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Towner woman starts courier business

By Staff | Jul 18, 2014

Billi Jo Eriksmoen/Mouse River Journal Merrie Schmidt, of Towner, pictured with her van, recently started Prairie Express, a courier business. Prairie Express conducts frieght runs between Minot, Towner, Rugby, Rolla, Rolette, Dunseith, Bottineau and Willow City.

Whether you don’t enjoy driving in the busy traffic of a city, or are too busy to get away to pick up something you need, there is a new business in the area that is aimed at helping you out.

Merrie Schmidt, of Towner, has started up a courier type business called Prairie Express.

“With the oil business in Western ND, even Minot has an increase of people and traffic,” says Schmidt, “I’ve heard several people say they try to avoid going to Minot if they can. I lived in the Minneapolis area for over 14 years, so the traffic doesn’t bother me too much.

“I’m in Minot once, sometimes two to three times a week. With the price of gas, I try and do as many things as I can in a trip,” Merrie continued.

“Dennis Fritz, from Rugby, had a delivery route for many years, He quit about two years ago when he became sick,” explains Schmidt. “I spoke with several businesses in Towner and Rugby and found that no one had picked up his route, and that the need was still there.

“They can use delivery services out of Minot, but they don’t come this way every day and are expensive. Everyone I talked to was very supportive of me starting up my own delivery route.”

Schmidt has four children, two older daughters that live out of state – one in Minneapolis and one in Ohio. She has a 13 year old daughter at home, as well as a son who is almost 15.

“My son is a member of Boy Scout Troop 433. We are in Minot every Monday evening for his Boy Scout meeting. On those days, I’ll make afternoon pick ups in Minot, and deliver on Tuesday mornings. This should leave Tuesday afternoons open for Cub Scouts, as I am also the CubMaster for Towner’s Pack 567. I will do same day pick up and deliveries on Wednesdays, Thursdays, and Fridays.”

The Henry and Minnie Schmidt family moved to the Towner area in the early 1960’s because of the cheese plant. “My mom and dad used to have a catering business here that they called ‘Prairie Chefs’. I used that to come up with the name Prairie Express.”

In addition to the catering business, Merrie’s father also started a garbage pick up business in Towner. At the time, people had to take their own trash to the dump grounds. He, in a Studebaker pick up, started with helping out little old ladies in the community. He eventually moved up to a dump truck and then a garbage truck as he began collecting garbage from businesses as well.

Much like her parents, Merrie has the entrepreneurial spirit and is hoping that, with her new business, she can fill a need in the community and beyond. She is also looking forward to interacting with new clients and says “I like visiting with people and meeting new people, so I know I”ll enjoy that part of my job.”

Prairie Express will be running freight between Minot, Towner, Rugby, Rolla, Rolette, Dunseith, Bottineau, and Willow City. For contact information to get a hold of Merrie, please call at 701-340-6612.

– Reprinted with permission of the Mouse River Journal.

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