Ga. Bakery Getting Ready to Crank Out Hostess Snack Cakes Again

New owners testing, training for July production start

COULMBUS, Ga. -- Hostess Brands LLC is preparing to relaunch snack cake production next month at a Dolly Madison plant in Columbus, Ga., reported The Columbus Ledger-Enquirer.

"We'll be in production as we originally said by July," Hostess Brands spokesperson Michael Cramer told the newspaper, confirming that workers are now getting the facility ready to bake goods again, including testing equipment that has been idle since November.

"You've got to run and test product and train [workers]," he said. "That would be the normal and natural thing to do is test your product and make sure the lines are running. We've been engaged in that process for a couple of months."

The bakery had been quiet since its former owner, Irving, Texas-based Hostess Brands Inc., announced in November 2012 that it was shutting down its business and selling its breads and snack cakes. In Columbus, that suddenly left 426 workers without a job and no severance pay, said the report.

The company's demise came after years of management turmoil and turnover, with workers saying the company failed to invest its brands. Hostess filed for its second Chapter 11 bankruptcy in less than a decade in January, citing costs associated with its unionized workforce.

Hostess Brands LLC, now owned by investment firms Apollo Global Management and Metropoulos & Co., purchased the local plant out of U.S. Bankrupty Court in April. The price tag was $410 million.

He would not say what products the Columbus facility will be making. In the past, it has baked Twinkies, Zingers and Ding Dongs, along with Dolly Madison fruit pies, doughnuts and other cake products, the report said.

Click here for the full Ledger-Enquirer report.