EMPORIA, Kan. (AP) — Snack cakes have been good for Emporia, where a reopened Hostess Brands plant has brought millions of dollars in investments and employment for some who were laid off when the plant was closed in 2012.
The company that makes Twinkies, Hostess Cup Cakes and other products has added $30 million in improvements to the plant and a ribbon cutting is planned for Friday to celebrate a new 36,000-square-foot warehouse. A festival including Twinkie-themed costumes, recipe, songs and eating contests is scheduled for Saturday.
“It’s beneficial to us and to Hostess, too,” said Rob Gilligan, a city commissioner and chairman of the Emporia Regional Development Association of East Central Kansas. “We’re glad they recognize the productivity of our people.”
When the new $25 million bakery line is fully operational, it will produce 1.6 million Twinkies a day and is expected to be the top Twinkie producer in the Hostess network, The Kansas City Star reported.
The success comes two years after the city lost about 500 jobs when the plant shut down during a labor dispute between Hostess Brands Inc. and the Bakery, Confectionery, Tobacco Workers & Grain Millers International Union. The Emporia plant was one of four bakeries that reopened last year after an investor partnership of Metropoulos & Co. and Apollo Global Management paid about $410 million for the bakeries and some other Hostess assets.
About 300 non-union workers are employed at the new plant and about 50 more jobs are expected, a Hostess spokeswoman said. Some of the current employees worked at the closed plant.
“These are good jobs with benefits packages that are very competitive,” Emporia Mayor Jon Geitz said. “Once the employees get past their trial period they have full-time jobs with 401(k)s and health care. Hostess is a top employer in our city.”
Hostess Brands was founded as Interstate Bakeries Corp. and was based in Kansas City, Missouri, until 2009. A revamped company headquarters in Kansas City employs about 75 people.
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