The OSI Group, the worlds largest meat processing, and food packaging company, and a true Chicago original has recently expanded its operation once again in the windy city with the purchase of the former Tyson Foods processing plant facility in the area of Chicago known as “The Back of the Yards” The facility, which served Tyson for more than 20 years employed at its height of operation more than 800 people. When the facility ceased operations the employment had been pared down to 480 with 250 still working there at the time that the last day came. Many of those, according to a spokesperson for Tyson were given opportunities to continue on in some capacity when OSI took control.This is a logical move for the OSI Group, since this facility is located very near other OSI properties in the city, and rumor has had it that the company has been interested in it for some time. While it is not known as of yet what the facility will be used for or what the total operating complement of employees will be when it becomes operational, and a date for that has not yet been released, those who do find themselves working in the plant will be in good reputed company.
OSI currently employees more than 20,000 people worldwide at its 65+ facilities in 17 countries. Every major consumer market is served by the OSI Group, which is one of the most respected and recognized food processing companies in the world. If you do not know the name OSI Group, you no doubt know the names of some of their big high quality brand customers, not the least of which is their oldest operational partner McDonald’s. Of course, if you are from the greater Chicago area, it would be virtually impossible for you not to know the name OSI, and the remarkable story of how an immigrant used the leadership skills he had learned from his father, to become the latest in a long line of butchers and meat sellers going back generations in his family. You would know how he opened a small corner meat market in the mostly German and polish neighborhood of Oak Park on the south side of Chicago, not far from the stock years. You would know about how he built a reputation for excellence that drew so many customers from major restaurants and hotels to his door that he had to open a wholesale expansion to his operation.
Of course, the most important part of the story would be how Otto & Sons Meat become the exclusive supplier of the highest quality beef products in the world to the world’s most popular hamburger seller, McDonald’s.The acquisition of this plant is just another page in the long and storied relationship that OSI has had with the city that gave birth to it. The $17.4M acquisition will increase the company’s holdings in the greater Chicago area to a value of more than $200M. While it has not been announced what the facility will process, the building was previously used by Tyson for prepackaged meals for the upscale hospitality industry such as hotels, airlines, cruise tour operators, and private hospitals. Since the acquisition includes all equipment and fixtures at the facility that are not exclusively proprietary in design to Tyson, it would stand to reason that the work slated to be done in the plant will be very similar. About OSI Group, it has a special connection to the city of Chicago and this purchase further shows that the company’s love for its hometown is as strong now as it was when Otto first hung a sign in his window stating “Proudly Chicago” more than a hundred years ago.