There were no businesses in the Spanish presidio at Monterey. Trade goods from the missions and passing ships came through, but there wasn't much to buy. Outside the fort, what was the first fixed-location retail business to start up in Monterey?
Early retail in Monterey was either in the presidial paymaster's store, described in Guest's "Municipal Government in Spanish California", or a visiting ship's trading room, described in Graebner's "Empire on the Pacific".
The first independent Monterey trading house was perhaps that of McCulloch, Hartnell, & Company. It set up in Monterey in 1822, 5/8 owned by John Begg & Company of Lima, according to "Cattle Colonialism" by Fischer. The enterprise obtained a warehouse and "a spacious adobe to be used as a tienda" in 1823, according to "The Lives of William Hartnell" by Dakin. Business required Hartnell to travel to missions and other ports, but the company had a fixed headquarters in Monterey.
McCulloch soon split and Hartnell went out of business. Thomas Larkin opened his store in 1834.