Today’s OSI Group is one of the worlds leading food provider with a massive employment roster in the neighborhood of twenty-thousand employees working out of over 65 facilities across the globe. What many people might not know is the fact that OSI started out as no more than a tiny meat market in the Chicago area town of Oak Park, Illinois. The American immigrant story is at the heart of the story of the development of OSI Group as the original meat market where the firm started was the product of a family of German immigrants the Kolschowsky’s.
After opening in 1909 the family built up a steady business that was strong enough that by the end of World War One, Otto Kolschowshy decided to move into the wholesale meat distribution business. 1928 saw the renaming of the firm under the title Otto and Sons. By the mid-1950s OSI was being run by the sons of Otto Kolschowsky, Arthur and Harry. The two brothers struck up a deal with McDonald’s founder Ray Kroc that would change the face of OSI Group. The company became closely joined with McDonald’s as it became one of the fast-food giant’s major meat providers.
The contract with McDonald’s helped OSI Group to become a major player in the food distribution game and by the 1970s the company had a new face at the top that helped to take the business international. This individual was financial wizard Sheldon Lavin, a consultant who had at first helped Arthur and Harry to finance a major expansion. They liked working with Sheldon so much that he was brought in as a partner. Sheldon helped to spearhead major international expansion that has seen OSI gain its currently worldwide footprint.
OSI has continued its business practice of steady and constant expansion with a recent merger that will join the highly successful Australian poultry processor Turi Foods with OSI. The merger is a huge move for OSI Group in increasing its Australian footprint. Turi is one of the largest processors of poultry products in Australia and supplies many butcher shops, restaurants and supermarkets. The shared ownership that the two companies will enjoy should be a perfect set up for two highly family oriented businesses that are a great fit for one another.