TODAY | November 19, 2012
>>> if you spent the weekend stockpiling twinkies, you may have jumped the gun. the sweet treats are likely to survive, even though hostess is closing up shop. nbc's mara schiavocampo has more on that. mara, good morning.
>> reporter: matt, good morning. later today, hostess will have a hearing before a bankruptcy judge to begin the work of shutting down and selling off its assets. that includes everything from manufacturing equipment to the brands themselves. it's all up for grabs, but at hostess outlets like this one, the massive selloff has already begun. selling like hot cakes. across the country shoppers are snapping up hostess snacks like twinkies, ding dongs and wonder bread while it can after the company announced that it's shutting down.
>> i don't know what i'm going to do without them.
>> i love twinkies.
>> reporter: what's so special about them?
>> the cream inside.
>> reporter: the cream.
>> it is a snack but a snack from my childhood and brings back memories of my childhood.
>> reporter: sites like ebay are flooded with ding dongs and twinkies at massive markups and there's even an online petition asking the president to nationalize the twinkie.
>> the twinkie represents a certain nostalgia, and its going away makes some people feel like an era is over.
>> reporter: last week the texas-based company suspended operations in all of its 33 plants. in january hostess filed for bankruptcy for the second time in less than ten years. though the company brings in an estimated $2.5 billion in annual revenue, they were weighed down by debt, management problems and rising labor costs .
>> for the fiscal year ended 2011 , they did report a loss of more than $300 million, so it's a combination of many things when you get down to the nitty-gritty.
>> reporter: hostess was founded 82 years ago.
>> you get a big delight in every bite of hostess twinkies.
>> reporter: and went on to become one of the largest baked good manufacturers and distributors in the country with more than 500 outlet stores and almost 19,000 employees. now, loyal customers aren't just buying the products, they are trying to figure out how to recreate them. the web flooded with do-it-yourself tips like those seen on the "today" show in 2010 .
>> this is fun.
>> reporter: a few found appreciation for one of america's most iconic brands.
>> i think hostess probably wished that americans would have realized how important twinkies were to them before friday.
>> reporter: now it may not be the end of the twinkie just yet. analysts say a number of prospective buyers are considering that brand. matt?