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Royer’s Flowers donates $1,000 to Safe Berks emergency shelter in Reading

From left, Tom Royer, Royer’s CEO; Beth Garrigan, COO, and Mindy McIntosh, director of development, Safe Berks; and Geoff Royer, Royer’s vice president of central operations.

Royer’s Flowers & Gifts has donated $1,000 to the nonprofit Safe Berks in Reading.

The funds are earmarked for Safe Berks’ emergency shelter, which serves victims of domestic violence or sexual assault and their dependent children.

The shelter can accommodate as many as 50 people for 30 days and offers professional counseling and educational group meetings. Its staff is available 24 hours per day, seven days each week.

Family-owned Royer’s donates $10 to women’s charities for every purchase of its “Admiration” arrangement.

And the winning arrangement name is … Cottage Garden

A quote from the French impressionist painter Claude Monet adorns SaraJane Barto’s refrigerator: “I must have flowers, always and always.”

Barto, of Carlisle, takes those words to heart, buying flowers for others and herself.

“And I love gardening,” she said. “Couldn’t do without flowers.”

That passion for flowers prompted Barto to submit the winning entry in this summer’s Royer’s name-the-arrangement contest.

Her entry Cottage Garden was selected from among nearly 900 total submissions. The online contest ran Aug. 1-15.

As shown above, Barto received a Cottage Garden arrangement as her 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.

Barto said she has been a Royer’s customer for about a decade, after relocating from California.

“I love our Royer’s,” she said. “Their plants and flowers and leaves just last so long and are so pretty.”

She had won prizes before at home demonstrations or at bridal or baby showers, but nothing like Royer’s contest.

“This is much more important,” she said.

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.

Red Lion sixth-grader wins Royer’s Kids Club birthday card design contest

Madalyn Yorgy of Red Lion, York County, is a creative 11-year-old.

“She loves crafts and theater,” said her mother, Rachel. “She loves to sing.”

Madalyn, who will be entering sixth grade, shoots movies, draws and colors adult coloring books.
“You name it,” Rachel said, “and she makes it.”

That experience no doubt contributed to her winning this year’s Royer’s Kids Club birthday card design contest.

Her colored design of flowers and the words, “Bloom: It’s your birthday!,” will be featured on the electronic card that kids club members will receive on their birthdays in the coming year. Madalyn’s prize is a free flower delivery on her next birthday.

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 at Kids club benefits include a membership card, online activities, a quarterly e-mail newsletter, contests and in-store events.

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

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

Royer’s Kids Club offers free back-to-school event Aug. 17

We’ll celebrate the start of a new school year with a free Royer’s Kids Club event on Aug. 17.

Children ages 5 to 12 will have an opportunity to create an arrangement featuring lavender and yellow daisy pompons, limonium, and a back-to-school stick-in in an orange diamond-cut vase.

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

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

Behind the scenes: Royer’s expanded direct ship program serves 48 states

Royer’s Flowers has come a long way in the 80-some years since Hannah Royer grew African violets on her windowsill in Lebanon, Pa., that she sold at a local garment factory and at area farmer’s markets.

Today, while our brick-and-mortar stores and online presence serve customers in seven counties in south-central and eastern Pennsylvania, Royer’s has vastly expanded its direct ship program. The latter reaches the contiguous United States (everything but Alaska and Hawaii), offering $9.99 overnight delivery via FedEx.

But how does a florist in Lebanon, Pa., send flowers to, say, Lebanon, N.H., or Lebanon, Mo., while ensuring freshness upon arrival?

It takes an eye for detail, which is ingrained in the culture of our fourth-generation, family-owned company, and a commitment to delivering high-quality products and customer service that Royer’s has honed across decades.

In fact, Royer’s has never strayed from its roots: our flagship store in Lebanon is on the exact spot where Hannah and her husband, Lester, converted their two-car garage into a flower shop.

Designers in the Lebanon store create each direct ship arrangement, while our adjacent central design department packages them for afternoon pickup by FedEx.

You can catch a glimpse of this painstaking process in the photos below.

Taylor, a designer in Lebanon, uses two green twisty ties to combine the stems of this Elegant Orchids arrangement. Using white tape, she marks a cutting line one inch from the bottom of the stems. This tells the recipient where to give the stems a fresh cut to promote the uptake of water and nutrients.

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Once each day’s direct ship orders are created, they are delivered to the central design department.

In these photos, Kim, assistant manager in CD, prepares each arrangement for safe shipping. She begins by securing the glass vase with another green twisty tie and adding thick red shredded paper.

“It helps to pack it so it doesn’t shift too much,” Kim said of the paper.

The stem bottoms are wrapped in green sponge, which is attached using rubber bands. The sponge soaks in a water/fertilizer mixture for a few minutes until saturated. This will hydrate and nourish the stems until they arrive at their final destination, where they can be placed in a vase full of water.

In the meantime, a green plastic bag goes over the sponge as a barrier between the stems and the shredded paper and corrugated cardboard box.

The entire arrangement then goes into a decorated plastic wrap. The wrap protects the arrangement and makes it unmistakable that this is a special gift.

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The flowers now are placed in the box, the stems inside the vase. More shredded paper is added, along with a packet of flower food and unpacking and care instructions.

These steps completed, the package will bide its time in a cooler until FedEx arrives to take it on a journey somewhere within the contiguous 48 states.

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?”

Send these Royer’s arrangements anywhere in the continental U.S. for $9.99

Family-owned Royer’s Flowers & Gifts has been a local florist for more than 80 years, with a commitment to delivering farm-fresh flowers and top-notch customer service.

That won’t ever change.

But that’s not stopping Royer’s from offering its local touch and original designs to a national audience.

Royer’s has introduced 12 new arrangements that can be shipped from its Lebanon, Pa., headquarters to anywhere in the continental United States for $9.99.

The arrangements, ranging in price from $44.99 to $74.99, require no arranging on the part of the recipient.

“Whether they’re shipping to Maine or California, North Dakota or Oklahoma, these arrangements will arrive looking like they came from the local florist,” said Tom Royer, the third-generation CEO. “And they are – the local florist in Lebanon, Pa.”

He noted that unlike some other online florists, Royer’s has no hidden fees or add-on costs.

“It’s just the stated price of the arrangement, which includes a glass vase, and the $9.99 FedEx delivery charge,” Tom said.

‘Fresher than local florists can provide’

Royer’s has offered a limited direct-ship program for years, but the new arrangements are more elaborate and more than double the number of options available to customers.

The arrangements are hand-crafted in our Lebanon store and packed and shipped by our central design department, which supplies fresh arrangements to our 16 stores in Berks, Cumberland, Dauphin, Franklin, Lancaster, Lebanon and York counties.

“With the efficiency of our supply chain, central design department and shipping operation, we can deliver flowers all over the United States that are even fresher than what most local florists can provide in their own markets,” Tom said.

Tom and Geoff Royer, vice president of central operations, make regular trips to South American flower farms to check on the quality of the product they are buying. In the run-up to Valentine’s Day, they will inspect roses in the field that within two weeks are being delivered to customers in central Pennsylvania.

“We’ve developed an incredibly nimble operation in the eight-plus decades since my grandmother started growing and selling African violets to factory workers in Lebanon,” Tom said. “Now our customers have a more robust menu of Royer’s original arrangements they can send to 48 states for just $9.99 each. And they can take comfort in knowing the arrangements will arrive beautiful and fresh, no assembly required.”