RIPON – Jake Parks is cautiously optimistic about his chances at winning a seat on the Ripon City Council.
Thus far, the owner and co-founder of Jake’s Coffee, Tea & Sandwiches is third among vote-getters for that final spot with 18,000 ballots left to count countywide and perhaps as many as 500 in Ripon.
Of the seven candidates, Parks, who spent election night in Modesto celebrating victories for both Kristin Olsen (12th Assembly District) and Jeff Denham (U.S. Representative 10th District), tallied 2,343 votes.
That’s based on the figures released Tuesday, Nov. 14, by the San Joaquin County Registrar of Voters.
Unofficially, only Mayor Elden ‘Red’ Nutt (2,952) and retired Ripon Unified School District Superintendent Leo Zuber (2,615) finished higher. Parks’ closest challengers include retired police officer Scott Lindsay (2,153), and incumbents Garry Krebbs (1,985) and Charlie Gay (1,777). Robbie Orlando collected 1,057 votes.
“We had seven great candidates with each offering something different (for everyone),” said Parks, who threw his hat into the ring with hopes of bringing economic growth to Ripon.
He’s the son of Phil and Donna Parks. His mother is an elected official currently serving her second term on the Ripon Unified school board.
“She was more nervous than me on election night,” Jake Parks, who is a 2001 graduate of Ripon Christian.
He noted that his folks were helpful in planning his election strategy while providing reassurances along with plenty of motivational support.
They also helped him start up his business.
Parks’ initial plans were anything but that when he came out of the University of Central Florida – he obtained his masters there in Political Science – where he studied International Affairs.
“I wanted to work in alternative energy,” he said.
Instead, Parks, in 2009, converted the old Starbucks Coffee at 150 N. Wilma Ave. near Main Street. He turned the “300-pound gorilla” otherwise known as Starbucks into a growing café that specializes in premium coffee and freshly made breakfast, lunch items, and catering.
“The breaks weren’t there so I had to make my own breaks,” said Parks, who rode out the early years while at the same time learning how to run the business.
He added: “It was a tremendous learning curve.”
Parks also has a business degree in marketing from California State University, Chico, and was part of the American Marketing Association and a Model United Nation delegate. He’s served on the Ripon Chamber of Commerce’s Government Relations Council.
As a young entrepreneur, Parks has been invited as a classroom guest speaker at Heald College in Stockton on several occasions including one earlier this week. It’s was there that he shared his way of running a successful business.
As he patiently awaits the election results to become certified, Parks continues to enjoy his many experiences of his young life.
He’s already lived long enough to know that there’s more than one way of doing things.