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Jakes in Ripon offers friendly service along with tea, coffee & sandwiches
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Jake Parks takes a sandwich order at his Ripon coffee shop and delicatessen. At right is brother Korey who came home from college for the weekend grand opening of Jake’s. - photo by GLENN KAHL
RIPON — Jake Parks truly cares about the people who walk through his front door evidenced by his efficiency and his outgoing personality – enjoying mostly the face-to-face interaction with customers when they walk up to his counter.

He readily describes the best part of his day:  “It has to be the interaction with people – far and away!”

Parks, 27, has filled a void on Ripon’s Main Street left by a Starbucks coffee shop using his entrepreneurial talents to draw clientele to his counter for everything from specialty coffees to scones, sandwiches and salads.

Located in the Schemper’s Ace Hardware shopping center on West Main Street, Parks celebrated his grand opening over the past weekend donating $1 to the Rena’s Run fundraiser for every sandwich that was sold at Jake’s.

Jake  isn’t the everyday coffee shop and delicatessen owner, the 27-year-old holds a bachelor’s degree in Business from California State University, Chico and a master’s in International Studies from the University of Central Florida.  And, during his high school years at Ripon Christian, he worked the counter at his parents’ Chevron station on East Main Street at Second Street.

He worked there as well during his college summers when he returned home – a job that gave him firsthand experience in dealing with the public – a learned trait that serves him well as the owner of his fledgling business.

Jake said he recognized the shop as being an investment of time and talent for him where he and family members saw a niche and they filled it.  Mom Donna, a Ripon school trustee, and dad Phil work in Jake’s on a regular basis.  She bakes the scones and the cookies and dad works in the shop on the weekends.

“My parents have helped me out a tremendous amount in this venture,” he said.

Jake noted he has been getting more and more regulars every day at his counter including women’s groups doing Bible study in the mornings along with others who come every day, every other day or once a week – but they are definitely regulars, he said.

“We do a lot of face to face marketing,” he said.  “We have to be creative in ways we market.”

 The shop has recently introduced Italian sodas – a club soda with syrup over ice – adding a little half and half to make it a cream soda, he said.   They are also offering a breakfast catering service.

Parks looks back to his younger years and lauds his sixth grade teacher Anita Hill at Sonoma Elementary School in Modesto for giving him more of a foundation early on for his role in later life and in the business world.

“She provided structure to me as a child,” he said of his teacher.  “I needed a structured environment to succeed,” he added.  “It was by setting boundaries and letting you know there were repercussions in crossing those boundaries,” he added.

Jake’s parents Phil and Donna Parks began the operation of the Chevron station in Ripon in 1990 and he later transferred schools to Ripon Christian Junior High School in 1997 with the family moving to Ripon the following year.