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BLOOMFIELD — Big R, a box store centered around the farming and ranching lifestyle, will open a new store in Bloomfield next month.

The store, which will be the second Big R location in San Juan County and the fourth in New Mexico, will open after remodeling is completed at the former Alco Discount Store location on West Broadway Avenue.

The new store will be a closer trip for shoppers who live on the eastern side of San Juan County who soon will be able to forgo a drive to the Farmington Big R on Main Street.

A Big R opened in Santa Fe in May. A Big R store in Las Vegas, N.M., opened two years ago.

Adam Carroll, vice president of Big R, said the decision to open a store here was an easy one.

"New Mexico is an interest area for us," Carroll said in a phone interview from Big R's headquarters in Pueblo, Colo. "Knowing the market, we believe Bloomfield was big enough that it would serve a good niche with all the rural equine and oil and gas lifestyles there."

The new store will be 1,900 square feet and start with 15 or 16 employees, Carroll said.

"The store will carry everything that the larger Farmington store will have, just scaled down," he said. "If Farmington's got 40 choices of men's jeans, Bloomfield will have 25. The same with firearms. If Farmington's got 100 different pistols, Bloomfield will have 35 or 40 guns."

Big R sells agricultural equipment, tools, fishing rods, livestock and domestic pet food, and clothing like Carhartt and Wrangler pants, cowboy boots and hats, and coveralls.

The R in the name of the company — which started in Lamar, Colo., in 1962 — is meant to evoke the ranch lifestyle, but has grown as the company has expanded.

"A long time ago, it represented 'ranch,' since our roots are formed around the ranch and farming community and lifestyle," Carroll said. "It stands for people who work with animals, live outdoors, work outdoors — a rural lifestyle more than anything, but the R was never designated as any one thing. It's kind of ironic looking back 50-plus years now. It could be for ranch, for rural or rodeo."

Bloomfield will be the 23rd store for the company, which is actually a branch of the Big R co-op started by ranchers whose heirs today run 10 individually owned companies that operate under the Big R name.

Carroll said that Colorado's Big R, which he calls "Big R Lamar," operates its stores in three states — Colorado, where it has the most stores, New Mexico and one store in West Texas, which represents about half of all Big R stores in the country, he said.

Plans to open a store in Albuquerque recently failed, but Carroll said the company is invested in having a larger footprint in New Mexico in the coming years. An Albuquerque store might open in 2016, he said.

Reached by phone on Friday, City Councilor DeLaws Lindsay said he had just returned home from shopping at the Farmington store, a trip he said he makes about once a week. Lindsay is also a professional horse trainer, and has more than 30 horses, donkeys, dogs and cats at his Bloomfield ranch home.

He said the new store would save him a lot of gas and time on his regular shopping trips to stock up on everything from animal food to blue jeans to cowboy boots.

"It's funny, I just got back from there, buying $100 in horse feed," Lindsay said. "I go about once a week, but I probably will go more now that it's closer. I tell my wife, Cheryl, 'Of course I hate shopping, but it's my favorite store.' You know, I'm a rancher."

MORE INFO

What: New Big R store

Location: 1500 W. Broadway Ave. in Bloomfield

Hours: 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday to Saturday and 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday.

Contact info: For details or to apply for work at Big R, go to the Farmington store at 908 E. Main St. in Farmington, call 505-326-7711 or go to the store's website, bigronline.com.

James Fenton is the business editor of The Daily Times. He can be reached at 505-564-4621 and jfenton@daily-times.com. Follow him @fentondt on Twitter.

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