Wineshop owner vies for city council

Wineshop owner vies for city council

Wineshop owner vies for city council
May 01
01:07 2014

Nicholas Friedman // Staff Writer

As early voting opened for the Denton City Council District 2 seat on April 28, candidate John Ryan stood at the polls in the early-onset summer heat for six hours to rally voters. Ryan hopes to bring his experience as a leader in the business community full circle during his campaign for council.

As a former member of the Air Force Reserves, former city planning and zoning commissioner, and owner of Vigne Wine Shop and Delicatessen, Ryan has put into practice leadership skills.

He hopes the entrepreneur-like qualities he has developed will add weight to his ideas on city council if elected for District 2 on May 10.

“Strong leadership involves a ‘first you listen, then you learn’ practice,” Ryan said. “Quite often we have people who believe leadership is that the ideas are all that count. I believe in listening to the community, learning all the facts and asking all of the tough questions before making a decision.”

The race for District 2

Ryan is campaigning for District 2, a seat vacated by councilman Dalton Gregory after his decision to run for Seat 5 on the Council. Gregory said he has offered both Ryan, as well as his opponent Glen Farris, a chance to ask him about anything regarding city issues and serving the citizens of District 2.

“If you do it right, it will take much more time than you ever imagined,” Gregory said in reference to serving on City Council. “It is important to really study the backup material, read emails from citizens, follow up on their concerns, return phone calls and research issues beyond information solely provided by staff.”

Gregory said that even though he remains neutral in the race due to his own campaign, he believes each candidate has a different perspective and that they have both done a good job at stating their positions.

Ryan said part of his platform for District 2 involves the protection and preservation of Denton’s historical districts.

“We need to make sure we have a good inventory and plan for not only city properties, but historic buildings in town,” Ryan said. “We have to protect and preserve them. Once a 100-year-old building is gone you can’t get it back.”

Ryan also hopes to make better use of the city’s amenities, making it easier for citizens to travel during large events or gatherings.

“Take the A-Train for example,” Ryan said. “When we a have large event we work with the DCTA to schedule and align with them. If you came into Denton this past weekend for the Arts and Jazz Festival, parking was almost unavailable. We want to find ways around that.”

Ryan’s platform and experience in business have led to the idea that Denton needs a strong leader and Ryan believes he can offer that.

In addition to serving as the Denton Planning and Zoning Commissioner from 2009 to 2011, Ryan has also served as a chair on the city of Denton Construction Advisory and Appeals Board, as well as serving as the president of the Denton Breakfast Kiwanis. These groups brought outlined issues for the citizens of Denton, something Ryan hopes to further as part of his campaign.

“One thing I want to focus on is communication with our citizens,” Ryan said. “Part of my plan is to have citizens’ meetings every month at the North Branch Library with a different city department showing up to each one. Citizens can express what their issues and problems are.”

About the man

Ryan, born in 1965 in Illinois, moved to Denton in 1983 to attend what was then known as North Texas State University to study physics and mathematics. After graduating, Ryan decided that he liked Denton so much that he’d stick around.

Ryan and his wife Carol currently own and operate the Vigne Wine Shop and Delicatessen, which they opened in October of 2009 by the square. Since then, Vigne has developed a regular consumer base that frequents the shop and has become a prime location for people to visit during events on the square.

“The ‘Vigne’ family had the first male child born in New Amsterdam, Jan Vigne,” Ryan said. “When you start following the history back, you find out that Jan moved to America for only one generation, and when he left his sisters stayed. My wife Carol is a descendant of one of those sisters. Others include Franklin and Teddy Roosevelt and Thomas Edison.”

Nathan Fink, general manager of Vigne, said that Ryan is the reason why he has worked at the shop the last four years.

“He’s a wonderful and quiet leader,” Fink said. “I come from the military and so does John, so it was easy for us to mesh from the very beginning because we have the same outlook on work ethic and how to get things done.”

Fink said that he fully supports Ryan and his decision to run for Council, citing his business and military experience as advantages.

“Ever since I’ve known John he has been very involved politically and that is one of the main things that is easy to talk about with him,” Fink said. “Especially at a local and state level. I’ve been hearing his good ideas over the years and I think he would be good for the city.”

Feature photo: John Ryan, running for District 2 on the city council, sits in his store, the Vigne Wine Shop on the Square. Ryan and his wife Carol have owned the wine shop since 2009. Photo by Kelsey Littlefield / Staff Photographer

About Author

Nicholas Friedman

Nicholas Friedman

Nicholas Friedman is the Editor In Chief of the North Texas Daily. In addition, he's had his work published at The Dallas Morning News, GuideLive and the Denton Record-Chronicle.

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