Episode 46: Sonny Jelinek of Jelinek Cork Group

“Sit down and think: ‘What can I do to make sure my business is still here in 100 years and has made a difference in the world?’ Then reverse engineer that process to today.”

When customers enter Jelinek Cork Group’s (JCG) retail store, many share their cork experiences – from crafting with wine corks to learning how to play a new instrument and everything in between. Sonny Jelinek, who operates JCG with his siblings Jay and Keena, has a cork story that trumps them all. Over 150 years ago, Sonny’s ancestors began importing cork from Portugal to use for beer barrels. Five generations later, JCG has grown into one of the largest and most active suppliers of cork items in the world, supplying a variety of products to a wide range of industries.

Though Sonny says the company became environmentally conscious by default due to the naturally biodegradable properties of all cork products, many different facets of social responsibility have also been incorporated into JCG’s work environment and business operations. Sonny is always looking for new ways to both help grow his business and to create a sense of connectedness among his staff and the surrounding community. Listen to find out how Sonny and JCG are embracing CSR in every aspect of business, and to hear Sonny’s advice on how to cultivate a company that is both successful and sustainable. Oh, and the cork-crafting aspirations of Vicki and Kathy.