A cornerstone of America is shutting down.
The stunning announcement from Hostess that it is shutting down and liquidating all its factories is sending shock waves through communities, its workers, and their families on the eve of the holiday season.
It's the result of a bankruptcy and labor dispute, where the company threatened to close if workers would not accept pay cuts and other concessions. The workers stood firm, saying they have already accepted cuts in pay and benefits.
So the company Friday morning said it has no choice but to close, laying off more than 18,000 employees.
What happens to Twinkies?
But for millions of Americans who grew up on Wonder Bread and Twinkies, there is a bigger issue: what will happen to the snack foods of their childhood?
Twitter lit up immediately following the announcement, with some tweeting:
"Now I'm mad I ate that last Twinkie!"
"No more Twinkies, no more Ho Ho's, no more reason to live!"
Grocery stores are getting calls from consumers asking if the still have Twinkies on their shelves. If they do, they may not by the end of the weekend.
Americans have grown up on Twinkies, Ho Ho's, Hostess Fruit Pie, and those Hostess cupcakes with the white swirl across the chocolate frosting. Who can forget mom setting them out on the table, with a glass of milk, after a long day at school?
If you live on the East Coast, you probably grew up on their Drakes brands, such as Devil Dogs, Yodels, and Ring Dings.
Hostess also makes Dolly Madison snack cakes, and Wonder Bread. Remember how popular Wonder bread used to be? All will be impacted by the closing.
But its market has been shrinking for years, as shoppers turned away from sugary snack foods. Sales have dropped year after year, until the company was forced to file for Bankruptcy.
Brands May Survive
But ye who live on Twinkies, do not despair.
CNN/Money reports that some of the iconic Hostess brands, such as Twinkies and Devil Dogs, will survive, because other companies will buy the "intellectual rights" to those brands at liquidation.
It's possible we could see Twinkies back on the shelves within a matter of months once another bakery buys the brand. This is what happened to Drake's cakes a few years ago when Hostess became its rescuer.
But until then, expect to see fans hoarding the remaining stock as the formerly-ignored Twinkie suddenly becomes the most in-demand food item this holiday season.
Baby boomers will no doubt take a break from their diets to snap up the remaining boxes of the snack that embodied their youth.
As always, don't waste your money.
Don't Waste Your Money is a registered trademark of the EW Scripps Co.
"Like" John Matarese on Facebook
Follow John on Twitter