Sheldon Lavin Liked What He Saw In Local Meat Processing Firm, So He Bought It
Back in the early 1970s, Sheldon Lavin was doing just fine with Sheldon Lavin & Associates, a financial consulting and accounting firm that was well-regarded in the Chicago area.
Lavin established his business after graduating with a degree in accounting and finance from Roosevelt University in Chicago. For more than 15 years he had consulted with a range of clients. He developed an excellent reputation as a “go-to-guy” when someone needed an astute number cruncher, but also as a guy who knew his way around the banking industry.
In 1970 Lavin was approached by a regional meat processing company called Otto & Sons. This was a family-owned business established in a Chicago suburb in 1909. It had grown through the decades to become a local mainstay as a trusted meat supplier and processor. Things really started happening for Otto & Sons when the company made a deal with a guy by the name of Ray Kroc back in 1955. Yes, it was the same Ray Kroc famous for building the McDonald’s fast-food giant.
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Kroc was setting up the first franchise version of McDonald’s in Des Plaines, Illinois. He tapped Otto & Sons to supply all his fresh hamburger patties. This proved to be the catalyst that launched Otto & Sons from a Chicago-area company to a major Midwest meat processing firm.
By 1970, Otto & Sons was ready to take its rapidly growing enterprise to a new level. They called upon Sheldon Lavin. They wanted to tap into his seasoned expertise in finance to help them expand. Lavin found himself taking a deeper interest in Otto & Sons, more so than the many previous clients he had worked for.
Sheldon Lavin said that, although he saw himself as basically an accountant, he had always wanted to get more deeply involved in business. He eventually joined Otto & Sons as an owner. The company was rebranded as OSI Group in 1975.
Since then, Lavin has become a majority owner in OSI Group. It is through his vision and leadership that the company has become among the largest meat processors in the world today.