The parent company of Le Mars-based Blue Bunny ice cream has been purchased by the Ferrero Group, a European confections company, the organizations announced last week.

Wells Enterprises has been a staple in Northwest Iowa for a century, introducing its iconic ice cream brand in the 1930s.

Even before Blue Bunny hit ice cream shops, the Wells family was known across the region for its dairy and milk production.

Wells continued to bottle its own milk until selling off that portion of the business in 2007. Wells currently employs about 4,000 people and makes more than 200 million gallons of ice cream per year at plants in Iowa, New York and Nevada, making it the second largest...