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Upscale Retailer Porto Closes Locations

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Porto, an upscale home furnishing store founded on the owners’ commitment to offering only handcrafted, environmentally sustainable furniture and accessories, announced that it has closed its locations in both Raleigh and Chapel Hill, although all special orders will be filled. Citing the economic downturn and housing slump as a primary reason their business has been losing ground over the past year, partners Michael Perry and Emily Barret also admit that they have not been willing to compromise on their commitment to environmental sustainability. “Porto was founded on the premise that our responsibilities extend beyond the showroom doors,” Perry said. “Emily and I were determined that our collections would be designed and manufactured by companies who practice environmental and social responsibility, and be of the highest quality available. And we knew that what we offered was of heirloom quality. It would last rather than fall apart and end up in a landfill.” But in this economic climate, not enough customers have been willing to pay the price for this level of home furnishings. The current housing crisis has also precluded enough interior design projects to keep the business afloat. Since Perry and Barret opened Porto four years ago, they have also advocated local artists through special in-store exhibits. In 2006, the partners sponsored a successful fundraiser for Habitat for Humanity of Wake County that brought in over $14,000 for the organization. (Another Habitat/Wake fundraiser is scheduled for this year and will proceed with a different sponsor to be unannounced.) The Porto stores were located at 4151 Main at North Hills (Raleigh) and in Eastgate Shopping Center, 1800 East Franklin (Chapel Hill).

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