By Bill Kirk
---- — LAWRENCE — Hostess Brands says it is going out of business, closing plants that make Twinkies and Wonder Bread and laying off all of its 18,500 workers, including 23 in Methuen.
The Irving, Texas, company says a nationwide worker strike crippled its ability to make and deliver its products at several locations.
Hostess had warned employees that it would file a motion in U.S. Bankruptcy Court to unwind its business and sell assets if plant operations didn't return to normal levels by Thursday evening.
The privately held company filed for Chapter 11 protection in January, its second trip through bankruptcy court in less than a decade.
Workers at the Lawrence facility, located at 647 Andover St., said they were told this morning by their manager that the facility would be closed and everyone laid off. The front of building is an outlet store selling all of the company's products, including Twinkies and Wonder bread, among other baked goods. The back part of the facility is a warehouse where product is shipped by delivery trucks to supermarkets and grocery stores throughout the region.
Joe Medeiros, 52, of Peabody, who has worked at the plant as a driver for nearly 18 years said he was told Friday morning about the closure.
"My boss called me a little while ago and said they are closing us down," Medeiros said this morning.
Out front, shoppers were pouring into the store after hearing on the radio or reading online that Hostess would be going out of business and discontinuing its popular brands of baked goods.
In addition to Hostess, Twinkie and Wonder bread brands, the company also owns the Nissen and Drakes brands of cupcakes and other products.
"I'm going to miss them," said Christina Turcotte, 40, of Methuen, as she left the outlet shop around 9:30 this morning with bags full of Hostess products. "It's all going into the freezer."
She bought 3 boxes of Twinkies along with cupcakes, coffee cakes and Devil Dogs.
"I grew up with these," she said. "So I'm stocking up."
More on this story in tomorrow's editions of The Eagle-Tribune.
Material from Associated Press were used in this story.