Walmart brought Twinkies back three days earlier than planed, and customers across the country have responded with enthusiasm.
Hostess had originally asked retailers to wait until Monday, July 15, to start selling Twinkies, but Walmart decided to jump the gun and give its customers a head start. An estimated 1,600 stores got the spongy, creme-filled cakes on Saturday.
At a Salt Lake City Walmart, Twinkies were a popular item.
“I deep fry them until they’re golden brown,” said Lulu Anzo when she approached the store’s display of the Hostess treat. “Then I put a scoop of ice cream on top and some syrup. It tastes great.”
Walmart Supercenters in Columbus, Ohio, locations put the Twinkies on display quickly. They were on sale for $2.98 for a box of 10, and popular with customers.
“I’m going to put mine right up in front of my building,” said Ben Thames, manager of one of the Columbus stores. “I’m thrilled that they’re bringing them back. I think it’s good for business. But I’m going to try to stay away from them a little bit, just for my figure.”
Walmart said it will start selling other Hostess products next week, including Hostess Mini Muffins and fried Fruit Pies. In August there will be another influx of new products — Coffee Cakes, Ho Hos, Orange CupCakes, Suzy Qs and Zingers. Fans of Sno-Balls will have to wait a little longer — they’re not expected in until the fall.
Hostess declared bankruptcy last year after a standoff with its second-biggest union and longstanding management difficulties. Twinkies ended up being bought by private equity firms Metroupoulos & Co. and Apollo Global Management, which have a reputation for re-invigorating ailing brands.
Walmart spokeswoman Veronica Marshall said the store’s customers are getting the first Twinkies made since re-production started, with all the boxes arriving fresh and none frozen.
Another 1,400 Walmart location will get Twinkies on Sunday, with the remainder of the chain’s stores expected to join on Monday.