In the mid-1930’s, our founder, Michael Gagliardo, an Italian immigrant, opened a grocery store on Chicago’s West Side. From there, he brought his son, Michael V. Gagliardo on board. Soon after they expanded operations by employing a can fabricating machine resurrected from a fire at the Continental Can Company. The father and son team rebuilt the machine, set it up in the basement of the grocery store, and formed the “Eagle Can Company”, which rapidly became a formidable supplier of cans to many local, immigrant-owned companies. When a shortage of cooking oil developed during World War II, the Gagliardos were able to secure a source, and the result was a flourishing oil packaging company, which became known as “Columbus Packing Company” and is now known as “Columbus Vegetable Oils:.
Since these modest yet auspicious beginnings, the company has moved several times, finally settling into its present location, a 310,000 sq. ft. facility in DesPlaines. Ownership and control has passed through three generations of Gagliardos, and is currently in the capable hands of the founder's granddaughter, Paulette Gagliardo.
Today, the company continues to wear the "Columbus" name well, and stands among the leaders in the shortening and oil industries. Sales have expanded to all 50 states as well as international locations, and the product line now includes approximately 100 quality items. Product options range from highly competitive commodity oils to the most exotic specialty oils, in packages ranging from bulk tankers to 24 oz. retail sizes.
Quality, competitive pricing, and breadth of our product line continue to be our greatest strengths. We have continued to build on these traditions, providing a comprehensive line of shortenings and oils to the retail and food service industry, and for a variety of chemical and manufacturing applications.