When the pandemic forced Saratoga businesses to temporarily close their doors back in March, it didn’t take long for Marianne Barker and Maddy Zanetti, co-owners of Impressions of Saratoga, to jump into action. Just days after closing their Broadway gift shop, the pair put together their first two Porch Packages—linen bags filled with assorted goodies from the store that customers could have delivered directly to the porch of their choice.
Flash forward to mid-June, and there is now a total of 27 Porch Package options, with themes that range from “Graduation” and “Snack Attack” to “Coffee Lover” and “Breakfast in Bed,” listed on impressionssaratoga.com. (While each package comes with a set list of items, all are customizable.) Barker and Zanetti are even offering a “Saratoga Morning Workout” package, complete with everything you’d need for a morning at the Oklahoma Training Track—even though the Oklahoma isn’t open to the public this summer—and plan on putting one together with Saratoga Race Course merchandise for the potentially fan-less track season.
While the clever Porch Packages ensured that Impressions had a steady source of income throughout the pandemic—so far, Barker and Zanetti have hand-delivered or mailed out hundreds of them—they had an even greater impact on lifting the community’s spirits.
Saratoga Living caught up with Impressions’ two owners to learn just how much their new venture did for their business and customers.
Marianne, tell us about what goes into the Porch Packages?
We discovered a whole bunch of new products—local ones—that we didn’t know about prior to this. And the community really stepped up to support us, because it was a product that they were like, “This is kind of cool—I’m supporting local.”
What was it like selling these special, customizable packages without seeing customers in the store?
You’re on the phone one on one, and it creates such an amazing connection. It’s exhausting; it’s just been Maddy and me for most of that time, and honestly, I went home so tired every day. But you just have this great feeling, like, “Wow, I really feel like
I helped somebody today.”
Maddy, any favorite Porch Package delivery stories?
We have one customer who called and ordered Porch Packages and would say, “Just deliver them randomly around town.” One of the houses that we left one at, I [later] ran into [the woman who lives there] and she was like, “I can’t believe you guys left that Porch Package.” The day that we left it, she was having an awful day—she had just been diagnosed with breast cancer. She went out on her porch, and there was this random package sitting there, and she was like, “It was like you guys knew to put it on my porch.”