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.
In 1991, a reporter for the Lancaster New Era newspaper asked then-Royer’s president Ken Royer how the company had been able to grow from its flagship location in Lebanon to 18 stores throughout the region.
“What we did first was figure out our niche,” Ken said, “determine what kind of store we wanted to be. You can’t be all things to all people and maintain the element of control that is so vital.”
He noted that many flower shop owners could do well with one or two locations if they were relatively close to one another.
“But when we opened the Ephrata store in 1969, we crossed that mountain, so to speak,” he said. “The Ephrata store was in a different county from our Lebanon base, and I couldn’t be there all the time, yet I had to make things happen there.”
Ken’s mother, Hannah, started what would become Royer’s in 1937 without really knowing it. She was just growing African violets on the windowsill of her Lebanon home until a neighbor offered to sell some of the plants at the garment factory where she worked.
What evolved into South Side Flower Shop and ultimately Royer’s Flowers & Gifts comprised only the Lebanon store until the expansion 20 miles east into Ephrata, Lancaster County.
Royer’s acquired the For-Get-Me-Not Flower Shop in Ephrata, which Paul Weik had founded in the 1940s. The store, adopting the Royer’s name, moved from 9 W. Main St. to larger space next door at 11 W. Main St.
It remained there until April 1983, when it relocated to yet larger space, a former Arco gasoline station at 165 S. Reading Road, across Route 272 from the Ephrata Cloister. Jim Martin, who had owned the gas station, joined Royer’s as a delivery driver in Ephrata.
Royer’s spent $100,000 to remove underground gasoline storage tanks and renovate the building, expanding it from 1,500 square feet to 4,500 square feet and adding a greenhouse and walk-in cooler for customers to select loose flowers.
The new Ephrata store celebrated a five-day grand opening in June 1983 with a circus theme and a visit from Miss Lancaster County.
By that time, Ephrata was one of seven Royer’s stores, with a first York store soon to open.
Royer’s had found its niche, which we’ll explore in a separate installment in this series.