When Sheldon Lavin joined OSI Group in the 70’s (formerly known as Otto & Sons) he came in with a plan and ideas. With a background in business and banking, his ideas were to expand and grow the business; and that’s exactly what he did. What was a small wholesale meat company became a worldwide leader in food processing thanks to his skills and ambition.
In 1909, what would become OSI was only a small neighborhood butcher shop and market. By 1928, the business had expanded into wholesale and the company became Otto & Sons. Its first breakthrough came in 1955 when McDonald’s became a franchise and chose the meat company as one of its main suppliers. As Otto & Sons grew, in 1973 the company eventually opened a plant dedicated to only producing meat patties and became an exclusive supplier for McDonald’s.
In 1975 the name was changed to OSI Industries and it shared its success with McDonald’s as the franchise expanded dramatically—thus needing more product. It was also during this time that Sheldon Lavin became a partner of the company and saw its potential. He began to push further for more expansion and steered it in the direction to success. Between the 80’s and 90’s OSI quickly expanded all over the world and began opening more plants in the U.S. as well.
Further expansion and Acquisitions
In the 2000’s and through Sheldon Lavin’s leadership, OSI acquired a produce venture in China. This business would push the company in a different direction, further than only being involved in meat products. From 2014 to 2016 the company continued to acquire more food plants and became involved in many joint ventures as well. The most recent and notable of acquisitions was an Illinois Tyson plant with a footprint of nearly 38 square miles. The massive plant was purchased for over $7 million dollars in 2016.
Sheldon Lavin and his drive
Sheldon’s drive for expansion didn’t come suddenly. As an investor and banker, his aspire to grow the company came almost naturally. When he began at OSI, he came in as a third owner; the other two parts belonging to the brothers who originally owned it. His leverage increased when one of the brothers sold his part to Lavin. At this time Lavin became 50% owner and had full suggestion privileges. These privileges allowed him to steer the company into unimaginable expansion and turn it into what it is now.