Ranch, home supply store in the works

Murdoch's may open in former Country General building

The owner of 13 Big R Ranch and Home Supply stores plans to open one in the former Country General building in Craig.

John Murdoch, who calls his Big R stores Murdoch's, expects to open the doors of a Craig outlet in the next three months.

Murdoch doesn't yet have a lease on the building, which is at the west end of Craig on U.S. Highway 40. Stacey Mathers, a Realtor with American Northwest Realty who is listing the building, said the deal is not done.

"It looks like we might have something going in there, but nothing's signed," Mathers said. "I don't want to get anyone's hopes up until there's something concrete."

Murdoch is ready for people to get excited, though he too cautions that the contract is not signed. He said the lease agreement is for 15 years.

Workers are already in the 40,000-square-foot building upgrading the plumbing.

"We're excited," Murdoch said. "It's a nice building, it's just weathered badly."

The building has been vacant since Country General closed in 2001. Murdoch said he plans to begin more intensive renovations as soon as the lease is signed.

Murdoch's offers agricultural supplies, animal health products, clothing, feed, fencing materials, hardware, lawn and garden items, pet supplies, tack and toys.

"It's similar to what Country General had," Murdoch said. "But I think the community will find it a significant upgrade from Country General."

The store will dedicate nearly one-third of its space to clothing and the atmosphere will include a working fire place in the clothing department.

"We think Craig will be a good draw," Murdoch said. "It's right on the intersection of two highways."

Murdoch's Clifton store gets a "fair amount" of customers from the Craig area.

"We think this will be a good store for us and a good store for the community," Murdoch said.

Murdoch's runs on three basic principals: 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.

The 12 Murdoch's stores include more than 500 employees -- an average of 41 a store.

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