OSI Industries Grows From Local Meat Market To International Conglomerate

OSI Industries has come a long way since its humble beginnings as a local family-owned meat market in Chicago. Started in 1909 by German immigrant Otto Kolschowsky, the market saw great success for decades. However, a handshake agreement between the meat market owners and a restaurateur in the early 1950s proved even more fateful. As word passed around about Kolschowsky’s meat market, the more popular it became. They provided quality meats and great service to their customers. By the end of the first World War, the company expanded and found a new home in the Chicago suburb of Maywood.

By 1928, Otto Kolschowsky retired and turned the business over to his sons Arthur and Harry. The company was re-branded Otto & Sons. As Otto & Sons continued to grow, another businessman with aspirations to start a restaurant chain, was looking for someone to supply meat to his restaurant in Des Plaines, Illinois. The restaurant owner, Ray Kroc, opened his first McDonald’s in 1955. With a handshake, Otto & Sons became the sole provider of meats for the restaurant. The concept of fast food restaurants was something slowly gaining steam in the United States. Krok, being the genius he was, made McDonald’s the blueprint of what all fast food restaurants should be. Needless-to-say, McDonald’s became a huge success. And as its fortunes rose, so did Otto & Sons.

Not only did they supply burger patties for all McDonald’s restaurants in the Midwest, they soon built a manufacturing plant solely for McDonald’s. Otto & Sons also perfected new technologies such as flash freezing with liquid nitrogen. This process was more efficient and saved a boatload of money. By 1973, the company was on the cusp of becoming one of the greatest meat supplying companies in the United States. Otto & Sons was changed in 1975 to OSI Industries. The Koschowsky brothers were now at retirement age and looking for someone to take over. They chose Sheldon Lavin as partner. Under his Lavin’s leadership, OSI Industries has grown into an international food-supplying powerhouse. OSI Industries has 65 facilities in 17 countries and 20,000 employees.

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