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Selling to the world from Jamestown

Shawn Herrick is the founder and principal owner of Prairie Grit, an online marketplace operated from Jamestown. Submitted photo

Shawn Herrick is planning on creating a worldwide marketplace headquartered right here in Jamestown. Herrick is principal owner of Prairie Grit, which launched its online presence recently.

"What it is is an online marketplace," he said, defining the operation. "A place to buy and sell goods, much like eBay or Etsy."

Sellers consign goods to eBay and buyers can make bids through an online auction process or purchase the item immediately. Etsy offers similar services but focuses on art items and handmade crafts.

Herrick said Prairie Grit will have a different pricing structure to make it stand apart from its older competitors.

"We offer better pricing than the bigger market places," he said. "We built a marketplace that doesn't nickel and dime people."

Rather than percentage based commissions, Prairie Grit has monthly fees based on the number of products the vendor lists, Herrick said.

Prairie Grit can be found at Herrick is utilizing his 10 years of marketing experience to promote the new business.

"It is still going to be an uphill battle," he said, "but it was quite an experience to get the site launched."

Current efforts include drawing more sellers and buyers to the site. Current offerings include antiques and collectibles, handmade items and food and drink. Buyers can add items to the shopping cart or ask questions of the seller.

Herrick said he thinks Prairie Grit will continue to grow. It currently works only with American sellers.

"In a year, maybe year and a half, we want to open to the worldwide market," he said. "We want to build an ecommerce platform that competes at an international level right here in North Dakota."

Herrick said that would help him meet his goal of never leaving the state.

"Basically, I'm from Jamestown and love North Dakota," he said. "I don't intend to leave."