When Debra Prince Slosman started Porter & Prince in 1996, she envisioned a place where folks could wander in and leave whatever cares they may have at the door.
“It’s about finding out what ‘home’ means to them. We work really hard on creating an experience when people come to us,” she said. “We’re very invested in an outcome where the shopper or visitor can feel completely satisfied with our carefully curated assortment of products and lines.”
Today, Porter & Prince is the premier and largest luxury retailer in Biltmore Village for higher-end bed linens, sleepwear, vintage pieces, fine gifts, and design services. Their range knows no bounds, whether it’s decorating one room or an entire household.
“We’re a resource for gifts on a day-to-day basis—special, thoughtfully made items you can use in everyday life,” Slosman said. “It’s bringing something beautiful into your home that ideally represents how you want to see yourself, how you’re feeling, and how you want to feel.”
Located in the old Biltmore post office (built in 1895), Porter & Prince is part of a tight knit community of small businesses and beloved national retailers. Together, they showcase the finest of goods and services, complementing the beauty and grandeur of the nearby Biltmore Estate.
“Having a space with all this timeless natural character and a story to tell is what really drew me to setting down our roots in Biltmore Village,” Slosman said. “We see all these wonderful people who come to visit the Biltmore Estate. So, as business owners at the entrance of the property, we know those people will come into the stores and hold us to a high standard—and the store owners meet those expectations.”
With a lifelong love of decorating and designing, Slosman noted the success of Porter & Prince is due to a two-way street of support and passion between the store and its customers.
“We live in a community that values and supports small businesses. I also feel people are still always trying to find something that’s unique and special, and not homogenized,” she said. “And as long as we’re listening to them and reacting so that we’re providing and offering them what they’re looking for, we’ll be in lock step with that sense of how important it is.”
And in an era of massive online shopping, with the world just a click away, Slosman knows that digital technology will never replace the experience and sincerity of being face to face with another human being.
“Our customers can come to us, touch and feel the products, and have an assurance that what it is they’re choosing best meets their needs,” she said. “And that what they’ve purchased is exactly what they’re looking for—instead of clicking the button, the products showing up in the box, and then they have to take it back to return it to the store because it wasn’t what they wanted.”
Approaching a quarter-century in business in Biltmore Village, Slosman can only be thankful for the contagious vitality and golden reputation of Porter & Prince as it pushes forward with its original mission still intact: to make you comfortable in your own home.
“When you put your hand on the doorknob of your house, you leave behind whatever happened during the rest of the day,” Slosman said. “Go inside and feel that everything out there doesn’t matter anymore. Just relax and dial in to that wavelength you prefer to have.”