The Missoula-based Quality Supply stores are being sold to Murdoch's Ranch and Home Supply of Bozeman.

The sale was announced Thursday by longtime Quality Supply owners Dave and Suzanne Peterson, who will retire once the sale is final on Tuesday.

Quality Supply has fours stores: one each in Butte, Dillon, Hamilton and Missoula. With the acquisition of the Quality Supply stores, Murdoch's will have 21 stores in four states.

Murdoch's will keep all of Quality's 160 retail store and distribution center employees. About 12 Quality Supply administrative staff members will lose their jobs, as Murdoch's runs its operations out of Bozeman.

Murdoch's currently employs nearly 730 people. The company had 17 stores before buying the Quality Supply stores and will open a location in Parker, Colo., in September.

The Petersons, who bought Quality Supply from Dave's parents in 1984, began considering selling their stores several years ago, and said the similarities between the stores made the sale to Murdoch's a natural fit.

"When you look at them and see what your company is, you say, ‘This is the best-case scenario.' We'll get to see the stores grow and improve," Suzanne said.

Both companies belong to the same buying group, stock many of the same brands and products that focus on the western Montana lifestyle and even use the same computer system. Customer service is very important to Murdoch's and "they are really good to their employees, which is really important to us," Suzanne said.

Company president Rick Ungersma said Murdoch's is thrilled at the opportunity.

"We've know each other a long time, we stock a lot of the same products. We understand the western Montana customer and culture. From that standpoint, it works really well," Ungersma said.

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The transition will take place quickly.

The Dillon and Hamilton stores will be closed Friday for inventory. The Butte location will close Saturday; the Missoula location will close Sunday.

As the sale closes Tuesday, the Missoula and Hamilton stores will close, allowing Murdoch's staff a full day to train Quality employees. They will open the next day as Murdoch's stores.

"It's an orientation day, where (Quality employees) can learn more about Murdoch's. It will take more of the fear away and be an opportunity to meet people. Hopefully, get people off on the right foot," he said.

The Butte and Dillon stores will be closed for training on Wednesday.

Quality Supply employees won't see any major changes, the stores even offer the same benefits packages, Ungersma said.

Customers won't notice many initial changes. Murdoch's will learn from Quality Supply and assess possible changes in the future. Sign changes will take place gradually over the next months, Ungersma said.

Murdoch's was founded as Big R Ranch and Supply store in 1994 by John Murdoch. The company changed its name to Murdoch's once it expanded into Colorado.

Murdoch's has both bought and built stores as it has expanded, Ungersma said.

Quality Supply has been run by the Peterson family since it opened as Quality Wholesale in 1965. Clarence and Eunice Peterson ran it until Dave and Suzanne bought the business from Dave's parents in 1984.

Dave will fully retire. Suzanne said she'll consider herself "semi-retired," but won't have a role at Murdoch's. Both will take more time to enjoy their kids and grandkids and pursue various activities.

Reporter Jenna Cederberg can be reached at 523-5241 or a jenna.cederberg@missoulian.com.

 

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