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Snapshots from our June 16 Royer’s Kids Club event; see you again on Aug. 25

A big thanks to everyone who joined us for the June 16 Royer’s Kids Club event.

Not only was it a fun time, but it also helped us kick off our annual food drive, Royer’s Stems Hunger, which runs through June 30.

We wish you a happy, safe summer and look forward to getting the gang back together for two more events this year: Aug. 25, when the theme will be fall, and Nov. 10, when we focus on our Bouquets for Books children’s book drive and our Holidays for Heroes card and coloring page drive for active and retired military members.

Meanwhile, if you haven’t officially joined the kids club, or if you have a friend of family member who might be interested, please click here for complete details.

Stems Hunger, our annual food drive, returns June 16-30

While the holidays are a time of great giving, needs in our communities exist year-round. Summers are tough for some families because the school break cuts off access to food programs.

So for the past seven summers, our “Royer’s Stems Hunger” food drive has collected nonperishable items for the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank and for the Greater Berks Food Bank. In its history, Stems Hunger has collected more than six tons of food.

Stems Hunger returns this year from June 16-30. For donating at any of our 16 stores, we’ll give you a free carnation for each item, up to six per visit.

In addition, seven Drayer Physical Therapy Institute outpatient centers in the region will collect food for Stems Hunger.

Meanwhile, the Royer’s Kids Club is helping to kick off the food drive June 16 with an event in each store. Participants are asked to bring a food item as the price of admission.

Our annual rose sale returns May 16-June 16

Roses are most closely associated with Valentine’s Day, but they are available year-round.

They’re a particularly good value in June thanks to the natural rose growing cycle, as evidenced by Royer’s annual rose sale, which coincides with National Rose Month in June.

This year’s sale runs May 16-June 16 with specials including:

  • Three roses added to any arrangement for $4;
  • One-dozen loose red, yellow, pink or rainbow roses for $15.99;
  • Two-dozen premium rose arrangement for $69.99 (normally $89.99).

A rose farm typically harvests its crop every six to eight weeks: conveniently, after the Valentine’s Day harvest comes the one for Mother’s Day. But while there’s another big crop of roses in late spring, there is not a corresponding holiday to absorb all those flowers.

Our rose sale taps into that abundant availability, which makes roses less expensive for us and, by extension, for you, our customers.

Up until the 1970s, Royer’s grew its own roses (and many other flowers) in greenhouses at our headquarters in Lebanon. But when the oil embargo hit and the price of crude oil spiked, it became cost prohibitive to operate those greenhouses.

By contrast, Bogota, Colombia, sits on a plateau, giving it year-round fall temperatures that are ideal for growing flowers.

But we leave nothing to chance. For more than 30 years, Royer’s has made at least annual trips to South America to visit the farms that provide our roses and other flowers. In fact, Royer’s may be the only local florist in the United States that visits South America in this fashion.

As we noted in this blog post, which described the efforts of Tom Royer, who is one of the Royer’s family owners: “By visiting the farms, Tom can inspect the latest crop in the field. He makes sure that the farms cut the flowers at the right maturity. He always carries his measuring tool to ensure that he’s getting the right length and head sizes for the flowers that Royer’s buys.”

Royer’s primary rose variety is called Freedom, which makes a big impression with its deep color, size (flowers range from 5 to 7 centimeters across), and long vase life.

No matter the variety, roses have similar characteristics. However, care requirements can differ whether the roses arrive in a vase, loose or in a box, as these care tips explain.

Of course, with our annual rose sale, it’s a great time to give roses as a gift to someone else or to treat yourself.

Making of Mother’s Day: Butterfly & Blooms Arrangement

Modern Mother’s Day dates to 1908, so there’s plenty of tradition associated with it. But every once in a while it’s nice to add something new to the mix.

This year, Royer’s is introducing its Butterfly & Blooms arrangement. In the accompanying gallery, you can see Royer’s employees hand-crafting the arrangement in our central design department in Lebanon.

Measuring 20 inches high and 17 inches wide, the all around arrangement comes in a 7.75-inch round blue glass vase with a diamond pattern on it. The arrangement comprises a pink lily, pink carnations, hot pink mini carnations, lavender cushion poms, purple daisy poms, peach hypericum, purple statice, and a butterfly stick in.

To order one, please click here.

School delivery: Royer’s participates in Career Vehicle Day at Hoover Elementary

Megan Zeller is a designer at Royer’s Camp Hill store, but she first joined the company as a contract driver for Valentine’s Day.

She brought that delivery experience to Career Vehicle Day at Hoover Elementary School in Camp Hill. Along with sales associate Tracy McEldowney, the Royer’s colleagues explained what it’s like to be a delivery driver to five different groups of students during the morning event.

Royer’s delivery van was among one-dozen vehicles parked outside the school and highlighted careers in everything from package delivery and TV news to police and EMS.

When delivering delicate flowers, Megan said, “We’ve got to be careful, we’ve got to be smart, we’ve got to be able to lift heavy things, too, because there are a lot of heavy things we deliver.”

With the assistance of computer tablets, Royer’s drivers load packages into their vehicles and then deliver them. Megan emphasized the importance of being reliable, “to be where you need to be on time.”

Drivers must be licensed, of course, but they also have to pass a ride-along with a Royer’s manager to confirm that they operate safely when behind the wheel.

Watching speed, checking work

“A little fun fact,” Megan told the students and their teacher, “is that when this tablet is with the driver, we can tell how fast they’re going. So we can tell if somebody is driving over the speed of 60, and how many times they’ve gone over the speed of 60, and then we can talk to them when they come back.”

The students learned that a driver deals with all manner of weather, from lovely to cold and slippery. Megan asked the students what a driver should do if delivering to a house where no one was home and the temperature was too cold to leave the flowers outside.

“Yeah, I might have to bring [the flowers] back to the shop,” she said. “I might have to go to a neighbor’s house.”

Not only do their tablets help the drivers keep track of deliveries, but they keep the store manager in the loop. If Aunt Tilly calls wondering where her order is, Megan said, the store manager can look at the status based on information shared from the tablet.

Tracy said a teacher’s adage to check work before turning it in also applies in the flower business. Clutching a big white stuffed bear and holding two Mylar balloons, she urged the students:

“Just like your teacher tells you now before you turn in your test, check your work, well, you have to keep checking your work,” Tracy said. “Because the driver has to check his work to make sure he gets the righty teddy bear to the right person.”

Help kick off our food drive at June 16 Royer’s Kids Club event

Royer’s annual food drive returns June 16-30.

The Royer’s Kids Club will kick it off with an event June 16 in all Royer’s stores.

Children ages 5 to 12 are asked to bring a nonperishable food item as the price of admission.

They will have an opportunity to decorate their own pot and plant marigold seeds in it and to enter the kids club birthday card design contest (the winner receives a flower delivery on his or her birthday). Each participant also will receive a balloon.

Time slots are available at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

Registration is required by calling or stopping by the nearest Royer’s store.

Scenes from our St. Patrick’s Day kids club event

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Imagine our great luck to spend time with these beautiful faces during our Royer’s Kids Club event on St. Patrick’s Day.

We always enjoy sharing our knowledge of flowers with eager learners!

Be sure to mark your calendars for our next event, June 23 in all stores. We’ll celebrate our annual Royer’s Stems Hunger food drive (to benefit the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank and the Greater Berks Food Bank) and the Fourth of July.

As the price of admission, we’ll ask you to bring a nonperishable food item to donate to the food drive. We’ll announce registration details closer to the date.

In the meantime, we wish you a happy, safe spring. We look forward to seeing everyone again in just three months.

If you haven’t already signed up for the free kids club, you can do so here or by stopping by any one of our stores.

Royer’s Kids Club offers free St. Patrick’s Day event March 17

If you can’t have a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow, then the next-best thing just might be a free Royer’s Kids Club event on March 17 to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day.

Children ages 5 to 12 will have an opportunity to make a St. Patrick’s Day arrangement and will receive a balloon.

Time slots are available at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Because space is limited, we encourage you to call or visit your nearest store right away to register.

To join the kids club, click here.

Riding with Roger

Roger Walton used to work in financial management as a civilian employee of the Department of the Navy.

“I enjoyed it, but after a while, those spreadsheets got to be a little too much,” he quipped.

In retirement, he works as a part-time delivery driver for Royer’s. He joined the company seven years ago, first working out of its old store in Mechanicsburg and now in Carlisle. Twice Roger has been honored as Royer’s driver of the year.

“I couldn’t ask for better people to work for,” he said. “They are nice people and they really know what they’re doing. They make beautiful arrangements that I get to deliver and get the compliment, which I bring back to them.”

On a cold, sunny Friday morning in late January, Roger started his work day with six deliveries. They expressed a range of sentiments, from birthday wishes to sympathy for a mother mourning the loss of her son. At a workplace, the recipient explained to her colleagues that the flowers were from her financial planner.

Royer’s drivers won’t leave flowers and plants if the intended recipients aren’t home and the temperature is too cold or too hot. First the drivers will attempt to leave the packages with a neighbor. Failing that, the drivers will leave a note to coordinate a later delivery.

“Sometimes I’ve had people say, ‘Well, I really don’t know my neighbors,’ ” Roger said. “And I said, ‘This would be a great opportunity to get to meet them and talk a little bit to them.’ ”

Delivering smiles

The Carlisle store delivers to a sizable geographic area, from western Perry County down to the Gettysburg area, Roger said. In a typical day, a driver might cover 200 miles.

Valentine’s Day is among the busiest times of year for Royer’s and other florists. It’s a time for expressing love, of course, but Roger also remembers his first Valentine’s Day working in Carlisle.

“I ended up hitting a deer with a full van of arrangements,” he said. The arrangements had to be transferred to a second van, returned to the store to be inspected for damage, and then delivered.

Roger’s van had to be towed back to the store.

“And I’ll tell you, for a while after that, I was pretty skittish going around corners in forested areas,” he said.

But here he is, years later, continuing to enjoy his time with Royer’s.

“I do really enjoy bringing smiles to peoples’ faces,” he said. “And I think an arrangement of flowers does that as well as anything.”

Valentine’s Day: from field to front door

Whether you’re a planner or procrastinator, online or in-store shopper, you can expect the same high-quality product and customer service from Royer’s.

We really shine at Valentine’s Day. It’s our busiest time, and we enjoy the challenge of rising to the occasion. If a customer buys flowers once per year, it’s probably for Feb. 14. And with matters of the heart, the pressure really ramps up to deliver in a special way, for lovers and florists alike.

We handle a similar volume of orders during the Christmas season, but that’s over a month or longer. By comparison, the Valentine’s Day “season” squeezes a similar volume into several days.

FROM SOUTH AMERICA, WITH LOVE

But behind the scenes, Valentine’s Day is months in the making, and it takes us thousands of miles from our stores.

You see, we don’t just place a phone call and wait for roses to come to us. We go directly to the flower farms in South America, where we can see firsthand the crop that’s being grown just for our customers. This way we can make sure everything is to our satisfaction. If there are problems, then we have more time to correct them.

Once the Valentine’s Day crop is harvested, it is flown to Miami, where it is inspected by U.S. customs officials. From there, we move the flowers to a refrigerated tractor-trailer for their journey to Royer’s corporate complex in Lebanon.

The truck is unloaded at our distribution center. The flowers are either picked up by drivers from our stores or, more likely, headed to the back of the building and our central design department.

CENTRAL DESIGN: THE HEART OF THE OPERATION

The demand is so great at Valentine’s Day that our stores simply can’t accommodate all the work. They get a big assist from central design, where teams of workers gather around long tables to pack roses in boxes or turn them and other flowers into beautiful arrangements.

Whether you give or receive Valentine’s Day roses, or both, we want to make sure you get the most out of them. In fact, with the right amount of care, you should be able to keep your roses looking just rosy for a week.

Click here for specific care instructions, which differ depending on whether your roses arrived in a vase or loose in a box. Either way, it’s best to keep them cool and, of course, sufficiently watered.

From the farm to your front door, we love making Valentine’s Day special for our customers.

Thanks for letting us show you how.