Evolution of an Art Store

Hull's History

Post-war New Haven 1947: The iconic hobby brands Erector Set and American Flyer are being manufactured in a building that today houses dozens of art studios. Harry Hull opened Hull's Hobbies on upper Chapel Street. Offering the kind of personal attention and service only an independent store can provide. Under his stewardship Hull's flourishes becoming regional icon.

Along with social and technical changes the 1950's & 60's bring competing interests like television, discount stores and suburban shopping. This sociological evolution forces many downtown "Mom & Pop" hobby shops out of business. Fortunately for Hull's it's located two blocks from the Yale Schools of Art, Architecture and Drama. The same materials used by hobbyists to build planes and create train layouts are employed by architecture students and professional architects as they build physical study models. The completion of the Yale Art and Architecture Building in 1963 along with a growing architectural community adds greatly to the demand for a wider selection of supplies.

Throughout the 70's, 80's and 90's art supplies fill the void left by the trains, planes, rockets and slot cars overlooked by today's generation of computer gamers. As Hull's becomes increasingly popular with art students as well as casual and professional artists a demand for picture framing emerges. There is only so much room in a 900 square foot shop so picture framing, cards, prints and art novelties are added in an adjacent storefront.

In 1999 Hull's was purchased by current owner Steve Kovel and in order to more accurately reflect it's modern incarnation he renamed it Hull's Art Supply & Framing. Later that year, Steve moved the business one block east into a former derelict building that he purchased and thoroughly renovated effectively tripling the original selling space.

As the crew at Hull's carry out their mission of providing "Tools for the Imagination" come in and discover that the "Art Store" is no longer the exclusive domain of college students and professional artists; it is now a resource for creative minds of all ages and abilities. Stop in and browse, we'd love to treat you to the same level of personal service that you would have received from Harry Hull over 65 years ago.