You can see it on the smiling faces on Broadway, in the already-out-of-control downtown traffic, and in the hundreds of people that descend upon Caroline Street on Saturday nights: After a year-long-plus pandemic, Saratoga Springs is back on track.
This doesn’t just mean that vaccinated folks don’t have to wear a mask anymore, and that Saratoga Race Course will reopen at 100 percent capacity. No. Each and every one of Saratoga’s small business owners is breathing a sigh of relief that the pandemic is over, the people are out and about and Saratoga is finally—finally—getting back to normal.
The owners of the businesses listed in the pages that follow have all been patiently waiting for this day, when they can officially announce that their company weathered the pandemic and is all the stronger because of it. These companies—boutiques, designers, salons and more—are open and ready for customers, just in time for Saratoga’s most wonderful time of the year: track season.
Lifestyles of Saratoga: Style Front-Runner
When it comes to track fashion, Lifestyles’ track pop-up shop is a sure bet.
Lifestyles of Saratoga‘s vintage 1964 Shasta camper–turned-pop-up-shop is celebrating its fifth year in partnership with the New York Racing Association (NYRA) with the announcement of a new location: Artists Row just inside the main gate next to the Saratoga Walk of Fame. The Shasta will be at the track for all 40 days of the Saratoga Race Course summer meet selling hats for men and women, wraps, fascinators, clutches and more.
Although this is the pop-up’s fifth year trackside, owner Heidi Owen West believes it’s even more important than ever to collaborate as a community this year. “Highlighting our local businesses and creating a space for our brand trackside shows NYRA’s commitment to our local business owners,” she says. “After 2020, this relationship seems more important than ever before.”
Growing up in Saratoga Springs, Owen West knows as well as anybody how big a part of the city the track is. “It brings excitement to so many people in town,” she says. “I remember going to the track as a teenager each summer with a group of friends. It was exciting! We would get autographs from jockeys, watch the horses in the paddock area, eat hot dogs and pretzels and people-watch—maybe place a dollar bet on a horse with a fun name to win, place or show. The energy was palpable.”
The Lifestyles pop-up shop was created by Owen West to give back to the community she loves. “As a small business owner, I was constantly asked to donate to local charities,” she says. “I wanted to be able to do more for my community and came up with a business plan to give a percentage of all proceeds from the pop-up shop to not-for-profits in need, sometimes even 100 percent of profits. We do that each year for Shelters of Saratoga, have partnered with the Double H Ranch and Wellspring, and each year at the track we give a percentage of sales to B.E.S.T, the Backstretch Employee Service Team. So for me, the pop-up shop and its location at the track is meaningful in a significant way.”
As for track style tips, the fashionista and racing superfan puts comfort first, to ensure maximized fun. “My biggest tip for dressing up at the track is to ditch the heels!” she says, noting that her pop-up’s best-seller is flip-flops for women who can’t handle their stilettos after showing up in too high of a heel. “The ground is uneven, and you’re up and down stairs, on cement and grass. A nice wedge or flat is the key for a day at the track, paired with a breezy linen midi-dress or a floral day dress, and of course, topped off with a hat!”
Hot Crispy Oil
Hot Crispy Oil, the new “it” condiment sold in 300 retailers coast to coast, was born right here in the Capital Region. The small-batch, hand-made treat comes in a jar with yummy garlic, shallots and chili peppers to stir up and can be added to…well, pretty much anything. (Think bread-dipping and avocado toast-topping, or get creative with pizza, pasta or eggs.) You can buy Hot Crispy Oil online, or check its website’s store locator—Saratoga sellers include Fat Paulie’s, Impressions and Healthy Living—for the seller nearest you. Now available in extra hot, too.
Passion. Style. Taste. Savory Pantry is Saratoga’s go-to shop for food fanatics, avid entertainers and cocktail enthusiasts. An ever-changing array of award-winning specialty foods, stylish homewares, well-chosen food and drink books, and racing-themed gifts are all on hand in the Broadway shop, just down the block from City Hall. (The shop ships all over the country, too.)- Think of Savory Pantry for custom and corporate giving, and let its knowledgable staff help you, whether you’re throwing a party, or just want to kick back in style. 486 Broadway 518.450.1130
Posh Brows and Beauty
At Saratoga’s Posh Brows and Beauty, eyebrow and eyelash treatments come first—they’re not just an add-on service like at a regular salon. Posh Brows and Beauty is Saratoga’s premier brow and lash salon, located in the heart of downtown and specializing in brow waxing, brow shaping and tinting, microblading, henna brow and brow lamination. Posh also specializes in lash extensions, lash lift and tint, full face and body waxing and customized facials to meet your specific needs. Visit vagaro.com/poshbrowsandbeauty to book your appointment at Posh Brows and Beauty today. 443 Broadway, Suite #6 518.992.9298
The Saratoga summer is back, and chances are, after a year-long lockdown, you need something other than sweats to wear. Look no further than Lucia Boutique in the Saratoga Marketplace on Broadway, which carries every item of clothing you’ll need for a day at the races, a concert at SPAC or a night out on the town. Stop in today to browse Lucia’s selection of distressed denim, graphic tees and sun dresses, plus accessories such as jewelry, hats and sunglasses. Shop online and in store! 454 Broadway #8 518.587.7890
Interior Designs Atelier
The full-service, high-end Interior Designs Atelier firm provides bespoke design services to private residences, restaurants and commercial properties, in disciplines ranging from traditional to contemporary, and everything in between. Since Interior Designs Atelier collaborates closely with each client and tailors the design to meet his or her individual needs and objectives, the end result is a sophisticated portfolio of spaces that are unique and reflective of the clients’ passions and joys. The firm is not only deeply committed to providing exceptional design and service, but it also sets itself apart by focusing on you—your lifestyle, your dreams and your passions, instead of applying its “style” to your project. Follow Interior Designs Atelier’s designs on Instagram at @interiordesignsatelier! 3 Franklin Square, Suite 6 518.260.1609
The Dark Horse Mercantile
It’s not track season in Saratoga if you’re not celebrating the longshots that have defied the odds in Spa City history, and what better way to do just that than on a trip to The Dark Horse Mercantile? Throughout the summer, you may even get to meet the shop’s 33-inch-tall mascot, Upset the Miniature Horse! The downtown store offers many exclusive items and collections celebrating Saratoga’s reputation as the Graveyard of Champions, so never underestimate the joy of popping in for a quick browse. You never know what you might find! The Dark Horse is open daily and ships countrywide via its website. 445 Broadway 518.587.0689
Impressions of Saratoga
The “Everything Saratoga” store couldn’t be more aptly nicknamed. Impressions is celebrating 43 years of toasting the Spa City with Saratoga- and equestrian-themed gifts, locally made food products and souvenirs. The unique Broadway hot spot is open daily, or visit the shop’s website any time (Impressions ships all over the country). Shop the dog-friendly store’s one-of-a-kind collectibles, gifts, sportswear, home décor and memorabilia, all celebrating Saratoga Springs. 368 Broadway 518.587.0666