the furniture store

Ruth got his start getting his neighborhood friends to assist him haul mattresses for 50 cents an hour and 70 years back driving a delivery truck. Now, health problems are forcing him to close down his Gerard's Furniture store.

"I is not going house to mope about it," Ruth said, sitting at the middle of his Florida Boulevard showroom. "I'm going to continue functioning. I got to deliver this furniture all "

When he turned 65, Ruth brought in an outside business to help the stock is sold off by him.

"So I came back."

Ironically, the identical company that helped him in 1996 back with all the retirement sale is helping him with this going-out-of-business sale.

Like he always did ruth, 87, nevertheless does business. His store doesn't have a website. "I really don't text and that I don't email," he explained. "Just been a couple of years ago we got a computer for bookkeeping."

Gerard's includes a focus on American-made furniture made out of premium leather.

"All that stuff on the world wide web, it is like going into the boats. It is gambling. You do not know what you are going to have," he explained. "Some of the leather is seconds, some of it is rejects."

Ruth began working in the furniture industry during his senior year in 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.

In 1953, he returned to his job and to Baton Rouge with the furniture store.

"I was making $35 a week at Lloyd Furniture, then I got a offer from Hemenway's Furniture on Plank Road," he explained.

He had been a salesman in Hemenway's, Ruth got into hydroplane racing. He was a driver for the Tom Cat Baby, a boat with a Corvette engine that won the dangerous and prestigious Pan American race Lake Pontchartrain.

With Lewis Gottlieb, Ruth became buddies Throughout the boat races. Some teams that were rushing were backed by gottlieb.

Ruth got a call 1 day. The proprietor of Simon Furniture Co. had expired and his kids were not interested in taking over the business. Would Ruth be interested in having a furniture store?

Gottlieb advised him to check the store out, and he'd help him fund the offer, if he was interested.

"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 $10,000 life insurance coverage he bought from a fellow member of the Red Stick Kiwanis Club.

"Mr. Gottlieb advised me to bring him that insurance policy into the bank," Ruth explained. "He told me'You're going to create it."

Gerard's Furniture started at 1530 Foster Drive in 1966. navigate to this site There were three workers: a bookkeeper and the Ruths. During the day, Ruth sold furniture. In the evenings, he also delivered.

At that moment, the most popular trend in furniture was Victorian - and Spanish-style furniture. A Atlanta furniture salesman visited Gerard's Furniture and told Ruth he needed to get a few of those things in the shop. Ruth told the man he didn't have the money to purchase the furnitureso he phoned a Virginia maker and got them to send three suites of furniture on credit to Gerard's. "That really cranked business up," Ruth explained. "We sold the hell out of the furniture."

Ruth heard about a shop. Ruth checked the building at 7330 Florida Blvd. and chose to buy it and fix it up.

"It cost $2 million to revive the whole building," he explained. The loan was so big, it was divided between CNB and St. Landry Bank visit this site right here in Opelousas.

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

To round out the selection in Gerard's, Ruth visits the furniture markets in North Carolina every six months to locate items.

"Baton Rouge has ever been interested in great taste and standard furniture," he said. "The people who buy nice furniture want to sit inside, want to feel it, and if they have any understanding at all, unzip it and see what's inside it."

He had been diagnosed with chronic lung disorder. That led the store to close after meeting with four children and his wife.

"I got outvoted," he said. Because his kids all have professional occupations, the choice was made to liquidate the organization.

"I never got rich, but I managed to raise four children, send them off to college -- and not need to pay any associations or attorneys to get them out of trouble," he said.

Regardless of his years in business, Ruth said he decided overnight to shut the shop.

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

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

Plans are to spend promoting the inventory off in Gerard's. The shop will close when everything is gone.

Ruth said he's seen a increase in customers since announcing his business shut down. 500 people showed up in the shop, the day after it was announced he was closing.

"It has been rewarding."

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