Hostess plant Denver
The Hostess plant at 62nd Ave near I-25 on Friday morning after its closure was announced. (THE DENVER POST | ANDY CROSS)

 The smell of baking bread wafting over Interstate 25 in the North Washington neighborhood will be no more, at least for the time being.

And move fast if you want some Twinkies or Ding Dongs.

They could soon be collector's items after Hostess Brands Inc., the maker of those and other iconic comfort food items, followed through on threats to close its doors.

Hostess executives said Friday they would liquidate the company, close 33 remaining plants and dismiss 18,000 workers across the country.

Among the plants closing is a Wonder Bread bakery at 80 E. 62nd Ave. that employs 160 workers. The company also operated two outlet stores in Denver and one in Loveland.

Management blamed the closure on the failure of the Baker, Confectionary, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union to end a strike that started Nov. 9.

"We deeply regret the necessity of today's decision, but we do not have the financial resources to weather an extended nationwide strike," CEO Gregory Rayburn said in a statement.

The company said earlier in a bankruptcy court filing that it would have lost up to $9.5 million through Nov. 19 in decreased sales and increased costs resulting from the strike

Workers, who had made substantial concessions following a 2004 bankruptcy, went on strike after a bankruptcy judge in White Plains, N.Y. approved an immediate 8 percent cut in wages and reduction in benefits.


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"The crisis facing Hostess Brands is the result of near a decade of financial and operational mismanagement that resulted in two bankruptcies, mountains of debt, declining sales and lost market share," the union, which represented about 30 percent of the company's workers, said in a statement.

Hostess had closed three plants permanently on Nov. 12 and threatened to close the remaining 33 bakeries if workers didn't return and restore normal operations.

Hostess truck Denver
A Hostess truck is parked at the plant at 62nd Ave near I-25 Friday morning, Nov. 16, 2012. (THE DENVER POST | ANDY CROSS)

The company, based in Irving, Texas, followed through Friday, closing the plants and 565 distribution centers.

Among the brands that are expected to be disappearing from store shelves: Wonder, Nature's Pride, Dolly Madison, Drake's, Butternut, Home Pride, Merita and Twinkies.

The company operated a Hostess/Wonder outlet store at its factory in north Denver and in Loveland. Dolly Madison also operated an outlet store in Arvada.

Aldo Svaldi: 303-954-1410, asvaldi@denverpost.com or twitter.com/aldosvaldi

The Associated Press contributed to this report.