Shane Parson expressed frustration to the Ceres City Council last week about his downtown Ceres business venture not being given business after all the donations he has given the community.
Parson owns Diamond Bar Arena southwest of Ceres as well as Embroidery Plus, a Fourth Street shop that makes silk screen T-shirt designs, decals, postcards, brochures and signs.
Earlier in the day Parson said he was called by a man trying to sell his Diamond Bar Arena on a backstop sign on a soccer field. He was agreeable but then got upset when he found out that the city was using an out-of-town business to do signs.
The request came about two months after the city asked Parson if he'd be willing to put a 4-foot by 8-foot advertising sign there for five years at a cost of $25,000. At that time the city said they didn't know who was going to be making the signs.
Parson told the council he vented his frustrations to City Engineer Daryl Jordan and had to "calm down a little bit about some of the things that are done." He said while he's always supportive with cash donations - like $500 to the Ceres Police Beards for Kids toy drive last month - he feels the city and groups find ways to not do business with his Embroidery Plus shop.
"We tried to do the shirts here for the city (and was told) ‘Oh well, we can get them over the internet cheaper because now they embroidery for free," said Parson. "I'm not sure if spending our dollars on the internet or spending our dollars in Modesto or spending our dollars somewhere else is going to create business downtown."
Parson said he only gets "jerked around" by Ceres Youth Baseball when he bids on supplying their jerseys.
"I'm certainly asked to give money but most of the time I'm not asked to try to make a buck so it gets a little bit old."
Mayor Chris Vierra asked City Manager Toby Wells "what more can we do?" who gave a history of times the city had to correct its buying policy to prefer local vendors.
"Purchasing and spending locally within reason is what we as a council want," said Vierra.
Wells said the city's purchasing policy calls for local vendors to receive preference but noted anything over $2,000 requires a bidding process. It also depends on the funding source.
Because the signs were a public works contract, Wells said "we don't have the ability in a public works contract to have local preference.
"We have lots of businesses in town that we need to make sure ... we utilize them," said the mayor.