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Clerks Creating a Trade Store

Clerks Creating a Trade 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 students make craft items for the trade store and receive payment for their work. The more a student contributes to the store the more they get paid (see below for more details). Students and Parent Leads in the Clerks Activity Group are responsible for packing the Trade Store items, bringing the items to Metini / Fort Ross, setting up the Company store, and getting pay packets ready on Day 1 at Metini / 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 teacher. Keep in mind salaries should NOT be based on historic records. Students 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 “money” each student will receive on site. The more a student makes to sell in the store, the more that student has to spend at the store. Students can then use their salaries to purchase items from the Trade Store.

The teacher has the option of allowing students to earn additional money while in the classroom or on site at Metini / Fort Ross. If and how this is done is up to the teacher. In past years, some teachers 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. Teachers or Parent Leads may also pay students if they perform exemplary work while on site.

The teacher 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 students, however, we recommend that the teacher maintain control of the ledger. Having your students 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 student has earned. On the morning of the second day at Metini / Fort Ross, Clerks will distribute pay packets to each student. Having Clerks pay students as they take their turn at the Trade Store is recommended, as it helps to ensure that no students lose their money before they shop. Pay packets can be made with any of the following: Russian American Company scrip (used historically for transactions at Settlement Ross), obsidian or trade beads used by the First Nations peoples to exchange goods.

Opening the Trade Store – During your onsite ELP, each Activity 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
  • Arrowheads
  • Shells
  • Polished rocks
  • 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 teachers or parents

Use can use this Russian American Company historic Clerks Trade Items at Settlement Ross list for ideas (be sure not to include inappropriate items, such as Russian era weapons. Also use Clerks Trade History & Magazin for native trade item ideas.

Strongly Recommended – that you bring critter-proof containers for any foodstuffs in the trade store