Robert Murphy, Store Manager, McCoy's Building Supply, Alpine, Texas
Jennifer Boomer Robert Murphy, Store Manager, McCoy's Building Supply, Alpine, Texas

Long distance deliveries are the norm for drivers at McCoy’s remote Alpine store, located in the high desert of West Texas’ Big Bend region. Sometimes there aren’t even roads to travel: On one delivery before he became manager, Murphy found himself rattling down dry riverbeds to get to his final destination in the north part of Terlingua, where rattlesnakes far outnumber the town’s 50 or so residents.

Off the Beaten Track
When I got there, the guy just had rope for a lock on his door. He said, “When I’m at my house in Oregon, feel free to come here any time—just clean up after yourself.” I said, “I’m going to need your help getting out of here first.” We deliver in a 150-mile radius. You have to go 120 miles just to get to a Walmart, and we are 400 miles roundtrip from a mall.

Planning for the Trip
We have two trucks, and we try to schedule where we go. We go to Presidio [a border town on the Rio Grande] every Wednesday. For a full delivery, we can make changes, and sometimes we have opportunities to use a truck from the Fort Stockton McCoy’s. If I have to bring in a new driver, it could be a nightmare with some of the areas where we have to go. What you worry about is being out of radio [contact]. We make sure the drivers have plenty of water. The communities out here support us; they aren’t going to leave anybody on the side of the road.

Texas Travails
You can go through tires pretty quick. Our main focus is to make sure our trucks are in good shape. We check them every evening and in the morning. If anything is wrong, we have a tire place right across the road from us. You never know what the weather will be. We get winds of 50 to 60 miles an hour; you can’t build too much in that kind of wind.

A Varied Custom
We have retirees with custom builds, big ranches—some cattle, some hunting ranches—in the surrounding areas, who need camp houses built, and residential builds for border patrol agents. We have 100 border patrol agents in this area. We got some work out of Sul Ross [State University, the birthplace of intercollegiate rodeo], when they put in the practice field for the new stadium. We have one guy who builds spec homes. Sometimes you never know where your business is going to come from.

Proud To Serve
We offer outstanding service and have a great relationship with our community; 80% of the people who come here, I know by their first name. This is an area where you can leave your door unlocked or your car running outside the grocery store and nothing will happen to it. I feel like I’m fortunate to live here.