2017-05-18 / Front Page

Cullars reminisces over 60 years of working with Spratlin family

Paul Cullars celebrates 60 years working with Spratlin family businesses. Paul Cullars celebrates 60 years working with Spratlin family businesses. Many have probably noticed the familiar face of Paul Cullars as he shuffles around Spratlin Hardware and Building Supply, and frequent visitors probably know him very well. Cullars has been working for Spratlin for 60 years now, leaving the image of his plaid shirt and suspenders emblazoned into com­munity memory, as he sits tinkering on a fan or other piece of equipment at the back of the shop.

The Lincoln County native began working for the company at the age of 18. “I come in from being a farmer – we farmed cotton, corn – and I thought I was old enough to leave Daddy,” Cullars reminiscently explained.

From that point on, Cullers be­came a mud maker, a brick layer, an electrician and plumber, he does carpentry work, tire work, does cement finishing, and knows his ways around sheet rock too. “And I worked the phone when the boss wasn’t there,” Cullars said.

But, that’s just a short list of his abilities, as Cullars is considered a jack-of-all-trades, and a regular handyman around the hardware store.

“One thing I didn’t do is I didn’t paint, I can do most anything else, that’s just it,” Cullars said. “I told the boss I didn’t like it, so he told me I didn’t have to paint anymore.”

While Cullars officially retired at his 50-year anniversary, he came back to the business as a part-time employee, and has been going full steam since.

“I took sick, and I got tired of going to work, and tired of coming back, so I figured I’d quit,” Cul­lars explained. “I was old enough to retire, but [as you can see] I’m still working – I worked with them because they’re easy to get along with, they don’t cuss on the job, and I don’t cuss, so when you’re with somebody like that you can work with them for a long time.

“I’ve always enjoyed working, I ain’t ever been able to sit down,” he continued. “Even when I got up there in age, I started doing side jobs. I do side jobs on the week­ends.”

“He can do just about everything, from electrical work and plumbing, and as much as you can do in the building industry,” owner Marcus Spratlin said. “He’s honest and good-hearted, and if he says some­thing you can count on it. He’s as good as gold.

“He’s just a great person to have working with you, and he treats the company just as if it were his,” Spratlin added.

This comment was made for good reason, since Cullars began his career in 1958 and began laying groundwork for his longevity with the business, though unbeknownst to himself at the time. Cullars has watched the Spratlin business grow throughout the decades, and watched it change with each passing year since he first began.

“Well, I started off with Mr. John Webb, but then I worked for John II, and then Spratlin and Sons, and now Spratlin Brothers Hardware, so I’ve just come on down with it,” Cullars said. “Their daddy owned the hardware store, and the two sons did the contract work, and I started off working with them as contrac­tors, but I [eventually] got too old to climb the ladders.”

Regarding the current owners of Spratlin Hardware, Cullars laughed as he explained that “one of my bosses – when I started working over here – he wasn’t born, and the oldest one was six years old when I started here.”

“I used to help daddy with con­struction jobs in the summers grow­ing up, and I worked with Paul at that time, of course he was my boss then, still is I suppose,” Spratlin chuckled in agreement.

Today, 78-year-old Cullars spends two days a week working at the hardware store. He may often be found sitting at the back fixing odd and end pieces of equipment, or he could be spotted putting up stock throughout the store.

“I’ve just enjoyed working for them, but I’ve always had a job, and I did what I needed for the job,” he explained. “They’re just easy-going people, so as long as you do your job and act right they ain’t got no problems.”

In consideration of actually retir­ing since he recently reached his 60-year anniversary with Spratlin, Cullars laughed once again, say­ing

“I made a joke out of it – I said they’ll have to run me off or carry me off – so, I really don’t know when I’ll leave.

“[Life] should be like that!” Cullars emphatically stated. “If everybody worked, and stayed all tight all the time, everybody might get along. But I tell them I do a lot of joking and talking. I believe it’s good for you, and I’ve always been like that.”

Cullars is the son of the late Blundell and Mary Cullars of Lincolnton. He is the father of two daughters, one son, and the grand­father of seven grandchildren, all of which he attested, are just as dedi­cated and hardworking as himself.

“I never was afraid of work, that’s one thing, we worked, and we worked hard,” Cullars said. “I enjoyed it, and anything you enjoy you’ll stay at it.”

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