our story


Cargo is a journey of spirit, time, and place. We travel the world to find artisans who make craft in the timeless manner of their culture. Where mass production has endangered traditional craftwork globally, Cargo seeks out authentic, handmade and unique items, old and new, from the small manufacturer, the artist, the local merchant. Each textile, furniture piece, antique or house ware tells a story and bears the makers mark.

Cargo was founded in 1996 in Portland, Oregon, by ceramic artist and folk art collector, Patty Merrill. She was looking for a way to encourage fellow makers and artists while sharing her passion for travel and community. She was joined by partner and local interior designer, Bridgid Blackburn in 2008. Cargo’s first location was on the Central Eastside; however, it became most known as a Pearl District landmark destination. In 2014, we doubled our space moving into our current Central Eastside location in a historic warehouse building with beautiful old timbers and a view onto the train tracks.

Over the years, Cargo has worked with artisans and merchants from Guatemala to Vietnam, from the Philippines to India, and from Mali to Indonesia. We have also supported local artists and traders. Many Cargo vendors have become great friends along the way, joining the Cargo family. This spirit of close community is carried on in our store through our talented staff, many of whom have worked there for nearly a decade or more. They have truly adopted the Cargo journey creating all in-store displays and even our own line of stamps and ephemera. 

Customers often say that coming into our historical warehouse showroom is like stepping into another universe. Join us on the journey and take part of it home with you!