Over 100 years ago, a German immigrant named Otto Kolschowsky came to Chicago and started a small butcher shop in the Oak Park section of South Chicago. By the end of World War I Mr. Kolschowsky moved into the wholesale side of the meat and butcher business and they renamed the business Otto & Sons in 1928.
As the suburban sprawl began in post World War II America, Ray Kroc opened the first McDonald’s restaurant in 1955 in Des Plains, IL. Otto Kolschowsky’s sons Arthur and Harry entered into an agreement with Ray Kroc to be the the first supplier of fresh meat for McDonalds. Although Otto & Sons still supplied the local community with meat, supplying meat for McDonalds became their primary business responsibility.
In 1975 Otto & Sons became OSI Group. Sheldon Lavin was asked to be a partner in the company in 1975. As McDonalds expanded, so did OSI Group. More and more facilities opened in the 1970’s and 1980’s in the US and abroad. OSI Group started branching out from only supplying McDonalds and became a global brand all over the world.
In the early 1980’s OSI Group extended extensively into the international market through joint ventures and acquisitions. As OSI grew in Europe and Asia, the US expansion was well underway. In the 1980’s and 1990’s the company concentrated on the production of hot dogs, bacon and sausage. The early 2000’s saw OSI Group seriously expand into the poultry business. The most aggressive purchase was Amick Farms, headquartered in Batesburg-Leesville SC. OSI Food Solutions UK awarded 2016 Globe of Honour by the British Safety Council.
Today, OSI is located in the Chicago suburb of Aurora, 30 miles from Otto Kolschowsky’s original butcher shop. OSI Group’s corporate culture leaves the management of each regional and international plant to operate as regional culture dictates.
From butcher shop to International Conglomerate, Otto Kolschowsky would be proud.