September 2, 2014

Elyria
Cloudy
79°F
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Hostess going out of business, sparking a run on Twinkies

ELYRIA — After hearing the news that Hostess would be going out of business, Elyria resident Tiger Deskins searched local stores for his favorite products — Twinkies and Ho Hos.

Deskins stared frustrated at the shelves at Marc’s on Midway Boulevard, as if the Twinkies and Ho Hos that were missing from the shelves would reappear.

“It looks like there’s none here, so my next stop is Giant Eagle,” he said.

Deskins, like many others, was likely disappointed there as well.

By 6:30 p.m. Friday, Giant Eagle on Market Drive had no Ho Hos on its shelves. Only one lone Twinkie — the chocolate-filled kind — sat on the shelves among Hostess’ CupCakes, Donettes and CoffeeCakes. Those products were left behind at most Elyria stores.

After a weeklong labor strike, Hostess, the company that makes Twinkies, Ho Hos and other snacks, as well as Wonderbread, filed a motion in bankruptcy court to shut down its operations and sell off its brands.

The announcement came after the majority of the company’s employees did not return to work Thursday, and the company said it did not have the funds to weather an extended strike. As a result, approximately 18,500 employees will be fired, and the company will close all of its bakery and distribution centers, according to Hostess’ website.

News of the impending closure spurred a frenzy among Hostess customers as store shelves around the country were cleared of Hostess’ products.

On eBay, boxes of Twinkies were auctioned off, with one box selling for $60.

Employees at stores around Elyria said they noticed more Hostess sales. One customer purchased $75 worth of Hostess items. Another cleared out an entire shelf of Twinkies.

Eryan Barys and Zack Murray, of Elyria, said they were surprised to see empty shelves. There were Donettes at Apples on North Abbe Road, but although Barys likes Donettes, they just don’t compare to Ho Hos.

“This is the first place we’ve went to. We’re going to stop at Walmart and see if they have them,” she said.

D & M Mart on Lake Avenue reported no increase in Hostess sales, and the store still had its products Friday afternoon, but most stores, like Convenient Food Mart on Cleveland Street, were left barren.

At Hostess, bakery operations have been suspended at all plants. Delivery of products will continue, and Hostess Brands retail stores will remain open for several days to sell already-baked products, according to the company’s website.

Contact Chelsea Miller at 329-7123 or cmiller@chroniclet.com.