News Column

Hostess to Hire 300 at Columbus Plant

April 25, 2013
Twinkies

The new owners of Hostess Brands plan to reopen the company's Columbus plant this summer and eventually employ more than 300 workers.

The baking company, which produces Twinkies, Cup Cakes, HoHos and Ding Dongs, is expected to resume operations this summer with a new work force.

"We fully expect to be in production and back on the shelves by the end of July," company spokesman Michael Cramer said.

The company said it is initially recruiting for 200 positions in production, sanitation, distribution, maintenance engineering and management this weekend at a job fair in Columbus. Over the next several years, more than 100 additional workers will be added.

Apollo Global Management and Metropoulos & Co. purchased Hostess' assets out of bankruptcy.

"Over the past several months, we have invested significantly in Hostess and the Columbus facility we acquired," Dean Metropoulos, chairman and chief executive officer of Hostess, said in a statement. The new owners are investing $20 million in the plant and community.

Hostess is receiving assistance from the state's Quick Start program, which provides help with workforce training.

Hostess, which at the time was based in Irving, Texas, announced in November that it was shutting down its business and selling its bread, snacks and cake brands, along with its 33 bakeries and other operations. The company's demise came after years of management turmoil and turnover. The company said a Teamsters strike crippled its ability to maintain normal production.

In March, Apollo and Metropoulos agreed to pay $410 million to purchase the Hostess and Dolly Madison brands, five bakeries and equipment. The buyers retained the "Hostess Brands" name in creating a new company. Other parts of the former company were sold to Tucker-based Flowers Foods; Grupo Bimbo, the the largest Mexican-owned baking company; McKee Foods in Virginia; and United States Bakery in Oregon.

The Columbus plant had about 420 workers on its payroll when it closed last November, according to the Ledger-Enquirer in Columbus, but the facility has employed as many as 1,200 since it first opened in 1971.

Cramer, the company spokesman, said some of the former workers may reapply for new positions. "I'm sure we'll get some people who used to work for the plant to come by and apply," he said.

For more information on Saturday's job fair at at 700 Veterans Parkway in Columbus, contact the state Labor Department at (706) 649-7423. Applicants can also apply online or visit jobs.hbnewco.com for more information.

Hostess is now based in Dallas and Kansas City, Mo.

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(c)2013 The Atlanta Journal-Constitution (Atlanta, Ga.)

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Source: Copyright Atlanta Journal-Constitution (GA) 2013