Fans of Twinkies, your long nightmare is about to end. The age-defying, frosting-stuffed pastries should reappear on grocery store shelves in Tampa on July 15 - at least at Publix stores. Publix Spokesman Brian West confirmed the date Thursday, adding that "We are very excited and looking forward to offering Twinkies to our customers once more." Twinkies disappeared from store shelves last year as owners of Hostess Brands sparred with unionized workers who produced the pastries and sister products like Ho Hos, Ding Dongs, Zingers and Suzie Qs, plus nonpastry brands like Wonder Bread.
That standoff led the company to file bankruptcy, and the Twinkies operations were sold in April to two financial firms, Apollo Global Management LLC and Metropoulos & Co. Another company, Flowers Foods, bought the rights to produce Wonder Bread and other products. About that time, executives with the new incarnation of Hostess estimated they could restart factory operations and return Twinkies to shelves sometime this summer. Meanwhile, former Hostess bakery re-sale stores in Tampa remain closed. For the last few months, about the only place Twinkie fanatics could find the pastries were at state fairs, because many food vendors that sold deep-fried Twinkies had built up stockpiles to last them through the outage. Publix did not have an official date for launching other Hostess items, but the bakery company expects to restart production this summer of Cup Cakes, Ho Hos and Ding Dongs. Undetermined is what will happen to the secondary market for stockpiled Twinkies nationwide once the pastries return to store shelves. Currently, sellers on eBay are asking between $6 and $11 for a box of eight Twinkies. firstname.lastname@example.org (813) 259-7919 Twitter: @DailyDeadline