Ruth got his start in the furniture business driving a delivery truck and receiving his neighborhood buddies to assist him haul mattresses. Now, health problems are forcing him to shut down his Gerard's Furniture store.
"I is not going house to mope about it," Ruth said, sitting at the center of his Florida Boulevard showroom. "I am going to continue functioning. I must deliver this furniture all ."
This is actually the second time that Ruth has had a sale. When he turned 65, Ruth brought to help the inventory is sold off by him.
"So I came back."
Ironically, the same company that assisted him in 1996 back with the retirement sale is helping him with this going-out-of-business sale.
Like he always did ruth, 87 does business. His shop doesn't have a site. "I don't text and that I do not email," he explained. "Only been a few years ago we have a computer for accounting."
Gerard's includes a focus on luxury furniture made out of premium leather.
"All that stuff on the world wide web, it's like going to the ships. It is gambling. You do not know what you are going to get," he explained. "A number of the leather is seconds, some of it's rejects."
Ruth began working in the furniture industry during his senior year at Baton Rouge High at Lloyd Furniture Co., then at 1126 North Blvd.. After graduation, he attended LSU joined the Coast Guard during the Korean War.
He returned to his job and to Baton Rouge with the furniture store.
He was a salesman at Hemenway's, Ruth got into racing. He was a catalyst for your Tom Cat Baby, a ship with a Corvette engine which won the prestigious and dangerous Pan American race on Lake Pontchartrain.
With Lewis Gottlieb, Ruth became friends through the boat races. Some rushing teams were backed by gottlieb.
Ruth got a call from Gottlieb one day. The proprietor of Simon Furniture Co. had expired and his kids weren't interested in taking over the enterprise. Would Ruth be interested in owning a furniture shop?
Gottlieb advised him to have a look at the shop, and he would help him fund the deal, if he had been interested.
"It was a great store, and 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 fellow member of the Red Stick Kiwanis Club.
"Mr. Gottlieb told me to bring him that insurance policy into the lender," Ruth explained. "He told me'You are going to make it."
The Furniture of gerard started in 1530 Foster Drive in 1966. There were three employees: the Ruths and a bookkeeper. At the store, Ruth sold furniture Throughout the day. In the evenings, he delivered.
At that time, the trend in furniture has been Victorian - and Spanish-style furniture. A Atlanta furniture salesman visited Gerard's Furniture and told Ruth he had to get some of those things in the store to make it effective. Ruth told the man he did not have the money to buy the furniture, so that he phoned a Virginia manufacturer and got them to send three suites of furniture to Gerard. "That really cranked business up," Ruth explained. "We offered out the hell of the furniture"
Ruth discovered about a shop on Florida Boulevard that was up for sale for $500,000.
The loan was really big, it was split between CNB and St. Landry Bank in Opelousas.
The Florida Boulevard place of Gerard's Furniture opened around 1975. The store won nationwide acclaim for its completeness of the choice, which included artwork, furniture, fabrics, rugs and decorative accessories. 1 room is filled in the early 1970s with George Rodrigue prints. His son Larry includes a bunch of original Louisiana art and prints in a different part of the shop.
To round out the selection in Gerard's, Ruth and the furniture markets visit in North Carolina every six months to find items.
"Baton Rouge has always been interested in great taste and standard furniture," he explained. "The men and women who buy nice furniture want to sit in it, want to feel it, and when they have any understanding in any way, unzip it and see what's inside important site it."
Over the years, Ruth has had health problems, such as diabetes and cancer. Recently, he was diagnosed with chronic lung disease. That led the shop to shut after meeting with his wife and four kids.
Because his children have professional occupations, the choice was made to liquidate the organization.
"I never got rich, but I managed to raise four children, send them all off to school -- and not need to pay any associations or attorneys to get them out of trouble," he said.
Despite his years in business, Ruth stated he chose overnight to shut the store.
"My family would go crazy trying to figure out everything at the furniture shop," he explained.
He made a point of helping his children like this and eight grandchildren find things in the shop to help decorate their homes.
Plans are to spend selling all of the inventory off . When all is gone, the shop will close.
Ruth said he's seen a increase in customers, since declaring he shut down his business. The day after it was announced he closed, 500 people showed up at the shop. The following day about 400 people were there.
"It has been rewarding."