Hostess store ladies: We’re here to the last loaf
BY CHRIS SMITH/The Press Democrat
The decades-old Hostess/Wonder bakery outlet on Sebastopol Road wasn’t the happiest place in the world when I stopped in Monday, but at least the lights are still on and the door’s open.
“Everybody thinks we’ve closed,” lamented manager Beverly Ramirez, who has worked at the bakery thrift store for almost 29 years.
Though the huge Hostess Brands Inc has shut down bakery operations across the country, Ramirez is working with the company to keep open the landmark southwest Santa Rosa store until it has sold its last loaf of Wonder Bread - white or whole grain – or box of Hostess Donettes.
All the store’s Twinkies, Ho-Ho’s and fruit pies are gone, snatched up soon after Hostess Brands announced earlier this month that it could not come to agreement with its union bakers and would liquidate.
But when I dropped by the Sebastopol Road store Monday, there were still chocolate Hostess CupCakes, doughnuts, fruitcakes, hot dog rolls and plenty of bread.
“We’ve got Home Pride bread, white and wheat. And Colombo sandwich rolls,” said soon-t0-be-unemployed clerk Darlene Washington. “You’ll never see those on the shelf again.”
Her boss and friend Ramirez, who hired on at the outlet store in June of 1984, said tears are shed as longtime customers come in to say good-bye.
As pundits and more than 18,000 abruptly out-of-work Wonder Brands employees debate who was at fault for the company’s demise, Ramirez said Wonder has always been good to her.
“I have enjoyed working for this company. They gave me everything they promised me,” she said.
Then she prepared to tie up some helium balloons outside to alert passersby on Sebastopol Road that though Twinkies are history the old store isn’t dead yet.
The shelf-life dates on some of the doughnuts extend to the first week of December.