Company History

The entire portion of this web site entitled "Company History" was assembled by James Everett Kochheiser, the company Chief Information Officer and Company Historian. Some portions of this site have been reproduced in whole, while others are in part. The information contained in this site is as accurate as can be with the understanding that history itself has a lot to do with accuracy.

With the passing of time, some information may become slightly altered, as is the case with San Francisco history -information that once was freely available before the great quake of 1906, rapidly became extinct due to the rampage of fire through virtually all public and private buildings. Even the Otis, McAllister & Co. building that remained standing after the quake suffered major loss of records due to fires that surrounded it.

Should you find information to be inaccurate, please bring it to our attention. We will make every effort to verify the information and correct the discrepancies after verification is complete. Only verifiably authentic information will be reproduced in this web site.
Otis McAllister history

Otis McAllister is proud of the contributions of its founders and employees over the past two centuries to American commerce - from the American Revolution to the very founding of San Francisco. Otis McAllister's founding partners, James Otis, Jr., M. Hall McAllister, and Everett N. Bee have become integral to California's rich and varied history. Just as their respective streets and statues have physically shaped the city of San Francisco, so has Otis McAllister by playing a vital role in shaping both the US and world food industry.

The Company's early history was profoundly influenced by Captain Frederick William Macondray. Moving his business from thriving nineteenth century Boston to the sparsely populated San Francisco area in 1848, Captain Macondray helped to provide the necessary capital for many fledgling businesses in pre-gold rush California. Macondray & Co. was founded as a commission and trading house with Capt. Macondray's partner in overseas ventures - James Otis, Sr. The Otis family, already an icon of American history for their role in the American Revolution, played a defining role in San Francisco as James Otis, Sr. would later serve as President of the city's Board of Supervisors from 1859 to 1861, and later as Mayor from 1873 to 1875. While becoming a partner with Captain Macondray, James Otis, Sr. also became his son-in-law when he married the Captain's eldest daughter, Lucy. Together, they had a son who they named James Otis, Jr.

The McAllister family played equally important historical roles. One McAllister family member served as the first US District Attorney personally appointed by President George Washington. Others served as Mayor of Savannah, Georgia, and President of San Francisco's Board of Directors. M. Hall McAllister, III, was a close friend of James Otis, Jr., and they, along with Everett N. Bee, established Otis McAllister & Co. in 1892 to pursue the expanding world trade market.

Otis McAllister & Co. eventually opened offices around the world, including South America, Africa (the Belgian Congo, Ethiopia), the United States, and Canada. In the early nineteen sixties, Otis McAllister was forced to reorganize due to its heavy reliance on the speculative coffee import business. Nevertheless, shortly thereafter, Jay T. Reed and Carl Hunt revitalized the company, creating a durable structure which has served it to this very day. Since that time, the leadership and employees of Otis McAllister have expanded the business into more than 80 countries representing buyers and producers in all corners of the world. Otis McAllister's rich history demonstrates knowledge of the finest food and beverage lines, technical aspects associated with world trade, and a logistical distribution system spanning the globe.