Hostess closing has local impact

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GASTONIA, N.C. - Eyewitness News was there as workers at the Merita Store in Gastonia solemnly greeted their customers.

The sign taped to the front door warned the store is closing.

"Please don't close, because you don't know what type of impact that you are having," said customer Roslynn Price.

Hostess, the maker of Merita and popular snack foods, announced it's liquidating the company and laying off nearly 19,000 workers.

The trigger, the company said, was an employee strike over a labor dispute.

People who talked to Eyewitness News on Monday said that dispute is hurting them.

"Quit you're whining about a contract," said Alfred Babineau.

Babineau and his wife are retired, and they drove from Shelby today to load up on discounted bread.

"Every cent counts that you can save," said Babineau.

"It's hard to live from month to month on a little check," said customer Jerry Anderson.

Anderson is disabled, so he saves when he can.

"Go to the grocery store, spend twice as much money on a loaf of bread," said Anderson.

Most of the store is on clearance, and Eyewitness News found workers stocking some of the shelves, but many of them are empty.

Some customers said they have been shopping there for years, and they are just as concerned about the workers who will lose their jobs as they are about saving money on their groceries.