The OSI Group is now one of the leading providers of food products on the planet and employs more than 20,000 people while operating in 17 countries. With its humble beginnings, OSI Group has transcended the American dream and has come to represent the same ideas on a global level.
The history of OSI Group is closely connected to the experiences of immigrants to America. The city of Chicago was a hub for German immigrants at the turn of the century and they represented one-fourth of the city’s population. One of these immigrants was Otto Kolschowski,
Kolschowski went into business for himself in 1909 when he opened a small butcher shop and meat market just two years after arriving in America. Good business practices resulted in Kolschowski expanding into wholesale markets before the end of World War I. A decade later in 1928 Kolschowski rebranded his business as Otto & Sons.
The business performed well and nearly thirty years later a stroke of good fortune came its way when a deal with Ray Kroc, the first chief executive officer of McDonald’s, resulted in Otto & Son’s becoming the meat supplier for the company.
A later consolidation of the McDonald’s supply chain resulted in the company becoming one of only four main suppliers to the fast-growing franchise.
The business grew at a fevered pace and in 1973 the company constructed the first plant that it would dedicate specifically to supply the product line of biggest supplier which was fast-becoming one of the largest companies across the globe.
The 1975 name change to OSI Industries signaled completed the nearly 70-year transition from a small family owned butcher shop into a supplier of food products operating on a manufacturing level. This was also the time that company had become no longer manageable by family members and looked to Sheldon Lavin, who had previously helped the sons of Otto Kolschowski secure funding for business expansion.
Sheldon Lavin helped already fast-growing company expand even faster with facilities being built across the United States and in both Germany and Spain as OSI Industries worked to keep pace with the growth of the McDonald’s franchise.
In the early 1980’s, Sheldon Lavin became the chairman of OSI Industries and chief executive officer of OSI Industries and the growth rate only increased. In 2016, OSI Industries was recognized by Forbes magazine as #58 on the Forbes magazine list of private companies with the most annual revenue at $6.1 billion.
The outlook for Sheldon Lavin and OSI Industries is bright as the company continues to penetrate new markets. And the humble dreams of a German immigrant that arrived in America at the turn of the 20th century has manifested into an accomplishment that will no doubt inspire similar dreams in potential young entrepreneurs everywhere.
Sheldon Lavin’s Facebook Page: www.facebook.com/public/Sheldon-Lavin