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Ripon looks to attract new businesses

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POSTED January 26, 2014 9:00 p.m.

In order to attract new businesses, the City of Ripon could use an identity.

So says Jake Parks during his economic development proposal to the Ripon City Council last Tuesday.

“What we need to do is identify what we want to become in the future,” said the Councilman.

Forget the big hardware chains such as Home Depot and Lowe’s.

“We know who we are and who aren’t,” said Parks, who believes this area is conducive to small to medium startup businesses.

During his nearly six-month study, Parks, who also worked on this plan with City Administrator Kevin Werner, noted that the Jack Tone Road interchange just off Highway 99 equipped with restaurants and gas stations accounted for 70 percent of the city’s sales taxes.

That along with industries such as Jack Rabbit, Gunnert & Zimmerman, Better Built Truss, Diamond Pet Food and Cal Freight.

“We’re a sales tax community,” he said.

One way to lure new businesses into town – the council hopes to keep those businesses already here intact – is the International Council of Shopping Centers, which has two conventions planned for the upcoming, including one in Monterey and the other in Las Vegas.

The purpose of the ICSC, according to the website (www.icsc.org), is to advance the shopping center industry and to promote its role in commercial distribution of consumer goods and services. ICSC Monterey Idea Exchange is scheduled March 12-13 at the Portola Plaza Hotel. “This would great networking opportunity (for the City of Ripon),” Parks said.

He received support from his colleagues, voting 5-0 to send one council member and one staff member to the Monterey convention. The cost is $750 per person.

Ripon recently joined the San Joaquin Partnership, which has main focus of business attraction, retention, and expansion through the county.

Park’s initial plan had included marketing brochure ($8,000) similar to that of the SJ Partnership along with the ICSC Recon Las Vegas ($1,250 per person).

Council, however, nixed both ideas while urging small steps for the proposal. “We need to watch our money and keep it to a small-town scale,” Vice Mayor Elden ‘Red’ Nutt said.

Councilman Dean Uecker later added: “Let’s send one person to Monterey and go from there.”

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