The internet brings international business to Payson Illinois

Satoru Higashitani travels to Adams County to ship items like antiques and relics to clients in Japan

They might be half way across the world from each other, but they're close partners in the business world.

The World Wide Web has melded the interests of a Payson antique business owner and a buyer from Japan.

Chuck McNett owns The Grainery in Payson, which encompasses a warehouse of antiques and unique finds. And that business has attracted this man from Japan who traveled thousands of miles away to shop and ship items back to his home country.

"I had no idea that we would be selling to Japan four or five years ago. It just so happened that one day that Satoru Higashitani bought eight doors from us, and the next thing we knew he bought them and said he was going to fly in and pick them up. He's been buying from us ever since," McNett said.

It first started online. That business relationship graduated to where Higashitani now travels to Adams County to load up items and ship them back to Japan. Higashitani said he has many clients in Japan who like American antiques and relics.

"I like this type of antiques, so I like here. I like Chuck," Higashitani said.

McNett said he will post items to the internet throughout the year for Higashitani to view. If he likes something, it's set aside until the Japanese businessman can travel to the U.S. to load up another truck of goodies. So that old trunk that's sold in an estate auction here could end up in a salon, restaurant or home in Japan all thanks to an international friendship and partnership that started with just a few clicks on the computer.

Once the items are packed and shipped out of McNett's business, they're sent to Chicago, where they go through customs.

Then, the items head to the West Coast and onto a container ship that eventually makes it's way to Japan.

That whole process can take between two and three months.