For almost 100 years, the people of State College have been able to say “Meet me at the corner!” Throughout the years, more and more businesses have come to fall under the same ownership. Now, Hotel State College, the Corner Room, Spat’s at the Grill, Bill Pickle’s Tap Room, The Basement Nightspot, Zeno’s and Chumley’s have become a part of the Heart of Happy Valley.
Curtis Shulman, the Director of Operations, grew up here in State College. It means everything to him that the corner is represented well.
“The key with every owner we’ve had is the focus on our culture on the corner and how we present ourselves. Our employees feel valued, the community knows we’re here and we make the best decisions for the community, not for the business.”
Character is everything to Shulman, which is the importance of a local business.
“Chains and franchises are great but business models are built on strict operating models. We can adapt, and we are more nimble. We pride ourselves on being something made for this town. We concern ourselves with what makes State College strong, not what makes a restaurant brand strong.”
The ties to the community are strong with these businesses, something that is incredibly important to Shulman.
“We have all of the ties we have to the community. People know who we are. If you want to talk to our CEO, you just have to call them.”
Shulman believes in the purpose of The Corner, as a community liaison.
“We are built on the fibers of Happy Valley and Penn State. We continue to strive to focus on what the local community wants, not just what the students want. If there’s things our customers want to see, we want that feedback.’
You can visit any of these businesses on the corner of College Avenue and Allen Street in Downtown State College.