Raleigh, N.C. — Hostess is not just another company that is closing – it's a part of the American experience.
Twinkies, Ding Dongs, Ho Hos and Snowballs have been around for decades and have made their way into pop culture, such as movies like "Ghostbusters" and "Zombieland."
With Hostess Brands Inc.'s announcement Friday that it plans to shutter all 36 of its plants and begin selling off its assets because of a strike by its bakers union, all of the company's more than 30 brands will now disappear from grocery store shelves, vending machines and lunchboxes.
Gabe Rame, owner of Gabe's Mart convenience store on Jones Franklin Road in Raleigh, said Friday it was hard to keep Twinkies and Hostess cupcakes on his shelves even before the company shut down.
"They're just so popular, especially to old people," Rame said.
"I have great-grandchildren. I can't imagine them growing up without Twinkies," Mildred Jenkins said.
Jenkins and other residents of the Magnolia Glen senior facility in north Raleigh say Twinkies remind them of their childhoods and when their children were young.
"It was the after-school snack, with a glass of milk," she said. "If you were working and weren’t there, to have the Twinkies on hand when they got home from school was so easy to have and easy to put on the grocery list."
They recalled when the individually wrapped creme-filled sponge cakes cost a nickel or dime and when eating them was a treat and not viewed as junk food.
"Nobody knew how many sugar or carbohydrates were in them. You just ate it and didn't think about it," Elsie Takacs said.
The women said, however, that they recognize that nothing lasts forever.
"You have to just do what you have to do, but I hate to see them go," Lois Walsh said.