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Royer’s Flowers presents American Red Cross with thousands of holiday cards for area veterans

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Continuing an annual tradition, Royer’s Flowers & Gifts on Dec. 7, 2021, presented several thousand holiday cards and coloring pages to the American Red Cross for distribution to area veterans.

Royer’s, which has participated in the Red Cross “Holidays for Heroes” program for nearly a decade, collected the cards from the public in each of its stores throughout November.

WGAL News 8 and abc27 were on hand at Royer’s Harrisburg East store as Barry Spengler, Royer’s chief administrative officer, transferred boxes of cards and coloring pages to Jonathan Glenn, regional program director, American Red Cross.


Royer’s Flowers donates to 10 area animal shelters

From left, Geoff Royer, vice president of central operations, and Tom Royer, president and CEO, Royer’s Flowers & Gifts, which has donated $100 each to 10 area animal shelters. Royer’s sister company in the Columbus, Ohio, area, Connells Maple Lee Flowers & Gifts, made similar donations to four shelters there for total contributions of $1,400.

Plants and animals just go together.

Consider the former that are named after the latter, from cattails to hound’s tongue, elephant ear to bird of paradise, rattlesnake orchids to zebra grass.

Royer’s Flowers & Gifts even offers arrangements featuring plush animals, including Kitten in a Basket and Puppy in a Basket. Under a new program, Royer’s is donating a portion of the proceeds from the sale of those two arrangements to area animal shelter and rescue efforts.

For the first awards, family-owned Royer’s is sending $100 checks to 10 area animal organizations:

Humane Pennsylvania, serving Berks and Lancaster counties; Animal Rescue League of Berks County; Speranza Animal Rescue in Mechanicsburg; Castaway Critters and Humane Society of the Harrisburg Area in Dauphin County;

Cumberland Valley Animal Shelter in Chambersburg; 2nd Chance 4 Life Rescue in Elizabethtown; Columbia Animal Shelter; Humane Society of Lebanon County; and York County SPCA.

“On behalf of the Royer’s Flowers & Gifts family, please accept this gift in support of the love and care your organization provides to animals,” wrote Tom Royer, president and CEO of Royer’s, in a letter accompanying each donation.

The Kitten in a Basket and Puppy in a Basket arrangements are available year-round.

Royer’s Flowers saluting veterans Nov. 11 with free red, white and blue bouquets

Royer’s Flowers & Gifts will honor veterans with free patriotic bouquets on Nov. 11.

The bouquets – featuring a red carnation, a white carnation and a blue bow – will be available in-store only at any of Royer’s 16 locations in Berks, Cumberland, Dauphin, Franklin, Lancaster, Lebanon and York counties.

“This is one of our favorite annual traditions,” said Tom Royer, president and CEO of family-owned Royer’s. “These men and women, along with their families, make great sacrifices while serving our country. It’s our privilege to honor our veterans.”

Non-veterans may purchase the bouquet for $2.10 each.

Royer’s Flowers and sister company in Ohio donate $10,000 to women’s charities

From left, Geoff Royer, vice president of central operations, and Tom Royer, president and CEO, Royer’s Flowers & Gifts, which has donated $7,250 to six women’s charities. Royer’s sister company in the Columbus, Ohio, area made similar donations totaling $2,750 for total contributions to women’s charities of $10,000.

Royer’s Flowers & Gifts has donated $7,250 to six women’s charities throughout its market area in central and eastern Pennsylvania.

Family-owned Royer’s earmarks $10 for women’s charities for every sale of its Admiration arrangement, which is available year-round.

This year’s recipients and the amount of their awards: Pennsylvania Breast Cancer Coalition, $2,500; Junior League of York, Junior League of Harrisburg, Junior League of Lancaster, and Junior League of Reading, $1,000 each; Girls Who Code, Harrisburg/Hershey clubs, $750.

“My grandmother Hannah Royer started our company,” said Tom Royer, president and CEO of Royer’s Flowers. “Our family has a keen appreciation for the vital role that women play in our families and communities and for the importance of encouraging female empowerment.

“We’re grateful to our customers for supporting our efforts with their purchases and to this year’s recipients for the significant contributions they make on behalf of women. Congratulations to each of the recipients. It is our pleasure to support them.”

Kenneth Royer inducted into SAF Floriculture Hall of Fame

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.

Carlisle resident wins Royer’s name-the-arrangement contest

Janet Wright said a carousel reminds her of an amusement park and happiness.

That’s the vibe she was going for with her winning entry, “Carousel of Color,” in Royer’s Flowers & Gifts’ annual name-the-arrangement contest.

Wright, of Carlisle, said she entered just once. Hers was among nearly 1,500 online submissions received between late July and Aug. 6.

Participants saw a photo of the arrangement and a list of its components: a clear dimple vase filled with sunflowers, carnations, daisy poms and charmelia, with accents of golden solidago and purple asters.

Wright said she has been a Royer’s customer for almost 20 years and many occasions.

“We just used Royer’s for my mom’s 70th birthday, and they did an amazing arrangement for her,” Wright said.

For winning the contest, she will receive a Carousel of Color arrangement as a prize.

Mum grower Frysville Farms near Ephrata is almost as old as America

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There’s a bar in the East Village of Manhattan that opened its doors in 1854. A sign in the window greets patrons young and old with a pointed message: “We were here before you were born.”

In northern Lancaster County, Pa., Frysville Farms bests the bar by three-quarters of a century, tracing its origin to practically before the United States of America was born.

“We’ve been here since 1785,” said Simon Fry, who with brothers Tony and Vincent represents the eighth generation of continuous family operation of the farm. A ninth generation is now involved.

Simon oversees sales and shipping logistics; Tony is the chief greenhouse grower; Vincent is the chief mum grower. Simon noted that they help one another out in all facets of the business.

Frysville Farms produces 80,000 mums each year for customers in a three-hour radius that stretches from northern New Jersey to Maryland and Virginia. Customers include garden centers and groceries and organizations that sell mums as fundraisers.

Royer’s Flowers & Gifts, itself a fourth-generation, family-owned business, has been a Frysville Farms customer for years. Its mums arrive in stores in early September.

10 acres for mums and fall products

Although Frysville Farms has been growing flowers since the 1960s, they represent but the latest evolution in the family’s august entrepreneurial history.

That began 200 years earlier, when ancestor Hans Martin Fry set up a grist mill in 1760 along the Little Muddy Creek in what is now East Cocalico Township, several miles upstream from Frysville Farms, Simon said.

Hans’ son Johan Martin Fry, after fighting in six battles in the American Revolution, purchased the farm at sheriff’s sale in 1785. It already had a grist mill, which today, with its exposed timber walls and ceiling, serves as the company’s main office.

When a larger grist mill was built next door, the original one became a saw mill. Downstairs were, at various times, a distillery and a creamery.

With the grist mill’s closing in 1920, the family focused on farming. In 1955, Frysville Farms began growing hybrid poplar trees, according to the company’s website, and in the 1960s it progressed to the greenhouse production of annuals, perennials, vegetable plants and hanging baskets.

Today, approximately 10 acres are devoted to growing mums and other fall products outside. Some two acres are “under plastic,” as Simon referred to the 15 greenhouses used mainly for growing spring crops and poinsettias for Christmas.

Potting in May and June

The cuttings arrive over time starting in late April, as Frysville Farms grows early-, mid- and late-season mums that bloom in early August, late-August/early September, and mid-September, respectively.

Just as candy corn sometimes arrives on supermarket shelves in July, mums aren’t limited to fall. Customers have different preferences, which extends the selling season.

“Some people want their mums early,” Simon said. “We’ll oftentimes have people calling in here, ‘Do you have mums ready,’ and that’s the beginning of August.”

The cuttings are green, just a piece of plant that is stuck in soil in plug trays. Nestled in misting beds in a greenhouse, the cuttings establish roots over three or four weeks.

Frysville Farms depends on labeling and individual packaging from its suppliers to know what color the cuttings will grow into. There will be mums of red, pink, yellow, bronze, orange, purple – in various shades of each.

“And we take great care in making sure to not mix them up,” Simon said.

The first plugs are potted in late May, early June.

Simon broke from an interview to take a phone call. He joked with the wholesale customer on this hot, sunny Friday afternoon.

“You’re going fishing, I know you,” he said.

Stack of white gloves

After the call, Simon related across desks to Tony that the customer wanted all of Frysville Farms’ remaining echibeckia (a cross between coneflower and black-eyed Susan that has a starburst appearance).

Not only do the brothers work together, they (and a sister) all have homes on the sprawling farm.

“Yeah,” Simon noted, “but not right on top of each other. Tony’s right here, I’m up on the other side, my brother Vince is down the road. So we all live separate lives. I think that’s how you’ve got to do it. You can’t be in each other’s hair all the time.”

He added:

“Occasionally I have to fuss at one of them for walking into my hunting spot while I’m sitting there,” he quipped. “ ‘Hey, I’m sitting here, you’re scaring all the deer away. Come on!’ ”

Before taking a visitor into the fields, Simon conducted a brief tour of the office, which also serves as a museum of sorts. In cabinets with glass doors are old mill ledger books dating to 1799; family bibles; books written by the likes of Ralph Waldo Emerson, Rudyard Kipling, Mark Twain, Norman Mailer; medical and legal books. A stack of white gloves is available for anyone handling the delicate pages.

“The Frys were prolific readers,” Simon said.

Outside, he got behind the wheel of a Dodge Caravan and took his guest to the fields and greenhouses, with stops for photos, to check on the irrigation system and to show early-stage mums and poinsettias in a misting house.

Simon marveled at the nimbleness of deer that cause surprisingly little damage to the mum pots. They might occasionally knock over a pot or kick out a watering line.

“You’d think they’d be in here browsing and munching all this nice tender green stuff, but no,” he said.

In another couple weeks, the mums would start to reveal their colors. Then it would be time to start delivering them to customers.

“We’d rather that they color up at your place rather than mine,” he said.






Paige Hershey is this year’s winner of the Royer’s Kids Club birthday card design contest

Paige with her dog, Shiloh.

Lancaster County’s Paige Hershey didn’t sit idle during the pandemic.

For one thing, the East Lampeter Township 12-year-old got busy entering contests. One was for photography, another for writing.

“She’s just driven,” said Paige’s mother, Heather.

That drive led to success for the seventh-grader. Paige had the winning entry in this year’s Royer’s Flowers & Gifts Kids Club birthday card design contest.

Her design will adorn the electronic card that kids club members will receive on their birthdays in the coming year. Paige’s prize is a free flower delivery on her next birthday.

Paige, one of five siblings, loves to draw (mainly horses) and read, Heather said. Paige plays field hockey and basketball and swims.

“She’s a really fun kiddo,” her mother said.

The Royer’s Kids Club is free to ages 5 to 12. With parental permission, children may register for the kids club at any Royer’s store or online at Kids club benefits include a membership card, online activities, a quarterly e-mail newsletter, contests and events.

You name it, you win it: Royer’s new arrangement

Every year for various reasons, Royer’s Flowers reworks approximately half of its arrangements.

This year, one of those makeovers is the focus of Royer’s annual name-the-arrangement contest.

This design features a clear dimple vase filled with sunflowers, carnations, daisy poms and charmelia, with accents of golden solidago and purple asters. It’s only lacking a name.

To view the arrangement and enter the contest, visit Limit one entry daily per email address, through Aug. 6.

The person who submits the winning name will receive the arrangement (retail value $49.99) as a prize.

Entries due July 15 for this year’s Royer’s Kids Club birthday card contest

The winning design in 2020

Just in time for summer vacation, the Royer’s Kids Club has a challenge for children ages 5 to 12.

We’re looking for our next birthday card design, one that all kids club members will receive in the year ahead.

As a reward, the designer of the winning entry will receive a free bouquet delivery on his or her birthday.

To enter the contest, which begins June 14, pick up an entry form at any Royer’s store or download one here.

Entries must be dropped off at a Royer’s store by July 15.

Good luck to everyone. We can’t wait to see what you come up with!