Sunday night, Haslett resident Debra Piper searched the picked-over snack aisle at the Grand River Avenue Meijer, where Hostess Brands products once lined the shelves.
But she was too late.
After Hostess Brands, which made products such as CupCakes, Sno Balls and the popular Twinkies, announced its bankruptcy Friday morning due to a baker strike, loyal snackers have been flocking to the shelves to stock up on their favorites while they still can.
“It’s hard to hear things like this go extinct,” Piper said. “I want to keep them for historical value.”
For many, in East Lansing and elsewhere, Hostess Brands created more than just cream-filled treats and late-night snacks for the 82 years they were in business.
“It’s kind of like mourning a loss,” Piper said. “Everyone has some kind of childhood memory of looking into their lunchbox and seeing a Twinkie.”
By winding down the company, Hostess Brands is shutting down 33 bakeries, roughly 5,500 delivery routes, and 570 bakery outlets in the United States, according to their company website. It also is laying off most of their approximately 18,500 employees.
Although some don’t know how to handle life after Hostess, English freshman Zoe Kremke said she won’t be affected by the snack cake shortage.
“I am thoroughly indifferent,” Kremke said. “My life will not be impacted … They’re not real food; they don’t expire — I’m not a fan.”
Although many grocery stores and customers are struggling to grip the loss of the company’s iconic cream-filled yellow sponge cakes, Goodrich’s Shop-Rite manager Chuck Breen said their store is taking the biggest hit in the bread aisle.
Butternut Bread, along with more than 8 other Hostess brands, will be sold off. Until someone new takes over, that means empty space for many grocery store shelves.
“As far as bread goes, I don’t know what’s going to happen there,” Breen said. “Butternut takes up (a) certain amount of footage in (the) store, we will have a big hole there … Other guys in the game are going to have to fill that space … All this right before Thanksgiving — the timing couldn’t be worse.”
Even if someone new takes over the company, Stockbridge resident Michelle Sprout said the product won’t be as good without the well-known brand name attached.
“I just don’t know if (anything) will be as good as Hostess,” Sprout said. “It just won’t be quite the same.”