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LeRoy Rooks said he is not really one for frivolity when it comes to social networking, but Monday morning he joined legions across the nation lamenting the demise of an institution — Hostess Brands.
Rooks had this comment accompanying a photo on his Facebook page: “The Last 3 WONDER BREADS from Winn Dixie in Inverness, FL. Stephanie Rooks (his wife) stopped by to pick up some things this morning and the other bread company guys told Steph that’s it for this store. They also told her they have heard Twinkies were going for big $$$ on the street. Just had to share ...”
Rooks, the owner of Skoors Fresh Produce Market, said “It’s like, Wow. Looks like an end of an era. We don’t really eat white bread and I don’t normally put stuff like that on Facebook, but this was different.”
Hostess Brands Inc., the maker of Twinkies snack cakes and loaves of Wonder Bread, filed for bankruptcy in late October and last Friday asked a court for permission to go out of business after failing to reach a deal with its employee union over wages and benefits. A strike by union workers, who are about 30 percent of Hostess’s employees, began Nov. 9.
Since the announcement, there has been a run on Hostess products both nationally and locally by a public seeking to continue its love affair with the sweet snacks.
Twinkies have especially gone missing. Chronicle calls to several local businesses suggest something similar to just about zero Twinkies in the county. According to some reports, some auction sites like eBay were asking up to $100 for a box of 10 Twinkies.
Joe Fleck, manager at Sweetbay Supermarket in Inverness, said the Hostess rack in his store was nearly bare.
“We still have a few individual items, but the Twinkies are definitely gone,” Fleck said.
He said future supplies are not expected either. Fleck his store got its last supply of Hostess brands midweek last week.
According to The Associated Press, a judge has ordered the two sides into mediation. Talks are expected to begin today.
Should the talks fail, most of the Texas-based company’s 18,500 workers are expected to lose their jobs. There is also talk of companies stepping in to purchase all or parts of the company.
“I think it’s pretty unfortunate that all these people will be losing their jobs,” Fleck said.
Chronicle reporter A.B. Sidibe can be reached at 352-564-2925 or firstname.lastname@example.org.