OSI Industries, Rich in German Immigrant History

OSI Industries started out over a century ago in Chicago, Illinois. OSI wasn’t the name of the company back then. Otto Kolschowsky, was an immigrant that came to the United States in the early 1900’s. Within two years of his stay, he opened OSI Industries butcher market. Chicago, Illinois was populated with a large percent of German Immigrants. Within a decade, that small butcher market success grew even during both World War I and World World II.

The small butcher shop’s success caused Otto to transition into the wholesale foods market. And with that transition, came a name change to Otto and Sons. The wholesale food division opened doors for the company. It was a time of expansion and innovations. The suburbs popped up everywhere and with that, the supply and demands need changed. OSI Group buys former Tyson Foods plant in Chicago.

The first McDonald’s was born in 1955. Ray Croc opened the first McDonald’s, but before it opened, he and Otto’s son reached a solution as Otto and Sons became their supplier of meat market. That agreement was sealed with a handshake. The small, family business was entering into business with what would become a national and global brand.

During this era, franchises started popping up everywhere and the need to get food long distances and without spoiling proved to be harder than expected. Thankfully, technology paved the way for a process called flash freezing using liquid nitrogen. This filled the gap and expansions went beyond just local deliveries.

Otto and Sons built a plant dedicated strictly to McDonald’s food supply needs in 1973. It was a state of the art plant with the most advanced equipment for flash freezing the hamburger meat. Otto and Sons success was shown by their ability to keep up with the needs of local supply and demand and the other in wholesale food supplier of the Midwest.

In the early 80’s, Sheldon Lavin was brought on board because Otto’s sons were nearing retirement. His experience supersedes his reputation as an investor and executive in the banking world, he proved to become a valuable asset that opened the doors internationally. With the path the company was on, transitioning beyond the nation was the next venture. Otto and Sons became OSI Industries. As franchises expanded internationally. so did OSI Industries. OSI Industries reached every area of the globe and reaches annual sales in excess of $6 billion.

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