By Andrea Palmer Harwood
Work continues on a new Darling Doughnuts shop at 441 Broadway in downtown Saratoga Springs.
“Progress has been slower than we had originally hoped, but we’ve reached the last couple weeks of the construction phase of our project. Things are finally starting to come together.” said owner Natascha Pearl-Mansman.
“It’s been amazing to see the space transform,” she said. “Originally it was just an open rectangle with dark brown walls. Now we’ve brightened it up and added our commercial kitchen space and front end. My business partner, Glenn Severance, has been at the shop nearly every day throughout the pandemic, keeping things going as best as he could with all the limitations. Now that things are slowly opening back up, we’re working at full speed to complete what has turned into a six-plus month project.”
Pearl-Mansman is pregnant and asthmatic, putting her in the higher risk category for the coronavirus. A building that housed her previous commercial kitchen closed down, and her husband was furloughed indefinitely from his job.
“We were suddenly faced with a situation where we had no income and no timeline of when things might get better. Honestly, when everything first shut down I lost a bit of steam. I almost felt like my dreams of opening a store were slipping away. But once I stopped feeling sorry for myself, I got motivated and kept moving forward,” she said.
Darling Doughnuts had just gotten construction going and were in the process of hiring employees when state-ordered shutdown occurred.
“We had planned on opening the store in April, but as the shutdowns extended further into April and May, we hit delay after delay. Rather than having teams of people working together, we were limited to having a single worker in the space at a time to keep things moving forward,” said Pearl-Mansman.
She said Severance “really rose to the occasion and took on a lot of the work himself. There were times I thought we’d never see the end of construction, but now everything is finally coming together.”
Darling Doughnuts hopes to open in June.
“I never anticipated opening a storefront during a pandemic, let alone while nearly 9 months pregnant, but here we are,” she said.
“I plan on featuring French macarons from Alchemy Bagel Cafe, and cookies from the Muffin Top Baker. I’ve done pop-up events with both businesses in the past, and I am excited to carry their products when we open. I’m also developing a vegan recipe,” she said.
“I’m so thankful to all our family and friends who have supported us throughout this whole process,” said Pearl-Mansman. “To the people who donated to our GoFundMe campaign, and those that donated their time and skills to keep us moving forward.”