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She won a Royer’s Kids Club contest in first grade, now Emily Swanger is heading to college

Emily Swanger, left, a former Royer’s Kids Club member, with Candace Oliver, manager of our flagship Lebanon store.

It’s not hard to still see the first grader in Emily Swanger, although she’s much taller now and long ago outgrew her “Cool Chick” T-shirt.

Emily had worn the shirt the last time we photographed her, on the day in November 2007 that Royer’s delivered a bouquet of carnations to her at South Lebanon Elementary School in Lebanon County. The rest of her classmates and teachers each received a carnation.

The special delivery was Emily’s reward for being the grand-prize winner that October during the Royer’s Kids Club’s first birthday party.

Emily, who graduated from Cedar Crest High School this spring, said her mother, Norma, regularly brought her to kids club events, which have always been open to children ages 5 to 12.

“My mom said I wanted to keep coming after I was too old,” Emily quipped.

At Cedar Crest, Emily was nominated for senior of the year and with a classmate took first place in a Future Business Leaders of America competition in the category of hospitality management. This summer she is working at the Jigger Shop in Mount Gretna and interning at Gerhart Financial Services in Lebanon, with a mission trip to Costa Rica in the middle.

In August, Emily will begin her studies at Cairn University near Philadelphia, where she plans to major in business administration and minor in Spanish.

She also made time in July to come by our flagship Lebanon store.

At Royer’s invite, Emily helped to recreate the photo of her with her bouquet that had appeared in the Lebanon Daily News in 2007. This time, Candace Oliver, manager of the Lebanon store, posed with Emily; Candace held a bouquet of carnations while Emily held the newspaper clipping.

With a series of photos taken, Candace gifted the bouquet to Emily.

Along with that, we wish her the best of luck in college.

 

 

Royer’s Flowers food drive collects nearly 1,400 pounds for food banks

Deb Bennett, manager of Royer’s in East York, with Geoff Royer, vice president of central operations.

Royer’s Flowers & Gifts’ annual food drive collected 1,381 pounds of nonperishable items for the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank and Helping Harvest, formerly Greater Berks Food Bank.

The Royer’s Stems Hunger event, which took place June 22-July 6, has collected more than eight tons of food since it began in 2011.

Royer’s East York store collected the most pounds of food among our 16 locations.

Donors received a free carnation for each food item they contributed, up to six per visit. Besides Royer’s stores, eight Drayer Physical Therapy Institute locations in the area served as drop-off locations.

We are grateful to everyone who contributed to the success of this year’s food drive.

We need your help naming this arrangement; enter our contest by Aug. 15

We’re giving the current name of this new arrangement a green thumbs down.

And that explains why Royer’s annual name-the-arrangement contest is appealing to the public to rename what is now known as the Garden Box design.

The person who submits the winning name will receive this arrangement (retail value $54.99) as a prize.

The all-around arrangement features a square white-washed wooden box holding three sunflowers, charmelia alstroemeria, carnations, mini carnations, viking poms, purple spray asters, and raffia ribbon.

To enter the contest, visit royers.com/contest.

Limit one entry daily per email address, now through Aug. 15.

Go behind the scenes as four Royer’s colleagues start floral design training classes

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Olivia joined Royer’s part-time at the holidays in 2016. Since December, she has worked full-time as a manager trainee at the Lancaster West store.

On this mid-June 2019 morning, she is in Royer’s training room at the company’s corporate complex in Lebanon. Olivia stands at a work table, in the second row. At the table to her left is Cassie, a manager trainee at the Camp Hill store who has been on the job for four months.

In the front row, also at tables, are Cheyenne, who joined the company a year ago in Camp Hill, and Julia, who has worked in sales in Wernersville for a year and a half.

Cheyenne and Julia have some design experience, but each of the four colleagues is here for the first of what ultimately could be 18 floral design training classes in the coming year or so.

Each lasting a day, the classes will take the students from the very basics of design to the complexities of event work such as weddings.

This promises to be a hands-on experience, under the tutelage of Woody Felty, Royer’s vice president of merchandising/design trainer. He stands at the front of the room, which has its door closed to the adjacent wholesale department.

The students are eager to dive in, but they won’t even touch a flower for the first hour.

‘We are on the cutting edge’

Woody explains how design class is much more than “just learning how to stick flowers in a vase.

“You’re going to learn how to sell it. You’re going to learn how to package it. You’re going to learn how to upgrade it.”

He encourages the students to question why things are done the way they are.

“So I’m going to challenge you to ask those questions as well,” he says. “Ask me if you’re unsure because that’s how we stay on the cutting edge. … For a flower shop, Royer’s is pretty progressive. We are on the cutting edge of technology, designing and everything else for our market and for the demographics that we have in all our market areas.”

He emphasizes the importance of having fun while getting work done in a timely fashion. The key: efficiency.

“I don’t care if you’ve only been here a week, you’ve heard, ‘Be efficient, be effective,’ ” Woody says. “You don’t have to be crazy wild, you don’t have to be super-stressed or busy, steady pace.”

A student interrupts: “Work smarter not harder.”

It’s a mantra within the company, one that Ken Royer, the son of company founders Hannah and Lester Royer, taught Woody decades ago and endures today among newer employees.

Woody notes the product, time and energy that goes into making an arrangement. One of the benefits of having the classes at the corporate complex in Lebanon is that the students are only steps away from the company’s wholesale, dish garden and central design departments and the flagship retail location in the 16-store chain.

Woody notes that the basics the students learn will serve them 10 years hence if they get into event work. Teaching the basics ensures consistency within Royer’s seven-county footprint.

“If a customer orders in Camp Hill … for delivery in Reading, we need to assure them that this arrangement is going to look the same. If they saw it in the Camp Hill store … it’s going to be the same going out the door in Reading,” Woody says.

Arrangements must look like they do in photos that customers see, and they must be “mechanically sound” to withstand jostling during delivery. Woody wants the new designers to use wires when crafting their arrangements.

Royer’s carries five different thicknesses, or gauges, of wire, which can help a designer sure up a stem or position a flower a certain way.

Woody passes out a tool kit to each student, its contents including an apron, wire cutters, a knife, and a colorful, flexible piece of plastic with nubby “fingers” that suggests it would make a useful soap dish. It’s actually a flower stripper, used to remove foliage and thorns.

The stripper will make life easier for the designers, but not if they are too aggressive and damage the stem bark. If that happens, the damaged area is exposed to air and can dry out, which could cause a flower head to droop.

Like wire, floral tape comes in multiple versions: green, white and clear. Green is for use with green floral foam (and matches foliage); white is for white containers; clear for glass vases.

Floral tape can be used to create a grid across the opening of a container, which helps with arranging flowers and adds stability. Tape also helps to combine stems in a bouquet or to mask wire. Choice of color is important in helping to camouflage the tape so it doesn’t detract from the flowers themselves.

Cleaning and safety

The primary purpose of flowers in nature, Woody explains, is to set seed and reproduce. Cutting and arranging them fundamentally alters the role of flowers, but time is of the essence as flowers begin to deteriorate as soon as they are cut.

Refrigeration helps to slow down this deterioration, also known as senescence. It also limits the amount of exposure that flowers have to ethylene, a colorless and odorless gas that occurs in nature.

Fruit such as bananas and tomatoes give off high traces of ethylene and should be kept away from flowers, but bits of cut stems and leaves also emit the gas. This is why flower buckets and cooler floors have to be cleaned regularly and other preventive steps taken to remove sources of ethylene.

“A raw piece of fruit sitting on the shelf in the cooler next to a flower arrangement is going to cause that flower arrangement to not last as long as it could have,” Woody says. “You’ve reduced the potential.”

Woody next discussed safety. Royer’s requires all employees to watch a video on how to safely sharpen a knife and clean tools. After a busy holiday, knife blades get dull and turn green, reflecting a buildup of stems and vascular tissue.

“You’ve got to get that off of there because that harbors bacteria,” Woody says. Bacteria is unavoidable and requires constant vigilance. Twice each year, Royer’s requires that store coolers be emptied and cleaned with bleach.

Woody also discussed the importance of sharpening knives and scissors and using them safely and efficiently: cutting away from one’s body, seeing what is being cut, letting the tools do their jobs to reduce injury risk and bodily strain.

For efficiency’s sake, the dominant hand holds the knife continuously when designing, the other hand holds the stems and sticks them into the arrangement.

“Do not walk around the room with (the knife) in your hand,” Woody says. “If you have to walk to the cooler, close (the knife) and stick it in your pocket. Keep your knife closed.

“There’s nothing worse than walking into the cooler and you’ve got to cut a rubber band off a bunch of carnations to open them up and all of a sudden you don’t have anything to cut with. Then you’ve got to go back out, get a knife, get scissors. … Minimize those steps. We do enough steps in a day’s time, especially when we’re really busy.”

All of those details gone over (some to be elaborated upon later), it’s approximately 9:30 a.m., an hour into class.

“OK,” Woody says, “do you want to make some flowers?”

Royer’s collecting cards and coloring pages Nov. 11-Dec. 4 for area military veterans

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Royer’s is collecting cards and coloring pages for area military veterans Nov. 11-Dec. 4 as part of the American Red Cross’ “Holidays for Heroes” program.

Cards may be dropped off at any Royer’s during normal business hours. Free coloring pages can be downloaded here:

Christmas Tree

Santa

Ornament

Reindeer

Dreidel

The Red Cross offers these guidelines for preparing cards:

  • Use generic salutations such as “Dear Veteran” as cards addressed to specific individuals cannot be delivered through this program.
  • Include messages of support and thanks.
  • Sign your name to them.
  • Don’t include letters or other personal information (photos, addresses).
  • Refrain from choosing cards with glitter.

 

ROYER’S KIDS CLUB GETS BACK TO BUSINESS WITH FREE BACK-TO-SCHOOL EVENT AUG. 25

Royer’s Flowers & Gifts will celebrate the start of a new school year with a free Royer’s Kids Club event on Aug. 25.

Children ages 5 to 12 will have an opportunity to create an arrangement featuring yellow and lavender daisy pompons, leatherleaf fern and a back-to-school stick-in.

Each participant also will receive a balloon.

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

Registration is required by calling your nearest Royer’s store.

‘Royer’s Stems Hunger’ food drive returns June 17-July 1

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Royer’s annual food drive returns June 17-July 1 to benefit the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank and the Greater Berks Food Bank.

For each nonperishable food item, donors will receive a free carnation, up to a maximum of six carnations per visit.

Donations may be dropped off at any Royer’s store during normal business hours.

Additional drop-off locations are available at seven area Drayer Physical Therapy Institute outpatient centers: 3 Jennifer Court, Suite A, Carlisle; 120 N. Baltimore St., Dillsburg; 5000 Commons Drive, Harrisburg; 8125 Adams Drive, Suite B, Hummelstown; 2125 Noll Drive, Suite 100, Lancaster; 755 E. Main St., Mount Joy; 1805 Loucks Road, Suite 200, York.

For the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank’s wish list, click here.

Royer’s presents Red Cross with hundreds of cards, coloring pages for active military and veterans

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Royer’s collected hundreds of cards and coloring pages for active military and veterans as part of the American Red Cross’ “Holidays for Heroes” program.

From Nov. 11-23 in each of our 16 stores, Royer’s invited the public to donate the items, which are destined for military installations, VFWs, American Legions, the Lebanon VA and retirement homes in 22 counties in central Pennsylvania.

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The American Red Cross (redcross.org/centralpa) prevents and alleviates human suffering in the face of emergencies by mobilizing the power of volunteers and the generosity of donors.

Last year in central Pennsylvania, the Red Cross assisted close to 2,000 people affected by nearly 750 local disasters.

Photos: Top from left, Kathy Tracy, regional service to armed forces outreach lead, Central PA region, American Red Cross, and Dena Eberhart, human resources manager, Royer’s; left, the hundreds of cards and coloring pages.

A boo-tiful time at our final kids club event of 2016

Thank you to everyone who joined us for Saturday’s Royer’s Kids Club event, our final one of the year.

As you can see from these photos, we had a boo-tiful time celebrating Halloween and promoting our annual children’s book drive, Bouquets for Books.

Children’s book drive returns Oct. 22-Nov. 5 to benefit public libraries

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Royer’s annual children’s book drive returns Oct. 22-Nov. 5 to benefit area public libraries.

For each book, donors will receive a free bouquet, up to three per family per visit, while supplies last.

Used books will not be accepted.

For more information, including library wish lists, visit royers.com/bouquetsforbooks.

In its first 10 years, Bouquets for Books has collected more than 15,000 books.