Kennedy’s Collectibles, always a pleasure

By MONICA STARK

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Forty-one years ago, Mary Kennedy asked her daughters if they would like to open an antique shop. After all, back then, trinkets and collectibles started coming to her parents’ farm home in Oregon, filling up the place. Then and there, on daughter Tricia’s 19th birthday it was decided to open a business in Antique Row. After all, they had the goods and the passion for collecting to get started. Since then, Mary and Tricia have kept the dream of sharing their love of antiques alive even though they’ve had to downsize over the years.

With Tricia working for the State full time, Mary has had the duty of greeting customers inside their little shop. Always a smile on her face and a story to tell, Mary graces the little corner shop, Kennedy’s Collectibles. By “corner” they don’t mean on the corner of the street. No, the shop is inside the 57th St. Antique Mall, at 875 57th St. Tucked toward the back of the mall, you will find Mary and she will tell you how much she loves some of the items in her store.

“Sometimes I take things up to the desk and I have to tell it goodbye … It could be those two pieces back there … I like those,” she said pointing at an old vase and basket, which dates back to the late 1800s or early 1900s. “If they go up to the desk, I will probably have to give them a hug and a kiss.”

When the two started the business, they began with their own shop across the street from where they currently are, and were there for a number of years before moving to Town and Country Village on the corner of Fulton and Marconi. With all the moving, over time they specialized more in newer products, but when they moved back to Antique Row, antiques took center stage once again.

Tricia said they’ve tended to sell popular products even if they wouldn’t collect them for their own collection. “Because it is a business, you have to have what people are looking for. We had to make changes,” Tricia said, noting that even though they’ve downsized over the years, they are happy to have stayed in business this long.

The store carries a selection of items from Christmas plates and ornaments to antique vases and dolls by names like Precious Moments, Jim Shore, Lori Mitchell and Disney.

Tricia said when Thomas Kinkade first came on the market, Kennedy’s sold a lot of his plates. “Norman Rockwell’s plates were popular for a long time too, but the younger generation doesn’t relate to him anymore. That’s just how things go. Things go in cycles and his stuff hasn’t been that popular anymore.

Ask them to tell you the back-story behind artists they carry, Mary will tell you about their lives before and after they’ve reached commercial popularity. For instance, she loves the story behind Precious Moments artist Sam Butcher. “He lived up near Redding,” she said. “He had five children and no money. But he had talent. Once he started doing his Precious Moments, believe me, they sold. And now he has a resort in Missouri … It’s just beautiful.”

She said over the years, they’ve had many repeat customers who have brought new customers with word of mouth advertising. With Christmas around the corner, they hope business will pick up soon because it’s been rather slow lately.

Asked what it’s like to work together, Mary said: “We found out that she’s boss at one time and I’m boss at the next time.” And Tricia added: “We’ve managed to stay pretty civil with each other.”

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