PIPESTONE, Minn. — The September announcement that J&B Group would close its beef processing operation here brought a cloud of worry over the community, but the silver lining appeared last week when it was announced that JBS USA has entered into a lease with an intent to buy the J&B location.

The purchase is slated to take place within a few months.

"We're just tickled," said Pipestone city council member Dan Delaney. "We're certainly glad there was a sale made. It's vital to our community to have an employer like this come in."

An estimated 145 jobs were on the line with the closing of the J&B plant. Thanks to the agreement with JBS USA, those jobs are now secured to stay in the community, officials said.

"Especially this time of year," Delaney said, "things were looking pretty bleak for awhile." He explained that a different potential buyer had previously expressed interest in the property, and when the sale didn't work out, hopes were dashed again.

"The important thing is, those jobs are still available," Delaney said.

Mayor Myron Koets agreed.

"We're delighted ... that the people there will have an opportunity to continue working," he said.

Both the city of Pipestone and J&B Group had been working with the displaced employees to find them new positions, Delaney said.

"We are excited to welcome the Pipestone team members to JBS USA," the company's chief operating officer, Bob Krebs, said in a news release. "We plan on investing in the facility and growing the business, allowing our new team members and the local community to grow with us."