By Teresa Ristow
Grocers across the Rogue Valley said that customers over the weekend quickly bought up their supplies of Hostess snack cakes, following the company's announcement Friday that it is going out of business.
Hostess Brands Inc., the maker of snack cakes such as Twinkies, Ding Dongs and Ho Hos, as well as Wonderbread, announced its intention to sell off its assets and go out of business Friday morning.
Local grocers such as Food 4 Less on Biddle Road in Medford and Ray's Food Place on Pine Street in Central Point said Sunday that their supplies of Twinkies and other Hostess products were long gone.
"I sold the last two boxes myself," said Ray's Food Place employee Ken Dowse.
Dowse said the store ran out of Twinkies by Friday night, and the rest of Hostess products were gone by the end of the weekend.
"People said they couldn't believe Hostess was going out of business," said Dowse.
Dowse said one customer mentioned trying to sell the Twinkies online to turn a profit.
Thousands of listings on eBay Sunday night listed a box of 10 Twinkies, normally sold in stores for about $5, for sale at prices from $1 to $1 million, with most sellers valuing the boxes at about $20 or leaving them up to auction.
"I talked to a woman who said she was selling them on eBay," said Lori Davis, a lobby supervisor at Albertsons on North Phoenix Road in Medford. "She had heard on eBay that a box went for $40 or something," said Davis.
An eBay seller in Medford auctioning off a 24-pack of Twinkies listed the product with an opening bid of $0.99 on Friday.
By Sunday night, three bidders had driven the price up to $20.50, with more than 24 hours before the auction was set to end.
"I knew this would be a quick, easy 20 or 30 dollars," said Cheryl Freed, a Grants Pass woman selling two boxes of 10 Twinkies on eBay.
Freed said she went to Safeway in Grants Pass on Friday to buy the Twinkies but the store was already out. She heard another shipment would be coming in Saturday morning, so she returned to the store and bought a few boxes then.
Freed auctioned two boxes together on eBay in a one day auction, selling 20 twinkies for $36 Sunday night.
Another seller from Grants Pass said he had sold seven boxes on eBay as of Sunday, for about $25 a piece.
Grocery Outlet on Stewart Avenue in Medford had sold out of all their Hostess products over the weekend, manager Judy Detrick said.
Detrick said she's fielded a half-dozen calls over the weekend from people looking for Twinkies.
Dowse said he was unsure if the company going out of business meant that his store wouldn't get another shipment of Hostess products before the company completely closes its doors.
Because Hostess plans to sell its brands, another company could purchase Twinkie and start manufacturing the product again in the future.
Company leaders today will be in a New York bankruptcy court to begin the process of liquidating the company.
Reach reporter Teresa Ristow at 541-776-4459 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
This story originally appeared in Medford Mail Tribune.