What started as a local butcher and meat market in Oak Park, Illinois is now one of the world’s largest wholesale food distributors with facilities located in 17 different countries across the globe. The company in questions in OSI Industries based out of Aurora, Illinois. OSI Industries started out as Otto Kolschowsky’s family butcher shop which he opened in 1909. Otto was a German immigrant who like so many others, came to the United States to make a better life for himself. Otto’s business really took off and by the time the end of the first World War rolled around, he decided to expand operations and get into the wholesale distribution game. A Century of Innovation at OSI Group.
The company was later renamed Otto & Sons and by the 1950s, Otto’s sons were, in fact, running the company. They struck a deal with Ray Kroc of McDonald as he was expanding the restaurant in the Midwest. Gaining a contract to supply McDonald’s with food because a huge turning point of the company as Otto & Sons quickly expanded operations to keep up with McDonald’s. The company eventually gained the distinction of being one of the only distributors for McDonald’s as the restaurant chain consolidated its supply line. By 1973, a processing facility was opened for the sole purpose of providing food items for McDonald’s.
The 1970s was also the time that OSI started setting its sights on major growth and expansion. Otto Kolschowsky’s son’s Arthur and Harry had met financial advisor Sheldon Lavin and he helped them finance their North American expansion efforts. The impression that Sheldon made was dramatic and Arthur and Harry asked him to join the company full time as a partner. In 1975 the company was renamed OSI Industries and at this point, with Sheldon leading the way, an aggressive campaign of global expansion was undertaken that continues to date.
Today, OSI Industries has operations across North American, Latin American, Asia, Europe and Australia. McDonald’s is still one of the company’s major clients and the firm also serves well-known restaurant brands such as Papa John’s and KFC. In 2016, Sheldon Lavin, who today is the Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board for OSI Industries, won the prestigious Global Visionary Award in recognition for the fact that he was able to build OSI into a global force in the world of food distribution. Recent expansion in areas such as Europe and Australia show that OSI is still very much a company on the upward move.
OSI Industries info: www.mapquest.com/us/illinois/osi-industries-llc-7716434