Life on the Summit: Hey, Spike! knows talent when he sees it |

Life on the Summit: Hey, Spike! knows talent when he sees it

Talk about a great matchup — Murdoch’s Ranch and Home Supply in Silverthorne and its manager Heather Hutchison.

Heather’s responses to Hey, Spike!’s questions display her enthusiasm for the 26-store chain that opened a store in Summit County last year in the old Bighorn Materials location.

Her selection was likely an easy home-office decision as well. She’s moved up the corporate ladder and in altitude.

“I started working at the Murdoch’s in Littleton as a part-time cashier about six years ago. I found a home with our wonderful company. I became the equine specialist at the Littleton store,” Heather explains.

“After that I moved to the Parker store and became the assistant manager there. When the position for store manager opened up in beautiful Summit County, I had to jump on it. Before finding Murdoch’s, I had worked in banking, but Murdoch’s was a much better fit for me — jeans and boots every day, yes, please,” the 33-year-old Arkansas native adds.

Murdoch’s was started in July 1994 in Bozeman, Montana, and with its distribution centers and home office, employs approximately 1,200 “team members.”

The Silverthorne store has around 40,000 square feet, plus its “yard” in the back of the building where it stocks cattle gates, fencing, water tanks and other materials.

Locally, Murdoch’s has about 35 team members, Heather notes.

“Team” thinking and the ranching lifestyle are strong parts of Heather’s background.

She grew up on a small cow/calf and horse operation in Roland, Arkansas, where her dad is a medical doctor and still lives on the ranch that led to her studying equine science at CSU.

Her mother and step-dad are retired and have a horse property at the base of Mt. Princeton, outside of Buena Vista.

“I moved to Colorado in 2003 for the Varsity Equestrian Team at Colorado State University in Fort Collins, fell in love with this beautiful state, and hope to stay here forever,” she says.

And like a good team chief, Heather credits fellow workers for their efforts, and throws the spotlight on them:

➤ “Elise Schadel is our clothing manager. She moved to Summit County to take on this position. When we were opening our store, there were times we pulled 100+ hours of work per week. Elise was right there on-board. If you wander through our clothing department, her efforts are visible.

➤ “Stetson Mumma is our assistant store manager. I remember interviewing Stetson before we opened in December 2013. Stetson’s drive and “can-do” attitude stood out. We hired him on the spot to work on the floor, and he moved up fast. In a year’s time, Stetson has gone from hardside team member to manager trainee, and now assistant store manager.

➤ “Ben Ferris is our sporting goods manager. Ben was born and raised in Summit County. We hired Ben right before we opened as a hardside team member. His integrity and work ethic led to a quick movement to keyholder and now sporting goods manager.

➤ “Kristina Nickens is our bookkeeper. We hired her as a part-time cashier right before we opened. Since then, she has moved through clothing and is now our bookkeeper and part of our management team.”

As for the other part of the retail equation, the customer base, Heather says:

“We have the best customers around. Murdoch’s is a unique place where folks can find products that make a Western lifestyle possible, which means locals get a one-stop shop for practical needs, and because visitors come here to experience that lifestyle, we are able to serve them well also.”

Heather not only works our Western lifestyle, she lives it.

“I live in a small house on acreage off of Highway 9. I’m thrilled to have found a place where I can have my horses, goats and chickens that is close to Murdoch’s. What a beautiful place to live and work,” she adds. “It didn’t take long for me to realize that moving to this beautiful county was one of the best decisions of my life. I am blessed to live in our beautiful county. I can’t believe it has already been over a year.”


Elsewhere, we congratulate longtime Bill’s Ranch resident Sam Parker on being named the new Copper Mountain Metro District manager.

Sam was the Copper Ski Patrol director for many years, followed up with being director of risk management for Copper, Winter Park and Steamboat for Intrawest, and later he directed resort services and public safety over at Beaver Creek.


In a sad note, we offer heartfelt condolences to the Cindy and Wayne Spaulding family on the recent passing of Cindy’s father, Henry “Hank” Stelling, who had moved here after a life-long career in the San Francisco Bay area.

The Spauldings own The Boatyard restaurant.

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