I first met Ana Maria Munoz at my Gather shop in downtown Cary three or four years ago. I was behind the counter slinging coffee and she was a customer, it was Small Business Saturday and she carried one of the totes that we were handing out free in honor of the event. And while Ana Maria was warm and engaging, the thing I noticed most about her was her sense of personal style. She had an “otherness” about her wardrobe that didn’t feel like it was native to the area. It felt more European and urban than things I was used to seeing around here – in a good way.
Flash forward to now and Ana Maria is just about to celebrate the second anniversary of her own store, Port of Raleigh in downtown Raleigh. This Saturday too is Small Business Saturday so it seems fitting to post about her shop now, though I’ve been wanting to do so for a long time. The thing that sets her shop apart is the same thing that I noticed with her wardrobe, it is impeccably curated with a modern, European/traveled flair that is literally unlike anything in the Triangle area.
Located in a new construction building in downtown Raleigh with big glass windows, pops of her signature industrial yellow on the walls, and polished concrete floors, Port of Raleigh is steps away from Poole’s (the best mac and cheese you’ll ever try) and the convention center. Inside you’ll find modern home goods, most of which are imported, think Japanese paper products and Danish metal accessories, but also goods from right here. She fosters and sells the work of a local furniture design company Flitch Furniture, and regularly features the work of local makers and NC State design school students in her First Friday events, all within the lens of modern home goods.
Recently her shop was featured on the very popular design blog, designmilk, and rightfully so. I have been fortunate to travel abroad to many countries as well as cities around the U.S. and my favorite pastime is exploring the shops. I am fascinated by how others merchandise their goods, the products they feature, the trends and patterns, the colors and layout of the shop. It is an absolute passion, nay obsession, and I have the pictures to prove it.
Ana Maria’s point of view is dictated by having lived in multiple countries herself and also having been well traveled and that perspective comes through in her merchandise mix and is her brand’s “north star”. In my opinion, Port of Raleigh is just as good as the best that I have seen, that it is here in the Triangle, NC area portends good things for this region. Lucky as that makes us, if we are even luckier she will find a way to share her perspective on apparel and fashion as well in the future – but understanding shop ownership the way I do, that is a big ask and a lot of pressure for an already overworked shop owner. 😉
You can shop in person at Port of Raleigh Wed-Sat from 11am-7pm& Sun 12pm-5pm, at her online shop, and you can follow her on instagram. Expect to see her adorable daughter Hazel sweeping the front entry, her husband, towering above them both, adjusting window displays and of course Ana Maria and her merchandise picks.
Port of Raleigh is located at 416 S McDowell Street, Raleigh, NC 27601.
Photography by Michelle Smith for Gather Goods Co.