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After 70 years in the furniture business, his company is shutting down.

Ruth got his start getting his neighborhood friends to assist him haul mattresses and 70 years back driving a delivery truck. Now, health issues are forcing him to close down his Gerard's Furniture store.

"I'm gonna keep on functioning. I must deliver all this furniture."

This is actually the second time that Ruth has had a sale. Twenty-two decades ago, when he turned 65, Ruth brought to help the stock is sold off by him.

"So I came back."

Ironically, the identical firm that helped him in 1996 back with the retirement sale is currently assisting him with this sale.

87, ruth , nevertheless does business like he always did. His store does not have a website. "I really don't text and I do not email," he said. "Only been a few years ago we have a computer for accounting."

Gerard's includes a focus on American-made furniture created with premium leather.

"All that stuff on the internet, it is like going to the ships. It is gambling. You don't understand exactly what you are going to get," he explained. "Some of the leather is seconds, some of it's rejects."

Ruth started working in the furniture industry during his senior year at Baton Rouge High at Lloyd Furniture Co., at 1126 North Blvd.. After graduation, he attended LSU, then joined the Coast Guard during the Korean War.

He returned with the furniture shop to Baton Rouge and to his job.



"I had been making $35 a week in Lloyd Furniture, then I got a offer from Hemenway's Furniture on Plank Road," he said.

During that time he had been a salesman at Hemenway's, Ruth got into racing. He was a catalyst for the Tom Cat Baby, a boat with a Corvette engine which won the most prestigious and dangerous Pan American race Lake Pontchartrain in 1958.

With Lewis Gottlieb, president of City National Bank, Ruth became friends Throughout the ship races. Some teams that were rushing were backed by gottlieb.

Ruth got a call, 1 afternoon. The proprietor of Simon Furniture Co. had died and his children weren't interested in taking over the business. Can Ruth be interested in having a visit furniture store?

Gottlieb advised the store to be checked out by him, and he would help him finance the deal if he was interested.

"It was a great shop, and that I knew I could do some good over there," Ruth said. The problem was money. However he'd have a life insurance coverage he bought from a member of the Red Stick Kiwanis Club.

"Mr. Gottlieb advised me to deliver him that insurance coverage to the bank," Ruth explained. "He told me'You're going to make it."

Gerard's Furniture opened in 1966 in 1530 Foster Drive. There were three employees: a bookkeeper and the Ruths. Ruth sold furniture. In the evenings, he delivered.

At that moment, the most popular trend in furniture was Mediterranean- and Spanish-style furniture. A successful Atlanta furniture salesman detected Gerard's Furniture and advised Ruth he had to find some of those things in the store. Ruth told the guy he didn't have the money so that he phoned a Virginia manufacturer and got them to ship three suites of Mediterranean-style furniture on credit to Gerard's. "That cranked up business," Ruth said. "We offered the hell out of the furniture."

Ruth discovered about a shop.

The loan was so big, it was split between CNB and St. Landry Bank in Opelousas.

The Florida Boulevard location of the Furniture of Gerard opened around 1975. The shop won acclaim for the completeness of the choice, which included fabrics, art, furniture, rugs and accessories. 1 room is filled from the 1970s with George Rodrigue prints. His son Larry prints at another area of the shop and has a gallery of original Louisiana art.

Ruth visits the significant furniture markets in North Carolina to round out the selection at Gerard's.

"Baton Rouge has ever been interested in good taste and traditional furniture," he said. "The men and women who purchase fine furniture want to sit next inside, would like to feel this, and if they have any understanding at all, unzip it and see what's inside it."

Through the years, Ruth has had health issues, including diabetes and cancer. He had been diagnosed with lung disorder. That led the store to close after meeting with his wife and four kids.

"I got outvoted," he explained. Since his children all have professional jobs, the decision was made to liquidate the business.

"I never got rich, but I was able to raise four kids, send them off to school -- and not need to pay any associations or attorneys to get them from difficulty," he explained.

Despite his years in business, Ruth said he decided overnight to shut the store.

"My family would go mad trying to work out everything in the furniture store," he said.

He also made a point of helping eight grandchildren and his kids find items in the store to help decorate their own homes.

Plans are to spend promoting all the inventory off . The shop will close when everything is gone.

Ruth said he's seen a increase in clients, since declaring he shut down his organization. The day after it was announced he closed, 500 people showed up at the shop.

"We had them come in from 20, 30, 40, even 50 years ago to purchase things on our economy," he explained. "It has been rewarding."

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