photo courtesy of Bret Bartlett
For 18-year-old Braintree native Regina Alongi, the closing of the Wonder Hostess Bakery Outlet in Braintree means the end of an era.
“My grandfather, he used to go there all the time, and I’d always go with my mom too,” she said. “We used to go there and I’d just go around and pick out little things. Even since I was 5 years old. That thing has been there forever.”
Alongi is one of many dismayed fans to learn that the Hostess Brands Inc. shut down its operations this week, closing 33 bakeries, 565 distribution centers, and taking out 5,500 delivery routes and 570 bakery outlet stores throughout the United States.
“Everyone thinks it’s really weird. There’s been a ton of Facebook statuses,” Alongi said. “I’m at school at UMass Lowell, but a few friends went to the supermarket to buy some stuff. I told my mom to buy Twinkies cause they'll last like 15 years.”
At the small Braintree location, however, shelves were already stripped of Twinkies, Devil Dogs, and Ding Dongs by Monday afternoon, leaving only packages of hot dog buns and loaves of Wonder Bread.
Yet people continued to trickle in and out of the store, taking advantage of the numerous two-for-one deals and scooping up what little was left on the shelves.
An employee who answered the phone to the facility did not wish to be interviewed and wouldn’t give his name, but said that the entire scenario was sad.
“This is a sorry situation, we’re all out of a job,” he said.
All may not be lost, however. The AP reported Monday that Hostess Brands Inc. and its second largest union will go into mediation to try and resolve their differences, meaning the company won’t go out of business just yet.
If the closures occur, Massachusetts alone will lose 300 jobs – out of about 18,500 workers nationwide.
Company spokespeople did not return requests for comment, however according to a statement on the Hostess Brands website, the company’s Board of Directors authorized the company’s disassembly after one of the company’s largest unions, the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union (BCTGM), initiated a nationwide strike.
Hostess Brands closed three plants on Nov. 12 due to the strike, and allegedly warned employees to stop or it would have to liquidate.
On Nov. 15, the company announced their direction after, “an insufficient number of employees had returned to work to enable the restoration of normal operations,” the company said in a release.
“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 a release.
For more reaction on the company’s closing, visit here.