Ruth got his start in the furniture industry receiving his neighborhood friends to assist him haul mattresses and driving a delivery truck. Health problems are forcing him to close down his Gerard's Furniture shop.
"I am going to keep on functioning. I must deliver all this furniture."
This is actually the second time that Ruth has had a going-out-of-business sale. Twenty-two years back, when he turned 65, Ruth brought to help him sell the stock off.
"I went home, and after about 10 days, I went crazy," he said. "So I came back."
Ironically, the identical company that assisted him in 1996 back with all the retirement sale is helping him with this going-out-of-business sale.
87, ruth , nevertheless does business like he did. His store doesn't have a website. "I don't text and that I don't email," he explained. "Just been a few years ago we have a computer for bookkeeping."
Gerard's includes a focus on luxury furniture.
"All that stuff on the world wide web, it's like going into the boats. It's gambling. You do not understand what you going to have," he explained. "Some of the leather is seconds, some of it's rejects."
Ruth began working in the furniture business during his senior year in Baton Rouge High in Lloyd Furniture Co., then at 1126 North Blvd.. After graduation, he attended LSU joined the Coast Guard.
In 1953, he returned with the furniture shop to Baton Rouge and to his occupation.
He had been a salesman at Hemenway's, Ruth got into hydroplane racing. He was a driver for your Tom Cat Baby, a boat with a Corvette engine which won the most prestigious and dangerous Pan American race on Lake Pontchartrain.
Through the boat races, Ruth became friends with Lewis Gottlieb, president of City National Bank. Gottlieb endorsed some teams.
Ruth got a call one afternoon. The owner of Simon Furniture Co. had expired and his children weren't interested in taking over the business. Would Ruth be interested in owning a furniture shop?
Gottlieb told him to check the shop out, and he'd help him fund the deal, if he had been interested.
"It was a great store, and I knew I could do some good on the market," Ruth said. The problem was money. Selma, his wife along with ruth, had just had their second child, and he only needed a couple hundred dollars after paying the hospital bill. But he did 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 coverage into the lender," Ruth said. "He told me'You're going to make it."
The Furniture of gerard started at 1530 Foster Drive in 1966. There were three employees: a bookkeeper and the Ruths. In the store, Ruth sold furniture during the day. In the evenings, he delivered.
At that moment, the trend in furniture has been Victorian - and Spanish-style furniture. A successful Atlanta furniture salesman visited Gerard's Furniture and told Ruth he needed to get some of those items in the store. Ruth told the guy he did not have the money so he got them to send three suites of furniture on credit to Gerard's and phoned a Virginia manufacturer. "That really cranked up business," Ruth explained. "We sold the hell out of that furniture"
A few decades after, Ruth discovered about a store on Florida Boulevard that was up available for $500,000. Ruth checked the construction at 7330 Florida Blvd. and decided to buy it and fix it up.
"It cost $2 million to restore the entire construction," he said. The loan was so large, it was divided between CNB and St. Landry Bank in Opelousas.
The Florida Boulevard place of Gerard's Furniture opened around 1975. The shop won acclaim for the completeness of the selection, which included furniture, art, fabrics, rugs and accessories. 1 room is filled with George Rodrigue prints. His son Larry prints at a different part of the store and includes a bunch of original Louisiana art.
To round out the selection in Gerard's, the furniture markets are visited by Ruth in North Carolina each six months to find items.
"Baton Rouge has ever been interested in great taste and traditional furniture," he explained. "The people who purchase nice furniture want to sit inside, would like to feel this, and when they have any understanding in any way, unzip it and see what's inside ."
Over the years, Ruth has had health issues, such as cancer and diabetes. He was diagnosed with lung disorder. That led him to close the shop after meeting with four kids and his wife.
"I got outvoted," he explained. Since his kids have professional occupations, the decision was made to liquidate the business.
"I never got rich, but I managed to raise four children, send them all off to college -- and not need to pay any associations his response or lawyers to get them out of trouble," he explained.
Regardless of his years in business, you could try this out Ruth stated he decided to close the store.
"My family would go crazy trying to work out everything in the furniture shop," he explained.
He also made a point of helping his kids and eight grandchildren find items in the store to help decorate their homes.
Plans are to spend promoting off all of the stock in Gerard's. The store will close, when everything is gone.
Ruth said he has seen a increase in customers, since announcing he was shutting down his business. 500 people showed up at the shop, the day after it was announced he was shutting. The next day about 400 people were there.
"We had them come in from 20, 30, 40, even 50 years back to purchase things on our sale," he said. "It has been rewarding."