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Displaying items by tag: impressions of saratoga

Valentine’s & Saratoga Porch Packages

SARATOGA SPRINGS — Impressions of Saratoga and The Dark Horse Mercantile are spreading love this Valentine’s Day through cards and Saratoga Porch Packages.

The “Thinking of You” Card Project allows you to to choose from over 500 different greeting cards to write and mail right at Impressions or the Dark Horse. 

Co-owner Maddy Zanetti explains “We have tried to make it fun and easy for everyone. A station is set up with free pens, cards, a mailbox, and even a few prompts to help people think of what to say. Small gestures like cards help to bring smiles and a little brightness during these cold winter days. We have even been writing to friends, past employees, customers, and family.” 

Saratoga Porch Packages are presented in a reusable Saratoga tote and filled with locally made food products and Saratoga items. There are “pre-assembled” Saratoga Porch Packages that can be viewed at ImpressionsSaratoga.com or call to create your own.

Fun new Saratoga Porch Packages include “BEE my Valentine,” “You’re the Bomb,” “Hugs & Kisses,” as well as packages for dog, cat and horse lovers.

Stop in, call 518-587-0666, or order at ImpressionsSaratoga.com. Both stores are offering in-store shopping, curbside pickup and local delivery. For more details call 518-587-0666 or email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


Truffles, Heart Boxes, Gift Baskets & Chocolate Covered Strawberries

SARATOGA SPRINGS — Saratoga Candy Co. is celebrating its 23rd year of business, and oh, what a year it has been since the last Valentine’s Day, says Candy Company of Saratoga owner Dawn Oesch, located at 5 Washington St. 

This year, with safety precautions in place, the longtime Spa City shop is offering a variety of methods to secure their goodies, including curbside pickup, limited people inside at a time for pick up, and local delivery from Feb. 12-14 within 15 miles of Saratoga Springs.

What better way to spoil the one you love or to give a friend a well-deserved pick-me-up then to have goodies delivered (person is masked & gloved!) to their door. 

For more information, go to: saratogasweets.com/loving-our-locals   

Published in Neighborhood Buzz
Thursday, 16 April 2020 12:07

Saratoga Springs Porch Packages

SARATOGA SPRINGS — Impressions of Saratoga and The Dark Horse Mercantile are delivering Saratoga Porch Packages near and far.

In response to having to close our doors until further notice Impressions and Dark Horse have developed "Porch Packages" to send Saratoga Springs to friends and family all over the country. The stores had to come up with creative ways to keep business going through these difficult times. And Porch Packages have been the answer so far.

Each Porch Package is delivered in reusable Saratoga tote and filled with locally made food products and Saratoga specific items. There are basic "pre-assembled" Porch Packages at $25 and $50 price points featuring all Saratoga made food products. As well as, specialty Porch Packages for anyone you can think of... chocolate lovers, dog or cat owners, horse lovers, whisky or wine enthusiasts. Porch Packages are fully customizable.

BUZZ PorchPackage2

Marianne Barker and Maddy Zanetti, Co-Owners, are “contactless delivering” all local Porch Packages by walking (with the Impressions Pups of course), biking, or driving them to their destination. But many are being shipped as well! "Saratoga Springs lovers are all over America and many are unable to visit right now. We wanted to help people brighten up their friends' and families' days," says Zanetti. "We've been very busy with Easter Porch Packages, all of the chocolate bunnies were made by Saratoga Candy Co."

"It has been really fun to work with customers to figure out what they want in each bag. Since people can't come into the store and there are so many options we have become ‘personal shoppers’ in a sense. Helping each person make the perfect Porch Package," says Barker. "We have been really happy with the response. And it is great that we are able to help other local businesses too."

Zanetti says, "Social media has been a huge help, we post photos every day of our deliveries and the Porch Packages we made for people. We have been using the #ImpressionsPorchPackages and people receiving the gifts have been sharing photos as well. We've even had customers order them to be anonymously left on stranger's porches to help people get through these tough times."

Porch Packages can be ordered Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. - 2 p.m. by calling 518-587-0666 or 24 hours a day online at ImpressionsSaratoga.com. Porch Packages are distributed with “contactless delivery.”

Published in Neighborhood Buzz
Thursday, 13 February 2020 11:02

A Reader's View

We are Marianne Barker and Maddy Zanetti, of Impressions of Saratoga located on Broadway since 1980 and the Dark Horse Mercantile, just opened in 2018. Maddy is a native Saratogian and Marianne and her husband Dave have lived here since 1980 with no plans of leaving. We are all concerned over the future of our community events traditionally held in our very special downtown. They include the Fireworks held for the 4th of July celebration and First Night which are not very likely to happen going forward, the Hats Off festival which was cancelled several years ago and though not in immediate jeopardy, the Victorian Streetwalk, Fall Festival and Chowderfest. There are other examples like pond hockey and the many horse shows that have moved out of the city. Today it is increasingly difficult to coordinate the events, pay the new fees to hold them, and raise the sponsorship dollars to fund them. If these things are important enough to us, we need to show our support. This started out for us as a concern for the fireworks but it’s much bigger than that.

Impressions began its history in Saratoga Springs, January of 1980 just as the renaissance of downtown started in the 1970’s was gaining momentum. There were still a lot of open storefronts but Saratoga was well on its way to our current enviable position as one of the best downtowns in America. It was the hard work of so many people that you may or may not remember, who had the vision and ability to see what needed doing and making it happen. The festivals were a big part in getting our town back on the map as a destination for shopping, dining and playing. Many of us, big and small businesses saw the value in supporting these events in any way we could with donations of dollars, support and time. They were one of many pieces that has led to our current success. Over the years the population and businesses have changed and many of our valued partners are no longer here with the memories of what was. Many do not remember Saratoga when there wasn’t much going on and we truly depended on the summer racing season for our town to make ends meet. Though the races surely add a lot to our town, they are no longer the sole reason we exist. The thing that worries us is that without the continual re-investment into our town, big or small, things can change in the blink of an eye. We all have a vested interest in keeping our community the best it can be. The gradual erosion of the things that have made us so special may not impact us today but it’s the future we have to look out for. It’s easy to think that a little piece of support isn’t that important but when too many think this, it has a huge impact. We live in a very special place and have a responsibility to preserve, protect and nurture it for the days to come.

We recognize that every event may not benefit each of us personally or financially but as a whole they help to create opportunities to expose folks to all that Saratoga Springs has to offer. It’s a perfect marketing opportunity to show folks why they should come back to support our businesses which in turn creates more tax dollars to fund our city. Sometimes we have to look beyond ourselves for the greater good.

With that said we plead with our community, businesses and residents alike, let’s help support the things that make us a gem of a destination and to keep it that way. Supporting the Chamber of Commerce who has stepped up to try to save the fireworks, the Convention Bureau who works hard to bring groups to town and the Downtown Business Association that orchestrates lots of special events and all of our organizations and groups that make this such a special place to live, work and play.

Marianne and Maddy

Published in Letters to the Editor
Thursday, 08 August 2019 15:29

A Look at Impressions

Impressions of Saratoga on Broadway adheres to the thought process of “the everything Saratoga store,” according to co-owner Maddy Zanetti and the sign outside the front door.

“Saratoga is a lifestyle that people who live here and visit really embrace,” Zanetti said. “So we have things that celebrate Saratoga’s history with ‘health, history, horses.’”

In addition to horse-based gifts, Impressions has general gifts as well. As Zanetti put it, they have things “for people who are visiting and people who live here year round and may be looking for a birthday gift, anniversary gift or something for their house or friends.”

One aspect of Impressions that sets it apart from many of the other stores on Broadway is the complete acceptance of dogs in and around the store.

“We have a sign in our window that says ‘dogs and their humans are welcome,’” She said. “We have a dog wall, we take their pictures when they come in and we have treats and water for them.”

Both Zanetti and Impressions’s other co-owner, Marianne Barker, also bring their own dogs, Smitty, Cookie, Pupa and Smalls, collectively known as the Impressions Pups, into the store.

Zanetti said that the current stance of allowing dogs into the store has always been in place, but for the Pups, it started with “Smitty was coming in every day, and then Cookie and Pupa started coming in every day and finally Smalls just started coming every day about a year and a half ago. We just keep adding to the collection.”

In addition to the dogs, Zanetti said “we also have a mini horse who comes to the store for special events called Upset.”

She continued by saying that Upset will be at the store this coming Friday, Aug. 9, and that “he does sometimes come into the store, but most of the time he’s outside.”

In addition to the main store, in June 2018 Zanetti and Barker opened up another store called Dark Horse Mercantile next to Coffee Traders, also on Broadway.

Zanetti said “we were walking by the space, we saw that it was available, and we said ‘we should open a store there,’ and we did. And we did it in about three weeks.”

She thanked both the store’s employees and her and Barker’s families for helping with starting up the new store, saying that both of their families had woodworkers and other such handypeople to assist.

She said that the main store currently has about 14 employees, many in high school and college, and four employees that stay for the full year, with the increase being due to more traffic from the racing season.

“This week is one of the busiest weeks, with the Fasig- Tipton Sales,” Zanetti said. “We are always very busy the entire sales week, and of course August and July are the busiest times of the year for us, with all of the people in town for racing.”

She added that the increased traffic has also changed their hours of operation, and that now “we’re open to 10 or 11 every night.”

She also said that the change in racing schedule and resultant extra Dark Day on Mondays has led to a change in traffic flow into the store, but not necessarily a change in overall customers.

“We’re seeing foot traffic at a time when there used to be less, and then we’re also seeing less foot traffic on the Mondays and Tuesdays than we used to have,” she said. “So it’s just an adjustment of when we’re busier. We’re still busy, it’s just a matter of at what times and days. Of course Saturday and Sunday are the busiest days.”

For future plans, Zanetti said that “we try to plan, but also we just do. We’re already receiving our Christmas things and getting ready for the holiday season and our trade show season, which starts in September, we go to shows and buy for next year. And we’re always trying to come up with new fun things that make us unique and bring people back to the store.”

In the search for new inventory, she said that “we have a little bit of everything and we try to find products that are unique. As many as we can, we try to find handmade or made in America, and then we do a lot of the pieces and garments ourselves. We design them if we’re in love with the product and have them custom made for us.”

For more information, visit Impressions at 368 Broadway, or the store’s website at www. impressionssaratoga.com.

Published in Business

Photos provided.

SARATOGA SPRINGS — The Dark Horse Mercantile, a new store coming to 445 Broadway in late June, is the brainchild of Marianne Barker, her husband Dave, and Maddy Zanetti, all of Impressions of Saratoga.

The Dark Horse Mercantile started out as a brand called The Dark Horse, launched by the three in 2014. Items in the brand included a specific line of high-end gifts, memorabilia and garments that embrace Saratoga’s history and love of horses, and of course the Dark Horse. The phrase “The Dark Horse” was coined in 1831 by Benjamin Disraeli in his book called “The Young Duke” and is often used in politics, sports and life. The phrase especially rings true to the history of Saratoga as it is known as the “the Graveyard of Champions.” Saratoga is the site where the legendary racehorse Man o’ War was defeated by an underdog named Upset in 1919 and most recently in 2015 when favorite American Pharoah came in second to Keen Ice.

These underdogs inspired the expansion of The Dark Horse brand. In fact, Zanetti even wrote a children’s book about Upset.

“It’s a spin on the true story that’s all about believing in yourself and overcoming the odds even if you’re the underdog,” Zanetti said.

The book is illustrated by local artist, Gretchen Tisch and expected to come out when The Dark Horse Mercantile opens as well.

“A month ago we would not be thinking that we would be sitting here talking about this,” Barker said. “I just believe in fate and things happening when they should,” she added.

"We’ve been really happy with how The Dark Horse brand has grown and is getting a following... Mare and I have been considering doing a store at some point, but we never had a timeline or anything,” Zanetti added.

Less than a month ago the two were walking their dogs on Broadway, which you may see in Impressions of Saratoga fairly often, and passed a space for rent.

“The next day, we were like ‘we should just do it!’” Zanetti said. So they did. The store will feature a full range of high quality gifts, sportswear, memorabilia and items for the home branded with the Dark Horse logo. The service and attention to detail you have become accustomed to at Impressions of Saratoga for the past 40 years will continue at this new location.

This year Impressions of Saratoga celebrates its 40th anniversary.

“So it’s fitting that we start another project,” Barker said.

Barker and Zanetti go way back.

“Maddy, I’ve known since she was tiny. She used to come in and spend her hard earned dollars on Breyer Horses... another one just after my own heart... just loves horses,” Barker said.

Zanetti has been working at Impressions of Saratoga since 2005 and in 2011, after graduating college, showed interest in one day owning her own business.

“So we were at the point where we were starting to think about the future and succession planning; we had a conversation and Maddy was definitely interested,” Barker said.

“It’s a business that we poured our hearts and soul into forever but it’s just great to know that it could go for another 40 or more years,” Barker said. “It’s really important to us to keep that history going,” she added.

Published in News
Thursday, 27 April 2017 11:43

Neighbors: Snippets of Life From Your Community

Who: Marianne Barker.

Where: Impressions of Saratoga, Broadway.

Q. When did you first come to Saratoga Springs.

A. 1980. From Long Island.

Q. What’s the biggest change you’ve seen in the city in that time?

A. It’s gotten so much busier.

Q. What’s the biggest challenge the city faces in the future?

A. Managing the growth and maintaining the character of downtown, its independent nature. The growth is great, it’s a sign of progress, but it also changes the dynamic.  So, maintaining a balance.

Q. What are you doing today?

A. Placing orders, looking for summer staff.  

Q. What did you want to be when you were a kid?

A. A veterinarian. I was going to be a large animal vet. I was on my way to do that when I met Dave, my husband. He started a screen printing company and I said: well I’ll help him for a couple of years then go back to school. I deferred my acceptance to Cornell, and here I am, without a single regret. I love this.      

Q. Do you have animals?    

A. I’ve always had dogs, kitties, horses on and off. We have a mini-horse here, he’s a mascot for the store. His name is Upset, named for the horse that beat Man o’War.    

Q. What brush have you had with fame?

A. I was lucky enough three years ago to be invited by Congressman Tonko to go to the State of The Union address. So, I did that. There was President Obama, and Michelle Obama was sitting with one of the guys from “Duck Dynasty.” That was pretty cool. Just sitting in this crowd of people and thinking of all the historical things that happened in that room was amazing.  I still get chills thinking about it.

Q. What’s the best concert you attended?

A. Garth Brooks. It was a fantastic show, country music fan or not. And Tina Turner has to take the cake at SPAC. That’s my favorite.     

Published in Entertainment
Tuesday, 22 November 2016 14:44

Small Shops: Founded on American Courage

SARATOGA COUNTY — There is something so quintessentially American about “bootstrapping,” and no one does it better than entrepreneurs and small business owners. Building a business from nothing more than an idea, sweat, and a prayer is a courageous undertaking. It’s something to think about the next time you walk into a small shop filled with hand-made soaps. Or dine at a local restaurant built from a grandparent’s secret recipe. Or even when you pay your neighbor’s kid to mow your lawn.

When a small business owner falls down, he has to pick himself up by his own bootstraps. There are no shareholders to lean on. No high-retainer attorneys or accountants to offer advice. An entrepreneur knows that each mistake could be her last. She knows if she doesn’t work today, she doesn’t get paid.

“When you have your own business, everything is personal. It’s your livelihood. For other people, it’s your job, but for us, it’s our lives, it’s what we do. Even when we aren’t here, we’re thinking about it, thinking about how to make it better,” said Maddy Zanetti, managing partner at Impressions of Saratoga and vice president of the Saratoga Springs Downtown Business Association. “The scariest part is believing in yourself, believing that you can run a store and be successful. You don’t have an employer to worry about that; it’s just you. Of course we couldn’t do it without all our employees, but as a business owner, you are putting yourself out there.”

The risks are so high; you wonder why anyone would even do it. Much as you might wonder why a farm boy in Utah would put his last dime into inventing an electronic camera tube (which led to the first television), or why hundreds of thousands of pioneers would pile whole families into covered wagons to build a new life – and new cities – across wild lands with nothing but the raw skills of brain and brawn.

Debi Gustafson, co-owner of Ye Olde Wishin’ Shoppe at 19 Low Street, Suite 2 (side entrance) in Ballston Spa, said, “The whole thing is a risk really. We had all this inventory and opened the store, and put our own savings in it. A big box store probably has investors and such. For us, it’s a family business, and we’re here every day working all the time. You put your whole life into it.”

Small business owners know they must master being flexible in uncertain times and changing circumstances, or close up shop. Gustafson said her family’s business began with her grandparents, and at one point they lost the shop they were renting because the building was being renovated. For a while, it was running out of her grandfather’s house and her grandma was selling items on eBay. Now they have a brick-and-mortar shop that Gustafson says has been doing better each year since it opened three years ago.

“We’ve evolved into vintage clothing and jewelry and vinyl records,” said Gustafson. “We also now have a lot of handmade local jewelry and other items, including a local photographer with vintage photos.”

The Small Business Saturday initiative that began in 2010 recognizes the tremendous economic contribution entrepreneurs and small business owners have made to the strength of this country. The annual event has proven that shopping small keeps local dollars in the community, positively affecting job creation and economic growth in locales across the U.S.

“I think this is our seventh Small Business Saturday,” said Zanetti. “We’ve done it every year they’ve had it, and it’s grown each year. We don’t offer discounts, but we have a raffle and food samplings and hot cider as a thank you to our customers. We have longer hours and give them the best service possible. We feel offering a discount on that day takes away from what Small Business Saturday is all about, supporting small businesses and giving back to the community.”

Small businesses offer more personalized service, more variety and unique items, and are very likely supporters of local nonprofits and other community initiatives. The majority of dollars spent in a small business stay in that locale. Shopping small on Small Business Saturday, and every day, is one way to say “thank you” to the innovators, artisans, service providers, and other pioneers who keep America working.

“I think it gets better every year,” said Gustafson. “We’re doing three little sales: the first one is buy one - get one half off on all our used vinyl; the second is 10 percent off new vinyl; and then 20 percent off storewide. Each year, more people are trying to shop local and support small businesses and do something different than just going to the mall. It’s cool to see more interest in Small Business Saturday.”

To learn more about Impressions of Saratoga, visit www.impressionssaratoga.com. To learn more about Ye Olde Wishin’ Shoppe, visit www.yeoldewishinshoppe.com. To learn more about Small Business Saturday, visit www.shopsmall.com.

Published in Business


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