By Kayla Anderson
Last week a new convenience store opened up on 847 Frontage Road in Walker Lake called Bighorn Crossing, which now offers road trippers and locals a place to stop and grab some snacks. Bighorn Crossing used to be the home of a barbecue joint called Buffalo Stop which closed down more than three years ago. In early September, Marty Neff took over the lease, changed the name, and reopened, and Neff says he’s been “running around in circles”- in a good way- ever since.
“We opened a week ago today and sell cigarettes, beers, sodas, candy, chips, ice, personal hygiene items,” Neff says. “We also have a decent hot food selection- chicken wings, chicken tenders, chicken sandwiches, pizzas,” he adds. Bighorn Crossing also serves breakfast burritos, coffee, and slushies for anyone passing through.
However, Neff and his family have been busy keeping up with the demand since it opened on September 8, running out of two cases of hamburgers within six days.
“We started out with what we thought was enough food but then ran out of burgers and we only have cheese pizzas left, normally we have a much bigger selection,” Neff says. He believes that the demand comes from being new in town, and he’s seen people come from out of the area just to try their burgers.
People keep asking Neff why he changed the name of the store to Bighorn Crossing and he replies, “Do you see any buffalo around here?” When they say “no” he points out that there sure are a lot of sheep.
Neff and his wife retired three years ago, and she always wanted to own a convenience store, so Walker Lake seemed like a perfect fit. He lived in Reno from 1972-2000 and then owned a tire store in Sun Valley which he sold in 2007 to move to Alaska. From there he met his wife, managed a few businesses, and they came back to Northern Nevada in March of 2017.
“My wife wanted to be someplace with water and it’s close enough to Reno and our daughters,” he says. One of his daughters lives at Walker Lake and helps manage Bighorn Crossing while his other children live in Panther Valley, Carson City, and Southern Michigan.
His daughter from Southern Michigan was visiting Walker Lake and at the shop for the first time with Marty when we spoke.
“How do you like this store?” Marty asks her.
“I think you should expand, add more locations,” his daughter smiles.
Marty explains that all of his daughters have been involved with all of his businesses from when they were young and a couple of them like the convenience store concept.
Being a week into running Bighorn Crossing has definitely come with its challenges, though.
“Inventory control, having enough in stock,” Marty says of some of the Bighorn Crossing’s biggest hurdles. “This is a whole new business different than we’ve ever done before,” he adds.
However, it also comes with its perks.
“I like the people who come in. We offer friendly service, and this is a great place to stop and grab a soda and a snack. Stop by and give us a chance,” Marty says.