Geoff Royer had been on the go for days, including an annual pre-Valentine’s Day trip to South America to check up on Royer’s rose crop.
But on this day, Geoff’s near-constant movement was confined to Royer’s corporate complex in Lebanon, specifically the central design department where teams of associates gathered around long tables to hand-craft arrangements for the company’s 16 stores in seven counties.
Yet Geoff, vice president of central operations, stopped long enough for a brief interview with Patriot-News/Pennlive photographer Dan Gleiter.
“We’ll do about 27,000 arrangements for the holiday,” Geoff explained, the room bustling behind him. “Fifteen thousand or so of those will be roses. We’ll also do mixed bouquets, rose bunches and loose flowers, as well. We’ll do about 10,000 deliveries on Valentine’s Day itself.”
The interview and a photo gallery can be viewed on Pennlive. Meanwhile, several photos appeared in the Patriot-News print edition on Feb. 12.
Helping the heroes
Meanwhile, PBS39’s Berks County reporter Brittany Sweeney visited Royer’s Reading store for her look at Valentine’s Day. She spoke with Jenni Eberly, Royer’s market manager in Berks County.
“With the vases prepped and the flowers pruned,” Sweeney began her story, “less than a week out, Valentine’s Day hustle is under way.”
“This is our Super Bowl,” Jenni explained. “We get very excited.”
She explained how Geoff and his uncle, CEO Tom Royer, painstakingly review their specific flower crop at farms in South America and then follow the shipment as it makes its way through U.S. customs in Miami and onto tractor-trailers for the ride to Lebanon.
“Because even though we’re dealing with this huge volume, we don’t ever want to sacrifice quality,” Jenni said.
That volume totals a half-million roses and carnations at Valentine’s Day. Each one of those roses is “individually touched and cleaned and the thorns stripped, any of the bad petals peeled off so the roses look perfect for their arrival to the customer’s home.”
Asked what he was purchasing, customer Robert Latshaw said: “Definitely roses because I think that’s what everybody wants. Stick with tradition, right?”
Despite the volume, the flowers pass through Royer’s in short order.
“It comes in and goes out very quickly, and at the end we’re helping a lot of people be heroes to their loved ones,” Jenni said. “It’s great.”
You can view the PBS39 story here.