Murdoch's Ranch and Home Supply updated its website earlier this week, adding four Montana cities to the Bozeman-based business's drop-down tab of store locations. Those cities were Butte, Dillon, Hamilton—and Missoula.
The locations might sound familiar. When they closed this Monday, they were the links in the popular Quality Supply chain, owned and operated by Missoula's Peterson family since 1965. On Wednesday, they reopened as the latest additions to the Murdoch's network. While the new owners have promised these outlets will retain their character and nearly all of their 175 employees, the locally-owned flavor many customers have grown to appreciate will certainly alter as headquarters moves from Missoula to Bozeman.
"It's bound to change a little bit," Murdoch's owner Rick Ungersma said shortly after receiving the title to Quality Supply Tuesday morning, "but we will continue to empower the local employees and management teams to operate in their communities the way they have. That's a very important part of the success of this, retaining the employees who have made Quality successful all these years. We don't take that lightly."
Ungersma hosted a get-together Tuesday afternoon for the roughly 165 Quality employees who will be making the transition to the Murdoch's crew. He hoped to "ease the fears" that many have expressed. Quality Supply ran a smooth, friendly operation, Ungersma says, and Murdoch's runs its stores in a similar fashion.
This is hardly Ungersma's first acquisition. Murdoch's has stores throughout Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, and Nebraska. Ungersma doubts Quality Supply customers will notice much of a difference besides the name. "We sell the same brands of clothing for the most part, the same brands of tools, animal feed, pet food," he says. "I don't think there's going to be any big shockers."