By early 1827, and established a partnership to operate a store in , Ohio, called . By January 1832, Gilbert relocated to , Missouri, to establish a store called . A council held in Independence in April 1832 designated N. K. Whitney & Co. as a branch of the responsible for overseeing the ’s mercantile endeavors in . This same council designated a branch of the United Firm responsible for similar efforts in . In addition to the , the firm of N. K. Whitney & Co. operated an ashery and in June 1833 took ownership of the in the center of Kirtland where the was to be built. The United Firm was reorganized in April 1834 and Gilbert died two months later. Whitney continued to operate the Kirtland store, N. K. Whitney & Co., independently until 1838, when he left Kirtland.
The firm of N. K. Whitney & Co. has several extant business records. These include a number of loose records, an account book for purchases from merchants in 1833 and 1834, and an incomplete daybook for the store, with entries from November 1836 to April 1837.