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Beloved snack maker celebrates 60th year
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Keleigh Hobbs, 7, holds a box of Unicorn Cakes, her favorite Little Debbie treat. - photo by Lisa Hobbs

It’s hard to forget sitting in a school cafeteria eating a Spinwheel.

The Little Debbie snack came with no instruction manual, yet every kid seemed to attack the Spinwheel in exactly the same way. You unroll the circular treat into one long cinnamon strand, then dangle it over your mouth and bite off chunks at a time.

The Spinwheel is just one of the many Little Debbie snacks that have been enjoyed by generations. In 2020, Little Debbie is celebrating its 60th year of offering tasty treats at ridiculously low prices.

The Little Debbie arsenal of snacks is far-reaching. The Oatmeal Crème Pie is a classic, perhaps the greatest sugary divulgence known to man this side of a Snickers. The Star Crunch may not be as well known, but it’s just as satisfying.

Toss in the Nutty Buddy, Fudge Rounds, and Banana Twins and you have a lineup that’s able to leap tall building.

“And don’t forget the Swiss Rolls,” said Ethan Smith, while talking about Little Debbie snacks Friday on Main Street. “You can’t forget about those.”

Little Debbie is headquartered right here in Tennessee. The company is located in the suburbs of Chattanooga in an area called Collegedale.

Little Debbie products are available almost everywhere. This includes in most discount, grocery, and convenience stores -- both in boxes and individual wrappings.

The company had already been in operation when, in 1960, company founders O.D. and Ruth McKee decided to name a product after one of their grandchildren, 4-year-old Debbie. 

The original image of Debbie used on packaging and advertising, which began Aug. 23, 1960, was based on a black-and-white photo. Full-color portraits of Little Debbie started later in 1960. Following instructions, an ad designer made the little girl look older, around 8 or 9.