There are three Hostess outlet stores in the metro (which Pitch editor Scott Wilson refers to as "used bread stores"), and at least two are still open for business.
The employees of the stores sounded like they had been prepared for a crush of media inquiries and were tight-lipped when I called. The woman who answered the phone at the Dolly Madison shop in Raytown said, "I have a few things" for sale. An employee at the Dolly Madison outlet on Blue Parkway in Kansas City said the store is open today, then briskly hung up. Meanwhile, the phone at the Wonder Bread/Hostess outpost on Shawnee Mission Parkway has been off the hook all morning.
In a statement announcing the companywide wind down, Hostess said, "Delivery of products will continue and Hostess Brands retail stores will remain open for several days in order to sell already-baked products."
The statement added, "The wind down means the closure of 33 bakeries, 565 distribution centers, approximately 5,500 delivery routes and 570 bakery outlet stores throughout the United States."
The store still had a pile of Hostess fruit pies that customers walked right past. It proves that, even in these dire times, nobody likes fruit pies.
A cashier at the Quick Trip on Lamar Ave. in Mission clued me into an unseen victim of Hostess vanishing. "My son has a peanut allergy and Hostess donuts are the only ones he gets to eat," she said.
Ron Bailey, the manager of Marsh's Sun Fresh Market on Southwest Trafficway, says he heard of the Hostess shutdown from a delivery driver.
"They just came in today, and our Wonder Bread man said, 'I won't be back. This is it,'" he says. "Once their product on their displays is gone, it's gone."
He adds that the Sun Fresh's private-label bread was also baked by Hostess, so they'll have to scramble to find a new bakery. And his store's bakery is working to make bread and sweets to fill holes on the shelf during Thanksgiving weekend.
Once people hear the news and get off work, Bailey expects Hostess products to move fast. "We'll probably be out by Sunday," he says.
Twinkies and Ho-Hos, Bailey says, remained popular with his customers. "We sold a lot of their products. Quite a bit," he says. "You can't replace the Twinkie."
Now he expects Little Debbie, Twinkie the Kid's longtime rival, to reign supreme in the lunchbox-treat market.
"Little Debbies really sell," he says. "We have a big endcap in the front of the store. They probably fill it three or four times a week. It's probably bigger than Twinkie was and Hostess."