Family Owned Iowa Ice Cream Company Has Been Sold
When you talk about ice cream in Iowa, talk will no doubt turn to Wells Enterprises in Le Mars, Iowa. The home of Blue Bunny ice cream and many other delicious treats. Yesterday, the company's CEO announced that he had sold the company in an effort to protect its future.
The Le Mars Daily Sentinel reports that Wells Enterprises has been sold to the Italian candy maker The Ferrero Group. The announcement was made official on Wednesday. Mike Wells, the CEO of Wells Enterprises, met with employees yesterday to discuss the sale and then talked with the media about why he decided to make the move. Wells told the Sentinel,
The last couple of years I have realized that as the only active family member in the business, I had an obligation to find a path forward that didn’t include our family in order to sustain our 109 years of history and look to the next 100 years of growth.
The Sentinel reports that Wells was introduced to the people at Ferrero back in 2009 while talking to the company about how they might use their candy in Blue Bunny ice cream. Giovanni Ferrero visited Le Mars and the Wells facilities this June and came away impressed with the operation. Talks of the sale began. Despite Ferrero's ownership of the company, Wells told the Sentinel that Wells Enterprises will still have 100% autonomy in running the business. Everything will continue to stay under the Wells company brand.
The Sentinel reports that Wells will eventually step away from his role as CEO but that he and his wife still plan to stay in Le Mars. Wells Enterprises has 4,100 employees with some 2,700 working in Le Mars.