was a mad rush for the products as the gentleman was bringing them out," Christopher Clark said.  "I think we got everything, except for the Suzy Ques."

Over the years, the company has struggled with management problems, rising labor costs and customers switching to more healthier foods.

Hostess Brands Inc., recently filed for bankruptcy twice after a nationwide strike crippled its production.  The company is closing plants, which will lay off 18,500 workers as a result.  They also plan putting their brands up for sale.

"I hate it because people are losing their jobs," Naomi Harris said.  "That's really sad because this company has been in business a long, long time," she added.  "I really hate to see them go out."

Customers told us that they grew up with Hostess products like Twinkies, Ding Dong's and Ho Ho's.  We found that it's not just the goodies in the store, but the employees who have been serving customers for decades."

Jackie New teared up when she heard the company was going out of business.

"It's breaking my heart," New said.  "I've always been a Wonder Bread person," she added, "and I've always served the customers good."

New retired after 35 years working for Hostess.

"I actually stopped by to say goodbye and see it one last time," New said.  "I could see they needed me."

New saw the crowd of people in the store and decided to volunteer.

"There was nothing I liked better to do than to stock the store and talk to customers," the former employee said.  "It was like family here."

For others, it was just another taste of a fond memory.

"Nostalgia... yeah," Arylne Clark said.  "I think it's nostalgia more than anything."