Ho Hos, history and humor. Sno Balls, shock and sadness. Twinkies that sold out by mid-morning. That was the scene Friday at the Hostess Bakery Outlet store in Roseland.
“You're kidding,” said Carolyn Kennedy of Santa Rosa, upon learning that Hostess Brands Inc., which defined pop culture cuisine with its indelibly indestructible snacks and soft white bread, was shutting down.
“Oh, my gosh,” said Kennedy, who has shopped for more than 15 years at the Sebastopol Road store. “Good grief. This is going to put a dent in my pocketbook.”
She was actually a rarity among the steady stream of shoppers arriving at the store Friday. Most had hurried in upon hearing that Hostess is going out of business.
“I came so I could get an abundance of stuff,” said Michelle Clark of Petaluma, pushing a full cart of Sno Balls, CupCakes and Wonderbread to her car.
“I'll really miss my Twinkies,” shouted her son, Skyler Benson, age 11.
“He was trying to stock up,” Clark said. “He said, ‘This isn't enough to last the rest of our lives.'”
Employees in the store moved fast, piling shelves with goods drawn from warehouse stocks.
“We're not happy about this,” said an employee who didn't want to be identified.
Dan Camacho, who owns a nearby sheet metal business, came by with two of his employees “to get a little bit of history,” he said, “some Zingers, cherry pies, apple pies.”
He said he was saddened by the news of another business closing. Plus, he said, “How are you going to explain the Twinkie defense” to future generations, a reference to the 1979 murder trial of Dan White, a former San Francisco supervisor who shot Supervisor Harvey Milk dead in 1978.
A reporter covering the trial used the term “Twinkie defense” as shorthand for the legal argument offered by White's attorney, who argued his client was suffering from depression at the time of the shooting. White had started to eat sugary foods at the time, which his attorney said was evidence of his depression.