The year was 1907 and Otto Kolschowsky was one of many thousands of German immigrants that had swelled the population of the Midwest’s most vibrant city — Chicago. In fact, folks of German heritage made up a full quarter of the population of the “City of the Big Shoulders.”Like so many American immigrants, Kolschowsky was powerfully driven by a work ethic based on a need to not only survive, but a will to thrive.To that end, the young Mr. Kolschowsky established his own meat market. Basic hard work, a commitment to providing high-quality meats with a natural understanding that pleasing customers was a key to success, Otto’s Meats prospered. In a decade he expanded into wholesale.
By 1928, the small one-man operation was a burgeoning business joined by Otto’s boys Harry and Arthur to become Otto & Sons.But even back then, despite all the success of the Kolschowsky family business, perhaps no one could have predicted that a humble meat business in a local Chicago neighborhood would one day become one of the largest and most successful international meat processing companies in the world earning billions of dollars per year.Otto & Sons became OSI Group in the 1970s. The company had undergone phenomenal growth through the 1950s after making a handshake deal with a certain little start-up eatery called McDonald’s reaturants.
Arthur and Harry agreed to supply Ray Kroc’s innovative burger joint with all the fresh beef he could move out in the form of hamburger sandwiches. As the McDonald’s concept took off and conquered the world, OSI Group came along for the ride.Today OSI Group operates 65 facilities in 17 countries. It provides good paying jobs to more than 20,000 workers. Forbes magazine ranks OSI Group No. 58 on its list of largest privately owned companies in America. The company earns an estimated $6 billion per year. OSI continues its remarkable growth trajectory today. The sky’s the limit for a company that started with the hard work of a single immigrant in a Chicago suburb more than a century ago. Learn More.