LE SUEUR, Minn -- When Le Sueur, Minnesota became the birthplace of the Jolly Green Giant, change sprouted in this small town.
"It's the tradition of our community. It's the core of our community," said Mary Scott Riviere, a former Green Giant employee.
The iconic figure of Scott Riviere's childhood one day became her employer. She spent a decade working in Green Giant human resources. Four of her siblings worked at the nearby canning plant.
Corporate change is loss for many in Le Sueur, as General Mills announced it plans to sell the Green Giant and Le Sueur vegetable brands to New Jersey based B&G Foods to focus on future growth categories like cereal, yogurt and snacks, featuring brands like Cheerios and Yoplait.
"But I also think of it a little broader now, what does it mean for the state? We lose Green Giant's presence as a part of Minnesota, it's a big change," said Scott Riviere.
Randy Baum is a retired Green Giant agricultural research director, who spent more than three decades with the company. He points to the global headquarters off Main Street, shuttered since 1995, except for one research office, employing a handful of people.
"The big thing working for Green Giant was the dedication of employees, the loyalty they had to the company, all very hard working people. It was a culture in itself, we refer to it as the green blood," said Baum.
Green Giant's fabled history started in 1903 when 14 businessman founded the Minnesota Valley Canning Company. Corn was hauled from these fields on horseback, and the company produced nearly 12,000 cases of creamed corn that year. The success of the label was eventually renamed Green Giant in 1950.
General Mills has owned Green Giant since 2001, when it acquired the previous owner, Pillsbury. The brands had net sales of around $585 million in fiscal year 2015, according to General Mills. Now with another sale, General Mills says it will minimize impact to Minnesota employees.
That's the hope for residents of Le Sueur, as an era closes and a giant footprint remains.
"The giant's sign we hope it will stay on the hill, because we all our proud. This is original valley of the Jolly Green Giant," said Scott Riviere.
B&G owns more than 40 food brands including Ortega, and Cream of Wheat. The $765 million deal is expected to be finalized by the end of the year.