OSI Industries— its humble beginnings and 100 years of growth

OSI Industries is currently one of the largest food processing companies in the world, with operations in 17 countries and tens of thousands of employees. OSI wasn’t always this large provider, its beginnings were modest, but thanks to a good product the company has been able to grow impressively. In the history of over 100 years, it has evolved and has spread into 65 different locations stationed all over the world.

Beginnings and first break into a major business

Otto Kolschowsky emigrated from Germany to the U.S. in 1907 and landed in Chicago Illinois. Two years after arriving, in 1909, he opened his first business. It was a small and humble retail meat market and butcher shop on the west side of Oak Park, Chicago. Within a decade the business had grown into wholesale and it was soon renamed Otto & Sons in 1928. The family business continued to see a steady income for the next decades until 1955 when it landed a deal as a meat supplier for the first McDonalds in Des Plaines and things began to boom.

Further expansion and surge

For the next twenty years, the business grew as McDonald’s quickly expanded.OSI’s growth was inevitable as it was riding on the passenger seat of the McDonald’s ride to the top. In 1975 Otto & Sons became OSI Industries, by this time part of the company was solely focused on supplying the burger chain and another of its branches began supplying heavily to other businesses. Seeing the company had far more potential for growth, an investor and banker by the name of Sheldon Lavin decided to join as part owner. Lavin eventually became the Chairman and CEO, and through his leadership, OSI expanded worldwide. In the past 40 years, the company has grown dramatically and is now a worldwide empire supplying chains like Pizza Hut, Starbucks, and Subway among so many others.

The dream

OSI Industries is a colossal example of what the American dream can become for an immigrant family. What began as a corner butcher shop in Chicago eventually turned into a wholesale business, that appeared to be a great accomplishment for founders; but there was more coming. That business dream evolved into one of the biggest food supplying companies in the world. OSI Industries is currently listed on Forbes as #58 of the largest American private owned companies with revenue of over $6 Billion.

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