TAMPA - Empty spaces already dot shelves at the Wonder bakery outlet in Tampa, as customers stock up on Hostess snacks like the beloved Twinkie.
"This is my last box of Hostess Twinkies," said William Effington.
Effington bought several boxes, and plans to give the majority of the treats to his kids. He admits, though, that the announcement of Hostess' bankruptcy is like saying "goodbye" to his childhood.
"My first Hostess cupcake, I was 6-years-old," he said. "I think they were bigger then."
Effington's sentiments are common in light of word that Twinkies, Zingers, Cupcakes, and other Hostess treats may soon disappear forever.
Hostess claims it can no longer afford production after a recent union strike. The will shut down production immediately and close 570 stores nationwide. About 18,500 employees will lose their jobs.
Customers of the Harney Road store were even more sickened to hear their local outlet store will close in about a week.
"We're going to protest this thing," Paul Johnson shouted to other customers inside the store Friday. "You all let me know when you want to get out and protest it."
One woman bought boxes of Twinkies to sell on EBay.
"It's been a long time family friend," said Michael Symes.
Symes is heartbroken about the news that his favorite, and somewhat iconic, ingredient combination faces extinction, even if he's never read the nutrition label.
"Sugar, corn syrup, glucose, sodium acid, calcium sulfate, beef fat," he said. "It doesn't sound too healthy."
Still, he plans to stock up like other customers did Friday, and enjoy his last few desserts.
"Of course. It tastes good," he said.
Hostess treats may not disappear altogether if the company can find a buyer for its 30 brands.
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