Nothing says, “Hello, neighbor,” like a friendly box full of sweets and other goodies. Two local entrepreneurs, Austin Bayliss of Austin Bayliss Cakes & Onsite Catering and Deborah DePasquale of TOGA HERITAGE, understand that philosophy to a tee. On June 25, the last day of school for the Saratoga Springs City School District, Bayliss and DePasquale delivered custom gift boxes to all eight schools in the district. Just because. “We just wanted to shine a light on our fabulous teachers and education facilities,” says Bayliss, whose daughter attends a public school in town. The day of the drop, Bayliss and DePasquale got up bright and early and spent about three hours visiting all eight of the Spa City’s public schools, giving each one a unique gift box. What was inside? Delicious cookies, shortbreads and whoopie pies—all compliments of Austin Bayliss Cakes—atop plates or platters from TOGA HERITAGE’s beautiful, lifestyle brand products. “At each delivery, they were so surprised,” says DePasquale. “They were genuinely interested in our initiative, and so grateful and extremely gracious as well.”
This wasn’t Bayliss and DePasquale’s trial run. Back in February, the two Saratogians created the fun initiative, One Sweet Delivery, which provides local businesses and organizations with free gift boxes as a way of showing their appreciation to them. Since then, the Saratoga businesswomen have given out free gift boxes to five other locations, including the Saratoga Performing Arts Center, Fingerpaint and The Adelphi Hotel. “I come from a family of service and giving back to the community, [and] I wanted to collaborate with another like-minded business,” says DePasquale. “After meeting and working with Austin on several events, I knew she was of a similar ilk.”
In addition to being filled with goodies from both Bayliss and DePasquale’s businesses, each One Sweet Delivery box also has a branded greeting card in it, with the women’s business information on it, plus a handwritten, personal note from both Bayliss and DePasquale on the back. “I thoroughly enjoy designing these images and crafting each special message,” says DePasquale, who, along with Bayliss, posts the experiences on social media after each delivery.
Though the two have been making these surprise deliveries for almost five months now, they both admit that doing eight schools in one morning was more than a little bit challenging. “This one was definitely our biggest so far,” says Bayliss. “It was a great day!” Despite the heavy load, the two businesswomen are planning on expanding on the concept. They’re already planning their next big delivery, which, Bayliss says, will go out in about a week and a half. Who’s the lucky recipient? “It’s always a secret, and no one knows ’til we arrive,” says Bayliss. “That’s part of the fun.”