Hawaii residents hunt for Twinkies after news of Hostess shut down

Hawaii residents hunt for Twinkies after news of Hostess shut down
Published: Nov. 16, 2012 at 10:36 PM HST|Updated: Nov. 16, 2012 at 10:44 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Contrary to popular belief Twinkies do have a limited shelf life.

Hostess Brands announced it is closing down all its bakeries and factories.  The company was already in bankruptcy for the second time since 2004.  Then its employees went on strike.  Now the company that's been baking family favorites for more than a century is closing down.

"I just remember growing up and having my mom put those in my snack pack and for me it reminds me of my childhood and it reminds me as cheesy as it sounds, of America so I'm just trying to find one last one I can have before they are all gone," said Christal Cuadra, from Moiliili.

"We're trying to find one of those coveted snack cakes that everyone has loved for an American tradition," said Peter Keegan.

Peter Keegan and Christal Cuadra are on a Twinkie hunt.  The Foodland on Dillingham Boulevard was the third store they visited and all were out of Twinkies.

"Unfortunately this appears to be a sign of the times too so go out and find Twinkies is the key," said Keegan.

Hostess Brands was already in bankruptcy for the second time since 2004.  The company blames an employee strike as the last straw before closure.

"We are sorry to announce that Hostess Brands, Inc. has been forced by a Bakers Union strike to shut down all operations and sell all company assets," wrote the company statement announcing the closure.

"We deeply regret the necessity of today's decision, but we do not have the financial resources to weather an extended nationwide strike," said Gregory F. Rayburn, chief executive officer, in the written statement. "Hostess Brands will move promptly to lay off most of its 18,500-member workforce and focus on selling its assets to the highest bidders."

Hostess Brand products are not made in Hawaii but we did speak with the Hawaii Foodservice Alliance which distributes the food locally.  It says it will not have any impact on jobs here in Hawaii.  They will distribute remaining supply which will all be gone within a couple weeks.

There's also nostalgia for Wonder Bread.  The bread with balloon packaging was also made by Hostess and will be going away too.

"Peanut butter and jelly sandwiches are not the same if they aren't made on white wonder bread it's the softest bread I've ever eaten and I like mine without the crust and it would be sad to not have my peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and not to be able to have that for my kids," said Cuadra.

Ho Ho's, Ding Dong's and Sno Balls are a few of the other famous products that will be discontinued.

"Snowballs I forgot about snowballs," said Lara Harbison, mother and Salt Lake resident.  "It's very sad. I grew up with the brand and now my children are not going to be able to know it. Its part of a little treat you'd have after school or whatever and now it's going to be gone. It's really sad."

"It will be sad Ho Ho's and Ding Dong's will have a whole other connotation that will be something you call an idiot. It won't be associated so much with a wonderful snack in your lunch," laughed Cuadra.

Plenty of people are stocking up.  We found plenty of people posting pictures on Facebook hoarding Hostess products.  Kevin Olson on Maui cleaned out a couple stores at 3:30 in the morning when he first heard the news.

"I didn't buy them to eat them I bought them to sell them. I'll probably put a few in the closet and pull them out in 10 years and see what I get for them then too," said Kevin Olson.

We already found thousands of people who are selling Twinkies on eBay.  One had an asking price of $2,500,000.  Perhaps they're charging by calorie.

Over at Byron's Drive In near the Honolulu International Airport they've been selling deep fried Twinkies for years but will have to take it off the menu as soon as the supply is gone.

As for the couple on the hunt for Twinkies, Cuadra and Keegan triumphantly sent photos of them hitting Twinkie gold in Kalihi.

Fortunately there's been plenty of research to show Twinkies do last a really long time.  The beloved snack has forever preserved a spot in American food history.

To read the statement from Hostess Brands regarding the closure click here.

Copyright 2012 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.