The CEO of Wells Enterprises in Le Mars says he doesn’t expect much to change with the sale of the family owned business to an Italian company.
Mike Wells says under the sale agreement with Ferrero of Italy, the ice cream company will remain a stand-alone business with its offices in Le Mars, and 100 percent autonomy. “The Wells name will be on the outside of the building, the management team will stay in place, they need all of our employees and that was a central part of what I call the trifecta protect the employees how to commit to the community and how to honor my family and its 109 years of ownership,” Wells says.
Wells Enterprises produces ice cream under the Blue Bunny brand and has offices in Le Mars and production operations in Le Mars, Henderson, Nevada, and Dunkirk, New York. Wells says Giovanni Ferrero visited with him in Le Mars to learn about the importance of the company to the city, and that was part of the reason he made the deal.
“As I hauled Giovanni around when he was here in June, we went by the football stadium and we, you know, went by the trail system and all the wonderful things that wells over the years has had an opportunity to invest in,” Well says. “And he got the punchline very quickly — that our commitment to this community is what makes this community what it is — and that they would have an ongoing obligation to that.”
Wells says he will serve as an advisor to the company after the sale is completed. Current Wells President Liam Killeen will become CEO, and the existing leadership team will remain in place. Ferrero started in 1946 as a small pastry shop in Alba, Italy and has grown to become a global leader in sweet-packaged foods, including the brands Nutella, Kinder, Tic Tac and Ferrero Rocher. Terms of the transaction, which is expected to close in early 2023, were not disclosed.
Several buses shuttled Wells employees to the Le Mars Convention Center for the announced at 9:30 this morning.
(By Woody Gottburg, KSCJ, Sioux City)