Clerks Creating a Trade Store (Company Store)

Clerks Creating a Trade Store (Company Store)

Items at the Trade Store – Each ELP class has the choice to bring purchased and/or handmade items to use in the Clerks’ Trade Store. You can have student employees make craft items for the trade store and receive payment for their work. The more an employee contributes to the store the more they get paid (see below for more details). The clerks and their officers are responsible for packing the Trade Store items, bringing the items to the fort, setting up the Company store, and getting pay packets ready on Day 1 at Fort Ross. There is also an option to purchase a Trade Box put together by the FRC staff (a $200 collection of treasures). This is a good option for groups that are looking for ways to simplify their ELP preparations.

If you’d like to reserve a Trade Box, click here for details – Trade Box Reservation Form.

Creating a Banking System – Clerks should work out their banking system with the manager (teacher). Keep in mind salaries should NOT be based on historic records. Employees can earn money for the work they do in class and/or for the contributions they make to the Trade Store with their handmade crafts, like beaded necklaces, painted head scarves, woven belts, etc. This payment can help ensure there are sufficient items for the Trade Store, and help supplement the salary each employee will receive on site. The more an employee makes to sell in the store, the more that employee has to spend at the store. Employees can then use their salaries to purchase items from the Trade Store.


The manager (teacher) has the option of allowing Company employees to earn additional money while in the classroom or on site at Colony Ross. If and how this is done is up to the manager. In past years, some managers have developed a payment system for work completed and a system of fines for work that is not completed in the classroom, on site or both. Officers or the manager may also pay employees if they perform exemplary work while on site.

The manager should keep a ledger and record all earnings and deductions. Clerks could be involved with this task, e.g. by adding up totals and reporting weekly or monthly to other employees, however, we recommend that the manager maintain control of the ledger. Having your employees involved in the banking system can be a great way for them to learn math, banking, and bartering, and it provides an incentive to work hard for the class.

Shortly before the trip, clerks should calculate the amount of money each employee has earned. On the morning of the second day at Fort Ross, Clerks will distribute pay packets to each employee. Having Clerks pay employees as they take their turn at the Trade Store is recommended, as it helps to ensure that no employees lose their money before they shop. Pay packets can be made with any of the following: ELP Clerks RAC Scrip (print and cut before coming to Fort Ross, and fill out as many sheets as needed for all company employees), handmade Company money designed and created by the Clerks, or you can simply use our RAC paper currency at the Fort (please return once finished).

Opening the Trade Store – During your onsite ELP, each role group will rotate through the trade store one at a time. This typically happens on the second day of an ELP, while morning chores are being carried out. (Your Instructor might wait until a large amount of the chores are done, before opening the Trade Store for Clerks and Company). We recommend that the Clerks consider putting items out for sale, in a way that allows all groups equal access to a range of the trade goods. For example, put a nice selection of items out for each group one at a time, to ensure everyone gets some good choices.

Suggested Items for the Trade Store –

  • Soaps
  • Wooden combs, wooden boxes, wooden toys
  • Fans
  • Individually wrapped Chinese candy or rock candy
  • Lindt Chocolates (called “Mini Babushka Dolls”), these are seasonal at Christmas time
  • Apples, jerky, licorice, trail mix, dried fruit, homemade cookies
  • Beaded necklaces or bracelets, shell necklaces or bracelets, other sorts of adornment such as rings, pins, earrings
  • Wooden stick dolls or other sewn items
  • Chinese bowls, little Chinese coin bags, chopsticks
  • Wooden eggs
  • Donated items from officers
  • One further idea to create even more of a connection to work, payment, and ownership of needed goods is to have the children buy their own pencil, paper, and their own plate, bowl, and silverware for dinner. One Company charged the employee for the pencil that they had to have to write in their journals, spoons for their meals, and for the comfort of a building to sleep in. It really brought home to the employees how everything was paid for
  • Use can use this Russian American Company historic Clerks Trade Item list for ideas
  • Strongly Recommended – that you bring critter-proof containers for any foodstuffs in the trade store