It was his mother, Hannah, who started what is now fourth-generation family-owned Royer’s Flowers & Gifts.
But Kenneth Royer proved to be an industry pioneer in his own right during a 60-year career with the company.
In September, the Society of American Florists recognized Royer’s contributions, inducting the Lebanon resident into the Floriculture Hall of Fame at the association’s annual convention in Orlando, Fla.
SAF noted that Royer was the first florist in the country to implement computerized systems for his stores and was among the first florists to import flowers directly from South America.
“His business strategies were so successful that in 1998 he published the book, ‘Retailing Flowers Profitably,’ and held dozens of seminars on topics from marketing to management and post-harvest care,” according to an article on SAF’s website. Royer also served on the boards of SAF and the American Floral Endowment.
His son Greg, chairman of Royer’s, accepted the award on his father’s behalf. He said Kenneth Royer “was speechless” upon hearing about his induction.
“The highlight of his year was coming to meetings like this,” Greg Royer said. “He still has a passion for the industry.”
Industry recognition is nothing new for Kenneth Royer. In 1983, he was inducted into the American Academy of Floriculture and named Pennsylvania Retail Florist of the Year. In 1986, SAF presented him with its Golden Bouquet Award. In 2004, he received the FTD Lifetime Achievement Award.
Hannah Royer started growing African violets on the windowsill of the family’s home. She sold them at a local farmer’s market before she and her husband, Lester, converted their two-car garage into a flower shop.
After school, Kenneth Royer helped by delivering flowers to customers. After high school, he joined the business full-time, eventually growing it into one of the largest retail florists in the United States.