Dry Goods Store

Within the southern Dry Good Store were three separate shops or retail outlets-the Little Shop, the Fort William Shop, and the Equipment Shop.

The Little Shop
Since the Little Shop was the place gentlemen and clerks made purchases for themselves and their families, much of its merchandise was of high quality. Waistcoats of scarlet cassimere and dimity quilting; trousers of nankeen, fine corduroy and blue cloth; super-fine razors, toothbrushes, fiddle strings, and snuff; leather pocket ink stands, girls' morocco shoes, beaver hats, printed shawls-these are just a few of the interesting items listed in the inventories for this Shop.

The Fort William Shop
Here goods were dispensed for Fort William as a separate department within the Company. Like other North West Company posts, Fort William received an annual "outfit" of goods and provisions. To the Indian Shop went goods destined for conducting the local fur trade, while to the Fort William Shop went goods needed to keep the Fort functioning and its personnel supplied on a year-round basis.

The Equipment Shop
"Equipment" or "équipement" is the term for articles given to North West Company personnel as part of their contract, over and above their wages. These included blankets, cloth, sometimes clothing, knives and beads. The exact content of an equipment seemed to depend on the status of the individual's occupation, and the place to which he was assigned. Thus a blacksmith wintering in the Athabasca would receive more in his equipment than an ordinary voyageur going to Fort William and returning to Montreal in the same season. Winterers received their annual equipment before leaving Fort William for the northwest in the Equipment Shop and also made purchases there for themselves and their families.