47-year-old State College business closes after owner dies

Hap Hull, who owned Hull’s Floor Covering in State College, died after running the business for 47 years.
Hap Hull, who owned Hull’s Floor Covering in State College, died after running the business for 47 years. psheehan@centredaily.com

The late Hap Hull never advertised his business, but that’s because he didn’t have to tell anyone about it.

Everyone else did that for him through word-of-mouth.

Hap Hull began to work in the flooring industry 65 years ago, a craft he honed before opening Hull’s Floor Covering in 1971. The longtime staple, located at the Hamilton Square Shopping Center in State College, shut down after he died in December.

“Not many small, independent businesses can survive these days,” his daughter Kathy Hull said. “My parents were married for 67 years and ran the business together, so not only were they successful in business but in love and marriage.”

Hap Hull and his wife Pat were focused on quality and not worried about technology, their children said. They didn’t have computers and smartphones, and the company didn’t have an online presence until their children set up a website for them.

“I hope people remember my parents as being honest, forthright, my dad had quality workmanship and they had an old school sense of doing business,” their son Ken Hull said. “Their business was not about making a killing. It was about making a living and a handshake was good enough for them to do business with you.”

Hap Hull was “super fussy” and kept a tight rein on workmanship throughout the business, which his son said contributed to its success.

“He was a great guy and nice to get a long with,” Ken Hull said. “He also made sure everyone, including me when I worked for him, did everything right. He wouldn’t accept anything but your best.”

The business, which specialized in carpet, vinyl, ceramic tile and hardwoods, could have continued. Two longtime employees, Ken Hull and Pat Hull, who often completed the bookkeeping and ran the store, didn’t want to run the company without Hap Hull.

“I had no desire (to own it),” Ken Hull said. “My dad mentioned that a long time ago, but knew it wasn’t my thing. He was good about that. I’ve been in the arts, fine art, and have written books and built furniture. He was always super supportive of everything I wanted to do. He was more into the labor end of things. He said to me a couple times that it’s different every day, and he enjoyed being his own boss. He has a solid and good reputation, and I think felt a lot of accomplishment by what he did for other people.”

Shawn Annarelli: 814-235-3928, @Shawn_Annarelli