Ruth got his start receiving his neighborhood friends to assist him haul mattresses and driving a delivery truck. Now, health problems are currently forcing him to shut down his Gerard's Furniture shop.
"I'm going to continue working. I got to deliver this furniture all "
When he turned 65, Ruth brought in an outside business to help him sell the stock off.
"So I came back."
Paradoxically, the firm that assisted him with the retirement sale back in 1996 is helping him with this sale.
Like he always did ruth, 87, still does business. His shop does not have a site. "I really don't text and that I don't email," he said. "Just been a couple of years ago we have a computer for accounting."
Gerard's includes a focus on American-made furniture.
"All that stuff on the world wide web, it is like going to the boats. It is gambling. You do not understand what you going to get," he said. "Some of this leather is seconds, some of it is rejects."
Ruth began working at the furniture business during his senior year at Baton Rouge High at Lloyd Furniture Co., at 1126 North Blvd.. After graduation, he attended LSU joined the Coast Guard.
He returned to his job and also to Baton Rouge with the furniture shop.
"I had been making $35 a week in Lloyd Furniture, then I got a offer from Hemenway's Furniture on Plank Road," he explained.
He was a salesman in Hemenway's, Ruth got into racing. He was a driver for your Tom Cat Baby, a boat with a Corvette engine which won the most dangerous and prestigious Pan American race on Lake Pontchartrain.
With Lewis Gottlieb, president of City National Bank, Ruth became friends through the boat races. Some racing teams were backed by gottlieb.
Ruth got a call one day. The proprietor of Simon Furniture Co. had died and his kids weren't interested in taking over the enterprise. Would Ruth be interested in having a furniture store?
Gottlieb advised the shop to be checked out by him, and if he had been interested, he'd help him finance the offer.
"It was a great store, and I knew I could do some good over there," Ruth said. The problem was money. But he did have a life insurance policy he bought from a member of the Red Stick Kiwanis Club.
"Mr. Gottlieb told me to deliver him that insurance policy into the bank," Ruth said. "He told me'You are going to create it."
The Furniture of gerard started in 1530 Foster Drive in 1966. There were three employees: the Ruths and a bookkeeper. During the afternoon, pop over here Ruth sold furniture. In the evenings, he also delivered.
At that moment, the hottest trend in furniture has been Mediterranean- and Spanish-style furniture. A Atlanta furniture salesman detected Gerard's Furniture and told Ruth, he had to get some of those items in the shop. Ruth told read review the man he did not have the money to purchase the furniture, so he got them to send three suites of furniture on credit to Gerard's and called a Virginia manufacturer. "That cranked business up," Ruth explained. "We offered the hell out of that furniture."
A few decades after, Ruth heard about a shop on Florida Boulevard that was up for sale for $500,000. Ruth checked the construction at 7330 Florida Blvd. and decided to purchase it and fix it up.
"It cost $2 million to revive the whole construction," he explained. The loan was really large, it was split between CNB and St. Landry Bank in Opelousas.
The Florida Boulevard place of Gerard's Furniture opened around 1975. The shop won nationwide acclaim for the completeness of the choice, which included art furniture, fabrics, rugs and decorative accessories. 1 room is filled with George Rodrigue prints. His son Larry prints at a different part of the shop and has a gallery of original Louisiana art.
Ruth visits the furniture markets in North Carolina each six months to find items to round out the selection at Gerard's.
"Baton Rouge has ever been interested in good taste and standard furniture," he said. "The men and women who buy fine furniture want to take a seat inside, want to feel this, and if they have any understanding at all, unzip it and see what is inside it."
Through the years, Ruth has had health issues, including cancer and diabetes. Lately, he was diagnosed with lung disease. That led him to shut the store after meeting with his wife and four children.
Because his kids have professional jobs, the decision was made to liquidate the organization.
"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 trouble," he explained.
Despite his years in business, Ruth stated he chose to close the store.
"My family would go crazy trying to figure out everything in the furniture shop," he said.
He made a point of helping eight grandchildren and his children find things in the shop to help decorate their own homes.
Plans are to spend the upcoming few months selling off all of the stock . When everything is gone, the store will close.
Since declaring he was shutting down his business, Ruth said he's seen a increase in clients. The day after it was announced he was closing, 500 people showed up in the shop.
"It's been rewarding."