BY REBECCA PALMER
BOUNTIFUL — A labor strike and a decision by Hostess management to cease operations last week hit close to home last weekend.
Beyond leaving about 600 Utah employees out of work, the company is closing all its stores, including one in Bountiful and one in Layton.
“Hostess Brands has closed all its bakeries and ceased operations,” a recorded message on the Ogden bakery’s phone line says. “If you are an employee, please do not come to work.”
By Tuesday morning, Cindy Lindsay of the Bountiful store on 1800 South and Orchard Drive was ringing up her final inventory of iconic sweets as well as breads, soups and spices.
“I’m done today,” she said. “I’ll be gone and out of here. I’m all cleaned out.”
Wonder bread, Ho Ho’s, Sno balls and Donettes could be relegated to the annals of junk food history, depending on the success of efforts to either sell the company as a whole or to sell some of its brands, such as the iconic Twinkie.
If bankruptcy court-ordered negotiations early this week are unsuccessful, the company will liquidate, according to a press release from its board of directors.
“I think it’s unfair,” said Ron Droge, of Bountiful, as he chose what could be his last loaves of whole wheat Wonder Bread. “Utah didn’t strike like they did back East, but they’re forced to close.”
By 8 a.m. on Friday, when Hostess made its announcement, Twinkies had been cleared from the Bountiful store and from grocery stores such as Wal-mart, customers said. All day, the small parking lot at the shop was packed with the cars of moms, retirees and other sentimental customers.
“I’ve never had business this good,” said Lindsay.
Many shoppers came for the inexpensive food, but others came to wish 34-year Hostess employee Lindsay farewell. She had managed the Bountiful store for two years.
“We made friends with Cindy,” said Travis Montgomery, of Bountiful. “She became our friend. She cares a lot about the people.”
On her last day, the way Lindsay spoke about her time at the store proved that statement to be correct.
“It’s been a great company to work for,” she said, then paused to control her trembling voice. “I loved Bountiful and I loved the people. It’s been a great experience, and Wonder Bread supported my family.”
Lindsay plans to spend time with her 15 grandchildren and to “make a new game plan.”