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Twinkies Hit Virtual Shelves

Company's possible closure spawns selling frenzy online.

Twinkies, Ho Hos and Sno Balls may be hard to find in brick-and-mortar stores, but that doesn’t mean the tasty treats are all gone.

Several people have started offering them on sites like eBay and Craigslist in hopes of making a profit from the recent announcement that Hostess Brands, the maker of the snacks, said Friday it will close its 33 bakeries and 565 distribution centers across the U.S. in the face of an employee strike the company says is costing it too much money. Today, the company announced it will enter mediation with a key union to try and avert a permanent shutdown.

“We deeply regret the necessity of [Friday’s] decision [to close], but we do not have the financial resources to weather an extended nationwide strike,” says Gregory F. Rayburn, the company’s chief executive officer. “Hostess Brands will move promptly to lay off most of its 18,500-member workforce and focus on selling its assets to the highest bidders.”

Hostess Brands Inc. adds that baking has stopped in its plants. However, deliveries will continue to retail stores until the already-baked items have been distributed. Once that happens and the last items sell in physical stores, Twinkie lovers may turn online to satisfy their sweet tooth. That’s what online sellers are betting on, as many of these snacks have shown up online.

An eBay sugar rush

A search for Twinkies on Monday returned more than 21,000 active listings on eBay. Some were going for a little more than $2 for a two pack. Others were selling for a lot more. One listing for 10 boxes of Twinkies had 14 bids and was up to $101. Earlier in the day, five boxes of 10-individually packed Twinkies went for $81.99 with 22 bids. On Nov. 16, one listing for a pack of Twinkies and one pack of Cup Cakes sold for $10,000.

Listings for Sno Balls were going for $2.95 to more than $20.

Megan Bielich, a casual eBay seller and an illustrator for The Online Seller, listed three boxes of Twinkies, three boxes of Cup Cakes and three boxes of Ding Dongs on Friday, having recently heard of the company’s closure.

She scoured the city of Chico, CA, where she lives, in search of the last Hostess products. She wasn’t alone, she tells us. Several other residents were also on the prowl for Twinkies, Ho Hos and Cup Cakes.

“If it doesn’t pan out, I’ll have a Twinkie party,” she says.

Bielich isn’t a big Twinkie fan, herself. She hasn’t had a Twinkie since she was a kid. The draw to them is “more nostalgic than anything,” and the potential of making a profit, Bielich continues. She’s not sure if all her items will sell. Her listings were scheduled to end this afternoon, and two had bidders as of 3 p.m.

So how long will people have to eat the treats once they buy them? According to news reports, Twinkies have a shelf-life of 25 days.


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About the author

Olga Munoz
Olga Munoz is editor of TheOnlineSeller.com. In addition to writing news and feature articles about e-commerce, selling trends, online marketing and other topics of interest to online sellers, Olga manages the site's social media efforts. A journalism graduate of Chico State, Olga says her favorite part of being a journalist is learning interesting facts that help put stories into perspective, attending industry events and meeting interesting people "that leave you smiling, even in tough situations." Opinions expressed here may not be shared by The Online Seller and/or its principals.



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