Sometime in the 1970’s Renee Symans and Selma [Resnick] Chankin met either in a doctor’s office or through B’nai Brith. Though, they are both a little unclear about where they met first, it was the beginning of a great friendship and eventual partnership.
Selma, originally from the Boston area, was a floral designer and the winner of the John Taylor Arms Award; a prestigious New England garden club design award. After moving to Woodland Hills, she began teaching floral design classes. Renee, knowing Selma from B’nai Brith and the doctor’s office, became one of Selma’s students. Selma also did floral arrangements for small parties and used her students to help. Selma wanted to hire Renee, but her late husband, Herb, said “don’t just hire her; have her be your partner.” And, so she did.
The name S&R Originals was created using the first letter of both of their first and last names … Renee Symans and Selma Resnick. The S and the R were interchangeable and symbolic of their partnership. Originals … these ladies were truly ahead of their time.
In 1972 they started doing flowers for weddings, Bar and Bat Mitzvahs and other special events out of Renee’s garage in Woodland Hills. A floral refrigerator was built into the garage, they made deliveries in a large brown Oldsmobile station wagon, and Selma has fond memories of soaking her feet in ice baths to keep cool while working in Renee’s garage during hot Woodland Hills summers!
Their work was creative, well constructed and unique … original. Their first office was the dining room table until they could take over a bedroom when one of Renee’s daughters moved away to college. They began to add invitations, props and lighting as well as event coordination. Renee was their first calligrapher. Well before the internet, cell phones, wedding reality television shows or a recognized special events industry, Selma and Renee were creating unforgettable events.
In 1986 they moved out of Renee’s house and into the current location in Tarzana and continued to grow producing as many as 100 events per year. They never advertised, all clients were referrals, which for the most part, is true today.
As the business grew, they produced parties in other states, did a 10,000 person Rose Bowl related event, as well as countless family celebrations all with a very personal touch. Often referred to as “the girls,” they continued to “schlep” downtown to the Los Angeles Flower Market at 3:00 in the morning weekly to insure quality. Both very hands on, Selma would dream it up and Renee would figure out how to make it work. They were a successful partnership.
In 1990, Renee’s daughter, Cindy Symans Hassel, joined S&R bringing 15 years experience in advertising, marketing, and publishing … a natural complement to special events. In 1992, Selma retired and in 1998, Cindy took the business over from Renee.
Under Cindy’s management, S&R Originals incorporated under the name of SRO Events, Inc. and continues to produce spectacular celebrations for families as well as corporations and non-profits. SRO Events, Inc. launched a centerpiece rental division, SRO TO GO, and also provides décor and floral services for other event planners and caters as a sub-contractor [you may have been to an S&R event and did not even know it!].
S&R Originals/SRO Events, Inc. continues in the tradition of creativity, resourcefulness, and attention-to-detail established by its’ founders; always seeking fresh, modern, innovative looks and concepts for events. S&R Originals/SRO Events, Inc. has been honored with two national special event design awards, GALAs, and Cindy Hassel is a noted speaker both locally and nationally.
As S&R begins its 5th decade, our dedication to producing the best, most spectacular event possible no matter the size or budget prevails. Be it an intimate Wedding, rocking Bar Mitzvah, or entertainment industry soiree … we celebrate life!