Hostess snack cakes, doughnuts make sweet return to store shelves

EDWARDSVILLE — Wendy Szymarek couldn't wait to leave the store.

She opened the box, pulled the cellophane off a chocolate cupcake, and took a bite.

"Lovely!" she said.

Szymarek, of Edwardsville, was walking down the aisle of the Schnucks store just minutes after a display of Hostess snack cakes, including doughnuts and the golden sponge cake with creamy filling, the iconic Twinkie, was unveiled by store manager Gary Rocca.

The snack cakes have been absent from store shelves for seven months after its maker, Hostess, declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy. The company closed and sold its snack cake business to the high bidder.

The first customer to bite at the Edwardsville Schnucks store was Pat McBride, of Glen Carbon. McBride said she was glad Hostess is back.

"We are firm believers in Hostess," she said.

McBride bought them for her sister, who used to buy a box of Twinkies to share with customers at the store where she worked.

"I'm getting her these for a joke," McBride said.

Rocca unpacked the Hostess display labeled, "Hostess The Sweetest Comeback in the History of Ever." The display contained 96 boxes of Twinkies, 80 boxes of cupcakes, and 120 bags of doughnuts.

Vanessa Bartle, of Glen Carbon, called her mom when she saw the Hostess display in the store, she said. She grabbed a box of Twinkies for her father.

Bartle said she planned on leaving the store with the snack cake and going to her parents' house. To share?

"Of course," she said.

Szymarek, of Edwardsville, purchased not only Twinkies, but doughnuts, for her 18-year-old son, and her favorite -- chocolate cupcakes.

"These are my reward on bad days," Szymarek said.

Szymarek and her family stopped eating the snack cakes in an attempt to eat healthier, she said.

"That was sad," she said.

The chocolate-iced, chocolate cupcakes with the vanilla icing swirl on top and cream filling make good gifts, Szymarek said. She passes them out on Valentines Day and Mother's Day.

Hostess began with the chocolate cupcake in 1919, but 11 years later plant manager James Dewar invented the Twinkie. Dewar became a regional vice-president of Hostess. He died in 1985.

Bartle and Rocca said they loved their Twinkies frozen, but Szymarek couldn't wait to put her cupcake in the freezer.

"I'm going to eat one now!" she said.

After the long-awaited first bite, she said, "Just the same!"