Raymond Krueger’s floral arrangements for the Texas Rose Festival have brought the elegance of the Place of Versailles to the Tyler Rose Garden, shades of coral and purple to an underwater-themed Rose Show and amazement to thousands.
For years, his work has often been featured in the festival’s Queen’s Tea, Rose Show, Rose Ball, Men’s and Ladies luncheons and Past President’s Reception.
“His creative abilities and artistic interpretation of the theme have always been top of the mark,” said Liz Ballard, executive director of the Texas Rose Festival.When not wowing crowds at Tyler’s signature event, Krueger and his team of florists at Jerry’s Flower’s have provided arrangements for many weddings, anniversaries, community events, funerals and more.
Although Krueger said he’s enjoyed his 27 years owning and running Jerry’s Flower’s - which he says has operated in Tyler for more than 80 years - he decided to officially close the shop on Saturday.
The choice wasn’t easy, but after the death of his wife, Elizabeth “Liz” Krueger, two years ago, Krueger said he wanted to start a new chapter of life in a different city.
The couple was not originally from Tyler, but came to the city almost 40 years ago after falling in love with the area. They worked at a flower shop before purchasing Jerry’s Flower’s.
“There’s a lot of good people in Tyler,” Krueger said. “They have helped me through a whole lot of rough roads. You feel like you’re part of a big family when you live in Tyler and you have a business as long as she and I had.”
Krueger said his years of being a business owner have not only taught him about the importance of building relationships, but also about the importance of having patience and being considerate to the needs of others.
“If someone calls and they are upset about something they may be having a bad day. …” Krueger said. “In our business, we deal with happy times and sad times. You don’t know who is on the other phone or what they are (going through) until you talk with them.”
His patience and understanding are qualities Felica McCreary, a florist at Jerry’s Flowers, said she appreciated.
When she moved to Tyler seven years ago and needed a job to support her family, she was hired to work at the shop seasonally in preparation for Valentine’s Day. She was later hired full time.
Krueger has helped set up an arrangement with her to take his shop’s accounts to her new job as a florist at Forget-Me-Not Flowers and Gifts, owned by Julia Hassell.
Krueger said that when he moves, he will likely continue to work, but looks forward to not being a business owner and having to handle so many different details. He added that he is excited for the future.
“It’s been fun,” he said. “Hopefully the next chapter in my life will be a good one.”
Locally, his passion, hard work and creativity will be missed.
“He’s just always been proud to be a part of the Texas Rose Festival and what it brings to our city, and we’ll miss him,” Mrs. Ballard said. “I hope he comes back and hangs out with us in the future.”
IF YOU GO: Jerry’s Flowers officially closed Saturday, but the store is currently holding a closing sale on many items inside the building this week only. The store is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Wednesday.