Young couple settling down in Craig |

Young couple settling down in Craig

John Vandelinder

— Master’s degrees in hand, youth on their side and the world at their fingertips, Ryan and Dana Duran faced several options: remain in Denver and become part of the big city, travel the country following a map with no end, or go back to their roots.

They chose the third option.

“We both grew up in small towns,” Dana said. “Ryan is from here. His heart is here.”

Ryan and Dana – a 20-something couple – are now watching those roots dig deep into Craig’s soil.

The couple welcomed daughter Haley into the world Oct. 20 – adding a pivotal piece to their growing family – further solidifying their stance that Craig is their future.

“I think the opportunity to raise our child here is really exciting,” Dana said. “To be able to give her everything that we can give her, including a life where she can try things and yet still live in a protected environment where people care about her.

“That’s the kind of place Craig is.”

The couple met in 2001 on a golf course in Grand Junction as two college students working summer jobs. Ryan worked in the pro shop, and Dana was the cart girl.

But, the match took time to develop.

“It took me a while” to come around, Dana said.

Both were pursuing degrees in Denver – Ryan at the University of Phoenix, Dana at Regis University – so they could afford little time away from their studies.

But Ryan’s persistence paid off, and the couple was married in 2005.

“We didn’t really ask anybody,” Ryan said. “We just kind of did it.”

They tried to live the big-city life for a few years, but an opportunity provided by Ryan’s family was too good to pass up.

“My dad gave us the opportunity to come and run the family store,” Ryan said. “So we came home.”

And home is where they will stay.

Ryan is at the helm of Eastside Liquor, dabbles in his father’s construction company and referees high school basketball. Dana is the executive director of the Boys & Girls Club of Craig.

You could say their fingers are in a lot of cookie jars.

But running Eastside is what brought them here.

“The same day we moved here, Jan. 16, 2007,” Dana said precisely, “we started working at the store.”

Bud Light is their No. 1 seller, but the duo said the store has much more to offer than domestic light beer.

“Our wine selection is pretty big,” Ryan said, “and also, I think it’s a clean and inviting store. The staff is friendly and really knowledgeable about different products, so if people are looking for something different, or unusual, we normally have it.”

Different or unusual? Yes.

Leaving Craig? No way.

“We are really happy to be here,” Dana said. “It was a hard transition, initially, but it’s really working out for us.

“We hope to continue to give back to the community as it’s given to us.”

And as far as they’re concerned – for many years to follow.


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