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Royer’s at 85: Planting roots in Lebanon

This is part of a series of occasional blog posts about important events in Royer’s history as the company marks its 85th anniversary in 2022.

Like any great success story, that of Royer’s Flowers & Gifts began humbly in 1937. Hannah (Mom) Royer grew African violets on the windowsill of her Lebanon home. A neighbor who worked at a local garment factory offered to sell some of the plants to her co-workers.

The success that one day would make Royer’s one of the largest florists in America didn’t happen overnight. Hannah’s husband, a teacher in the Lebanon School District, added greenhouses to provide additional growing space.

In 1947, Lester joined the flower business full time. Around that time, the Royers converted their garage into a retail store called South Side Flower Shop and Hannah attended floral design school in Gloucester, Mass.

 

Ken Royer, left, and his father, Lester, at South Side Flower Shop.

‘Most beautiful place to shop’

It wasn’t until 1964 that the family – son Ken was a partner in the business by then; his wife, Jean, was the office manager – introduced what it called a “modern flower shop” to replace the remodeled garage. That new store, at 810 S. 12th St., remains the flagship among the 16 locations in six counties that Royer’s operates today.

Royer’s celebrated the new store with a grand opening March 25-27, 1965.

“You are invited to the Royer’s South Side,” read the headline on a full-page newspaper ad.

The copy continued: “To serve you better, we have created this area’s most beautiful place to shop.”

Not only was the grand opening an opportunity to showcase the new store, but its timing was strategic, too, as Easter fell on April 18 that year.

 

The photo above appeared in the Lebanon Daily News on the first day of the grand opening. In it, Ken Royer, right, presented “floral tributes” to Lebanon Mayor J. Gordon Smith, left, and a representative of the Lebanon Valley Chamber of Commerce.

“The firm,” the caption read, “has completely modernized its quarters at 810 S. Twelfth St.”

 

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