Once upon a time (in 1994), in a land far, far away (actually, it was in a Chiliâs Restaurant in Boise, Idaho), there was a little napkin. This napk.. read morein wasnât just an ordinary napkin, because a man named John Murdoch had just jotted down an idea on its slightly-scrunched-up surface that would soon become something truly grand. John, a native Nebraskan, had been in the ranch and home supply business for some 36 years, and he figured there had to be a way to introduce all the good and useful stuff from that world to everyday folks like you and me, but still maintain the interest of the ranchers. He also figured that if you did something rightâeven a retail storeâit would surely succeed.
So on that napkin he sketched a simple logo, and wrote these three basic principles: carry lots of down-to-earth merchandise, be a place where the whole family likes to visit, be a place where the customer is always met with thanks. He stuffed that napkin in his back pocket, but it set him to thinking.
Thought turned to action in a matter of months, when later that same year John Murdoch took a chance and opened his first Big R Ranch & Home Supply store. When the doors opened that inaugural day in Bozeman, Montana, there were just five bright-eyed employees, eighteen big, wide parking spaces out front, and more than a few crossed-fingers hoping that the new store would appeal to the townâs local ranchers, outdoor people, and well, most everyone. Turns out Mr. Murdoch hit the nail on the head, and by 1996, Big R was growing so quickly he moved the whole store to its present location out on North 7th. Then two years later expanded yet againâthis time to almost 50,000 square feet with literally thousands of first-rate products on the floor. Along the way, more stores were opened in towns like Montrose and Cheyenne, and to help avoid any confusion with other stores out there, the name was changed in 2004 to Murdochâsâwhich also happens to be the name of our founder.
Today, Murdochâs is a pretty darn impressive collection of facts and figures: 15 stores staffed with nearly 700 devoted employees. In stock on any given day there are 120,000 pairs of jeans, 11,000 pairs of boots, and 5,000 pairs of gloves. You can find feed for horses, cattle, sheep, goats, pigs, chickens, rabbits, llamas, dogs, cats, wild birds, and people (if you count candy). Murdochâs supports 4-H, the Humane Society, and dozens of other charitable organizations, and sponsors fun community events like Pet-O-Ween (Halloween costume contest for pets), family activities, and Round Pen Clinics.
So whatever happened to our brave little napkin, you may ask? Whereâs the âhappy ever afterâ part of our story? Itâs true, things have changed a whole bunch since that day, but those three fundamental principles so eloquently chronicled on that fabled piece of recycled tablature still hold true today: the merchandise is still down to earth, and yes, there is a lot of it (and frankly âa lotâ doesnât even cover it these days). Murdochâs is still a place where the whole family can lose themselves for the day and meet back at the car, smiles plastered across their faces. And itâs still a place where every customer is always thanked, and always welcome. If a napkin could be bronzed, this one should beâsince that part of Murdochâs history isnât ever going to change.