- Thomas Smith
- A selection of bows at Kenco
Since it was opened in 1982 by Bill Kennedy and his parents, Libby and Harry Kennedy, Kenco Outfitters has been the go-to shop for many Hudson Valley locals and visitors in search of outdoor gear. And now the nearly 40-year-old business has been officially elevated to first place in the hearts of our readers and voters, with a Chronogrammie.
“We’ve always been focused on having the best customer service possible and the most knowledgeable staff,” says store manager Wynter Kennedy, Bill’s son. “All of our staff members actually do the sports and activities of the departments they oversee, and they bring that experience when they help our customers.”
Kenco’s massive inventory includes top-quality equipment and men’s and women’s apparel (including workwear and footwear) and gear for camping, hiking, kayaking, boating, fishing, archery, hunting, running, biking, snowboarding, and numerous other outdoor adventure activities. The store also features repair and maintenance supplies, as well as kids’ products. Fly fishing equipment is a signature element of Kenco’s branding, and the shop is an authorized Orvis dealer.
Kenco’s customer commitment doesn’t end at the register. “If someone buys a kayak and they’re new to kayaking, we’re able to give them a lesson and even help them mount their new kayak on their car,” Kennedy says. “And if they need more lessons or assistance with anything later on, we’re happy to help with that, too.”
After months of providing curbside pickup for online sales during the lockdown, Kenco reopened—with mask and social distancing requirements, plexiglass counter shielding, and other health protocols in place—in mid-June. Owners and staff members feel fortunate that their industry supports activities that are relatively low-risk when it comes to the spread of COVID. “One of the few good things [about the closures] is that more people have more free time to do or try the outdoor activities they’ve always wanted to try,” says Kennedy, who is also stocking HempHouse sanitizer and body cleanser in-store. “The outdoors are the one place people can feel safe. It’s pretty hard to be hiking up the side of a mountain and get coronavirus.”