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Bargains, nostalgia mix with closure of Hostess store

Monday, November 19, 2012 | 2:55 p.m. CST; updated 6:24 p.m. CST, Monday, November 19, 2012
Suzanne Grosse picks up loaves of bread for post-Thanksgiving dinner turkey sandwiches at the Wonder/Hostess Bakery Outlet on Business Loop 70 West on Monday. The store was set to close Monday and offered its remaining inventory at reduced prices.

COLUMBIA — A steady stream of customers filed into the local Wonder Hostess store on Monday morning in search of bargains and a taste of nostalgia.

Shelves were nearly empty from a weekend rush at the retail outlet after Hostess Brands Inc. announced last week it was halting factory operations and going out of business.

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Manager Wanda Lynn said the store at 601 Business Loop 70 W., along with other Hostess outlets around the country, was marking its last day.

"This is it," she said on Monday morning. "After 5 p.m. today, it's all over."

Almost 20 workers in Columbia, including drivers and the two employees at the store, will be affected by the closure, Lynn said.

On the last day, what was left of the bread was 75 cents a loaf; everything else was half off. 

"The drivers stopped coming on Friday," Lynn said. "This is all we've got."

Clerk Carolyn Ivicsics said the store planned to donate any food not sold by the end of the day to the Food Bank for Central and Northeast Missouri.

Even though the store ran out of boxes of Twinkies last week before the bankruptcy announcement and only had six single packages on Friday, inquiries about the iconic product kept the store's phone ringing.

"That's all they call about," Ivicsics said.

Lynn's husband, Rob Lynn, said he came in to help over the weekend and found himself working crowd control.

"People were pushing each other out of the way on Saturday trying to find Twinkies," Rob Lynn said. "People were even trying to steal stuff. I ended up being the store's security."

Virginia Cole, who was in Columbia from out of town, described the closure on Monday as the "end of an era."

Wanda Lynn, who worked at both the new and old locations for nearly 20 years, said she believes the business has been in Columbia for far longer.

"It's sad there is no more Wonder Bread," she said. "I was raised on this stuff."

 


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