OGDEN — About 600 people were put out of work in the Ogden area, after Hostess shut down their operations. Now a community of employers are reaching out.
Dozens of the old hostess workers will likely find job offers out this, but a lot of them feel uncertain. For many, the job fair was a very new experience. Some have never been fired or laid off, and others were inching towards retirement.
Shortly after the job fair began, the crowds were lined up. Hundreds of people came looking for a fresh start.
"We are in some serious trouble," said former Hostess employee, Janette Gould.
24 years in the Hostess mail room came to a sudden halt for Gould after Hostess closed. Now she is suddenly faced with her first job loss ever.
"There was no warning per se," Gould said. "I honestly really thought we would never ever close, and I was heartbroken. I still am."
For Gould, Thursday was also a somber reunion. She never got the chance to say goodbye to many of her former co-workers.
"They were wonderful people," Gould said. "They're absolutely wonderful."
While she maintains an upbeat appearance, she says the uncertainty is almost unbearable.
"The depression is totally unreal," she said. "What's happened to all of us is unfair. I still am just sick about it. And do I know what tomorrow's going to bring? No, I don't."
Dozens of employers are looking for new hires among the laid-off Hostess workers. The employees range from big-name food producers to local grocers.
The Hostess shutdown affected many families, who are now hoping to find new jobs.
"My father-in-law had gotten me on [at Hostess,] said Dale Leatherow. "My daughter worked there, and my brother-in-law worked there."
Leatherow worked side by side with his brother on the production line for 20 years.
"It's gonna be different," he said. "He called me like the day after it happened, and that was the first thing he said was, 'We're not going to be working together anymore.'"
For each of them, the end of Hostess was about much more than the death of the Twinkie or Ding Dong. It was changing their lives.
Around 30 employers were at the job fair on Thursday to help these former employees find work again. Hostess is reporting that they have more than a hundred bids from companies wanting to buy many of their brands, like the Twinkie. But of course, that's no comfort to all the laid-off workers.