Great Falls

Nov 20, 2012 12:44 AM by Tara Grimes (tara@krtv.com)

Hostess stores in Great Falls go dark

Hostess Brands may have a second chance after all, with a bankruptcy judge ordering the company to attempt mediation with union workers.

It could result in the company making a comeback, but for now, Hostess outlets are empty, including the two in Great Falls.

The empty stores caught many people by surprise, including Michael Hughes, who has been a customer of the 9th Street South location for 20 years.

Hughes said, "There were times when this parking lot was filled up, so it was a good place to shop. and the people here were always friendly and helpful."

The 9th Street and the Northwest Bypass stores are two of 570 Hostess bakery outlets in the nation who may never see their shelves stocked again.

The outlets provided low-cost options to customers and accepted food stamps.

Hughes noted, "There are a lot of people that come here just to stretch their monthly food budget a little farther, so it is an effect."

Grocery stores in Great Falls are also feeling impact.

Pat McGuffin, the store director of Albertsons on 10 Avenue South, observed, "Used to be you could sell pallets full of it, but as eating habits have changed, people don't want to put that in a lunch box anymore and their share of the market has really shrunk."

McGuffin says within minutes of the Hostess news spreading on Friday, customers rushed into the store to clean out the Hostess brand products.

But while McGuffin says they will just replace the shelves with other bread brands, other stores like the Hostess outlet will be closed indefinitely.

Hughes recalled, "When I was a child I always had a Hostess fruit pie or a Twinkie in my lunch to take to school. It was always there...I feel bad because I believe it's another American icon company thats gone."

If mediation doesn't work, there's a strong chance that Twinkies and Wonder bread will still survive; with $2.5 billions dollars in annual revenue, plenty of other companies have their eye on Hostess' assets.

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