When German immigrant Otto Kolschowsky moved to Oak Park, Illinois and started a neighborhood meat market run by him and his sons, little did he know that over 100 years later that company would have 20,000 employees and be a world leader in food processing and distribution. Today, that company is called the OSI Group and is one of America’s largest private companies. The reputation for tasty, nutritious food the Aurora, Illinois based OSI Group enjoys today began when Otto Kolschowsky insisted on offering only the finest cuts of meat in his family owned and operated meat market.
By 1917, Otto Kolschowsky had moved the meat market to Maywood, Illinois and was providing wholesale meat to restaurants and supermarkets in Illinois. In 1928, the company’s name was changed to Otto & Sons, but the reputation they established for providing quality meats remained. That reputation led the company to be chosen by Ray Kroc to provide ground beef for his McDonald’s franchise store in Des Plaines, Illinois. Soon McDonald’s was Otto & Sons biggest customer. With the creation of liquid nitrogen freezing technology, Otto & Sons opened a high-volume meat plant located in West Chicago and formed Glenmark, a special division to handle its non-McDonald’s business.
In 1975, the company changed its name to OSI Industries and began to look at expanding into the international market. At the point, Sheldon Lavin became involved with the company. By the 1980s, Lavin was CEO and began implementing a plan to make the OSI Group a global force in food processing and distribution. He maintained the family atmosphere among the staff, created programs designed to benefit the employees and their family members and instituted innovative, award-winning employee safety and environmental management policies. The company now has over $6 billion in annual revenue, happy staff and a growing international customer base.
OSI Group Buys Former Tyson Foods Plant in Chicago
Now called the OSI Group, this 108 year-old company has over 65 processing facilities located in almost 20 countries. They have a presence in places like Australia, India, South Africa and the Philippines. The OSI Group has so many poultry processing facilities in China, they are the countries largest poultry producer. They also provide Western fast-food companies doing business there with meat, vegetable and dough products. And the OSI Group continues to expand. The company recently purchased Flagship Europe and Baho Foods, two companies that serve customers in more than a dozen European countries.