Former Rocky Mount Hostess workers eyeing bread deal - WNCN: News, Weather

Former Rocky Mount Hostess workers eyeing bread deal

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ROCKY MOUNT, N.C. -

Some iconic Hostess products are coming back thanks to a deal between two companies to buy the brand, but some former Hostess workers in Rocky Mount are closely watching another deal.

Georgia-based Flowers Foods bid on the Hostess bread line, which included a production facility at the Rocky Mount Merita plant. A bankruptcy court judge still must rule on the deal.

According to the Carolina Gateway Partnership, which recruits industry for the area, nothing can happen with the facility until the judge rules. Even with the judge's approval, things could go several ways from production starting back up to assets being sold, according to the Carolina Gateway Partnership.

Terry Ellis, who worked at the plant for 22 years, said he's heard the rumors of a return and is hopeful.

"I'm trying. I'm trying," he said of his efforts to find a new job.

Ellis, like many of his former co-workers, is receiving 26 weeks-worth of unemployment benefits.

Diane Thomas, manager of the Rocky Mount office of the Division of Workforce Solutions, said she's seen several Hostess employees find work in the area. She said much of it has been truck drivers and store employees finding jobs, but not production workers.

"We just don't have that type of facility in this area. Well, we've got a couple just not hiring right now," she said.

The Nash County unemployment rate jumped from 10.5 percent in November to 11.2 in December, an increase Thomas attributes to the Hostess plant closing.

Those are the most recent numbers available.

"Hopefully the rates have gone down since then," she said.

"We feel like things are going to pick up."

As for the Hostess snack cake lines, which were not produced in Rocky Mount, the companies hope to bring the items back to store shelves by summer.

Justin Quesinberry

Justin is a reporter for WNCN and a North Carolina native. He has spent the better part of the last decade covering the news in central North Carolina.  More>>

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