Ed Kenney might well be into his 80s, but age hasn’t made a difference as he continues to own Morning Star Trading Co. in Brewster.
For Kenney, it’s been a long and winding road to his most recent endeavor in Putnam County, which has become a recognizable storefront along Route 6 on the border of Carmel and Brewster. It opened 22 years ago, providing customers with goods and items not necessarily found easily.
Originally living in Los Angeles as an actor in the 1980s for many years, Kenney then moved onto a Navajo reservation in New Mexico to help make fundraising videos for Franciscan priests. He lived there for five years.
While he was on the reservation, he collected Native American items and was convinced by his ex-wife to go to the Stormville flea market back in New York to try to sell some of the items. He ended up making a killing that day.
He continued to sell at flea markets for a few years before he saw the building where Morning Star currently occupies as up for rent and decided to take a gamble on opening a storefront. More than 20 years later, he’s still around.
He offers jewelry, mostly sterling silver, made by Navajo and Zuni Indians that is hand crafted. Additionally, he sells potteries, paintings, sculpturing, artifacts, moccasins and other items, many of which are connected to the Native American culture.
There have been challenges along the way; mostly competing against online behemoths like Amazon. But Kenney, 86, has diversified in the past years to offer items to customers they can’t find online.
“A lot of places like me folded,” Kenney said.
Kenney has lived in Mahopac – off and on – for 70 years and currently resides there.
He owned different businesses throughout the years, including a garden center and open- air produce stand in Mahopac in the 1960s and later on a seafood restaurant, which was also in Mahopac.
But Morning Star has been his pride and joy.
“I built my business on there’s nothing in here from China,” he said. “It’s all hand made from New Mexico and Arizona.”