In 1909, Otto Kolschowsky, opened up a small, family run meat market in Chicago, Illinois. Chicago, Illinois was home to many German immigrants as they made up a quarter of the community. Chicago was a bustling city that was the center for OSI Industries and a place for immigrants to start before moving on to start farms in the flat lands. Over the course of the next decade, Otto Kolschowsky’s business did great and continued to do well after World War I and World War II.
OSI Industries history is important part of the 20th century with its ancestry started with German immigrants. But OSI Industries didn’t become OSI until much later. In 1928, Otto Kolschowsky decided that with the wholesale food sector added to his current meat market, that a rebranding was needed and he changed the business name to Otto & Sons.
As Otto & Sons continued on with the success of their business, the rest of the world was joining their ranks. Suburbs were rising in popularty as they popped up all over. The idea of franchising was new at the time, but Ray Kroc was the first to start and open the first franchise McDonald’s. But before the McDonald’s opened, Kroc had met with Otto’s sons and a handshake agreement was made for Otto & Sons to be the first beef supplier to McDonald’s. This business agreement opened the doors to many future endeavors.
As McDonald franchise extended regionally, so did the demands and pressure for Otto & Sons to keep up. in 1960, technology breakthrough offered an even closer relationship between Otto & Sons and McDonald’s because of the new flash freezing—cryogenic food process. This became cost efficient which was better for both companies.
Otto & Sons was holding their own between whole sale regional supplier of OSI Industries and local supplier to the community. In the early 1980’s, as Otto’s sons, Harry and Arthur neared retirement, they decided to bring Sheldon Lavin to the team. This transition brought on another name change and leadership. Otto & Sons became OSI Industries.
Lavin’s expertise in banking and investments helped push the company further in the food industry. Franchises went internationally and so did OSI Industries as it became one of the worlds largest supplier of food. OSI has facilities in 17 countries and its sales reach $6.1 billion.
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