Ryan Penny has always loved the outdoors and everything about it. Like many Greene County residents, he knows that there’s tons of natural splendor to enjoy throughout the region – whether it’s through hiking, camping, or just exploring. He’s making it his mission to take that passion for nature and adventure and spread it to everyone. At Camp Catskill in Tannersville, that passion is evident in everything from the products on display at the newly-opened storefront, to the genuine enthusiasm of its owner.
Ryan was born and lived in Long Island for most of his life, but he never missed an opportunity to get out of the hustle and bustle of the city. Ever since he was young, his family made it a point to travel upstate to the Catskills region to explore the outdoors. And he took to it like a fish takes to water. He spent these formative years gaining a deep appreciation for nature and all its beauty and wonder, while also learning how important sustainability is in maintaining the environment. He worked his way through Boy Scouts, eventually attaining the rank of Eagle Scout, an accomplishment he remains proud of to this day.
Though he still enjoyed his regular forays into the wilderness, Ryan soon settled into his first career in film and television. Starting out as a cameraman, he soon became an editor, and from there transitioned into running a non-profit program that prepared low-income city residents to enter the film industry. During this time, he also met his future wife, who shared the same love of hiking and connecting with nature. Ryan made sure to keep his upstate connections, though – after all, he proposed to his wife at the peak of Moose Mountain! But as fulfilling as his current career was, he still dreamed of owning his own shop where he could help people get into the woods and do it more often.
This inspired Ryan to leave his job in Long Island, and to make the full-time move up to Tannersville in January 2020. He could tell that more and more people were rediscovering Greene County and all the great outdoors activity it provides. With an idea and plan in place, he soon set up the first iteration of Camp Catskill. Without a storefront to start, he stuck to online sales, while further broadening his knowledge of both the hiking gear and retail industries. While managing his own business, Ryan took a job at the Leeds Home Depot as an appliance associate, to get a deeper understanding of the business-to-client relationship.
Throughout the past year, however, Ryan has been feverishly working to get the physical storefront in Tannersville up and running. Within the cozy confines of his shop on Main Street, he’s been making the most of his physical space. Ever the optimist, Ryan considers the size limitations to be more of a blessing than a curse. Though it makes selecting which products to stock a little more time and research intensive, he appreciates the challenge. He knows that it’s a great way for him to only stock the best for his customers.
Now, with the store’s opening date set for Friday, March 25, Ryan is looking towards the future. He’s been thrilled with the positive responses to his business so far and is looking forward to being Greene County’s resource for all things hiking. Customers will be able to find a wide variety of hiking gear such as canteens, hiking boots, hiking poles, as well as additional camping gear. Ryan prides himself on his commitment to the environment, and all products within the store are made from recycle and sustainable materials. And he hasn’t forgotten to give back to the community and region that gave him so much, either. As a member of the 1% For the Planet organization, 1% of all his profits are donated to the Catskill Center.
Ryan Penny is just one of the many driven individuals who are helping both residents and visitors discover what makes Greene County so fantastic. It’s proof positive that our communities are on the grow!
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