Tuesday, December 4, 2012

The great Dictator is dead!

I know we loved them, they were a a great boon to our metro area, both in an economic and community spirit.  Thousands of jobs, great opportunities and great money to be made.  The St. Louis area was a better place while they were here.  I remembered going as a teenager, to the local thrift shop and buying whole cartons of cupcakes for pennies on the dollar.  I remembered seeing fruit filled pies going for a dollar or two at the local shops and in here, this wonderful heaven of a thrift shop, finding those same products for 50 cents each.  I was in heaven.  I was a teenager with a metabolism which could down anything and cause me to not gain an ounce.  They were my addiction.

Now, decades apart and a time when that Great Leader has died, it's mark and legacy are comparable to those left of an evil tyrant.  For when a tyrant leaves, all traces and signs of that person or erased, from both written and oral view as to hope everyone can move on easier.  That is the same case, with Hostess.

Hostess was born, in a church basement, in Kansas City, in 1905.  The owner, Ralph Nafziger, made money and bought out other bakeries and kept moving upwards.  He sold the company, but kept controlling interest, which he used when he started his own company again and merged them both together.  In 1930 he made the Interstate Bakeries Corporation.  The company then continued to only get bigger and buy out competition, through the 40's, 50's, 60's, 70's and 80's.  In the 90's, it decided to concentrate on their Hostess line of cakes, like Twinkies, Ding Dongs, and Ho-Hos.

Now, one of the ideas that started the downfall, was a new set of enzymes, which would extend the shelf-life of the cakes and breads.  This new enzyme set, gave the products a different taste.  There is also the formation of the Atkins diet and Krispy Kreme, which helped pull people away from the Hostess line.  In 2009, the company was declaring bankruptcy and with a huge loss of their shares, they decided to go private and help close that loss.  As a private company after that, there were issues with the unions.  As no one wants to lose their job, but given the opportunity of losing their job or getting their hours cut back, the union fought against both.  Hostess did not have enough money to do either and without a union agreement, they closed down.

Within 2 days of the formal press release, all Hostess items were taken off of store shelves.  I felt betrayed, as it was as if the world did not want anyone to remember the good ol' days of the Hostess line.  I admit that they were evil, and filled with so many other chemicals and high fructose corn syrup and everything else, but every once in a great while, I would indulge myself.  Still, I feel sad, like the passing of a relative I saw or spoke to once a year, this is a passing that we will all remember and hold as a dark day.  You may love your fancy meals, or even your cheap beer, but everyone loved a Hostess.

Rest in Peace, Hostess.

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