Ruth got his start getting his neighborhood friends to assist him haul mattresses and 70 years ago driving a delivery truck. Now, health issues are currently forcing him to close down his Gerard's Furniture shop.
"I ain’t going house to mope about it," Ruth said, sitting at the middle of his Florida Boulevard showroom. "I am going to keep on working. I must deliver this furniture all ."
This is actually the second time that Ruth has had a sale. Twenty-two decades ago, when he turned 65, Ruth brought to help him sell the inventory off.
"I went home, and after about 10 days, I went crazy," he explained.
Paradoxically, the company that assisted him in 1996 back with the retirement sale is helping him with this sale.
Like he always did ruth, 87 does business. His shop doesn't have a site. "I don't text and that I don't email," he explained. "Just been a couple of years ago we got a computer for accounting."
Gerard's has a focus on high-end 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 going to have," he said. "Some of the leather is seconds, some of it is rejects."
Ruth started working at the furniture business during his senior year in 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.
In 1953, he returned with the furniture store to his job and also to Baton Rouge.
"I was making $35 a week in Lloyd Furniture, then I got an offer from Hemenway's Furniture on Plank Road," he said.
He was a salesman in Hemenway's, Ruth got into racing. He was a catalyst for your Tom Cat Baby, a ship with a Corvette engine which won the dangerous and prestigious Pan American race Lake Pontchartrain.
With Lewis Gottlieb, president of City National Bank, Ruth became friends through the ship races. Some teams that were racing were endorsed 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 owning a furniture store?
Gottlieb advised him to check out the shop, and he'd help him finance the deal when he had been interested.
"It was a nice shop, and I knew I could do some good on the market," Ruth explained. The problem was money. Ruth along with his wife, Selma, had just had their he has a good point second child, and he had a few hundred bucks after paying the hospital bill. However he'd have a life insurance coverage he purchased from a fellow member of the Red Stick Kiwanis Club.
"Mr. Gottlieb told me to deliver him that insurance coverage into the bank," Ruth said. "He told me'You're going to create it."
Gerard's Furniture opened at 1530 Foster Drive in 1966. There were three workers: the Ruths and a bookkeeper. Ruth sold furniture in the store. In the evenings, he also delivered.
At that time, the most popular trend in furniture has been Mediterranean- and Spanish-style furniture. A Atlanta furniture salesman visited Gerard's Furniture and advised Ruth, he needed to find a few of those items in the shop. Ruth told the man he did not have the money so he phoned a Virginia manufacturer and got them to send three suites of furniture to Gerard's on credit. "That really cranked business up," Ruth explained. "We sold out the hell of that furniture"
Ruth discovered about a store. Ruth checked out the construction at 7330 Florida Blvd. and chose to buy it and fix it up.
"It cost $2 million to revive the whole construction," he said.
The Florida Boulevard location of the Furniture of Gerard opened around 1975. The shop won acclaim for its completeness of the selection, which included fabrics, art, furniture, rugs and decorative recommended you read accessories. 1 room is filled with George Rodrigue prints in the early 1970s. His son Larry has a gallery of original Louisiana art and prints at another area of the shop.
To round out the selection in Gerard's, Ruth visits with the furniture markets in North Carolina each six months to find items.
"Baton Rouge has always been interested in good taste and standard furniture," he said. "The people who buy nice furniture want to sit in it, want to feel it, and if they have any understanding in any way, unzip it and see what's inside ."
Lately, he had been diagnosed with chronic lung disorder. That led him to shut the shop after meeting with his wife and four children.
Because his kids all have professional jobs, the choice was made to liquidate the organization.
"I never got rich, but I was able to raise four kids, send them off to college -- and not have to pay any associations or attorneys to get them out of trouble," he explained.
Regardless of his years in business, Ruth said he decided overnight to shut the store.
"My family would go crazy trying to figure out everything in the furniture shop," he said.
He made a point of helping his children and eight grandchildren find things in the shop to help decorate their homes.
Plans are to spend promoting off the inventory in Gerard's. The store will close when everything is gone.
Ruth said he's seen a increase in customers since announcing his organization was shutting down. The day after it was announced he was shutting, 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 sale," he explained. "It has been rewarding."