Ruth got his start 70 years ago driving a delivery truck and getting his neighborhood buddies to help him haul mattresses for 50 cents an hour. Health issues are forcing him to close down his Gerard's Furniture store.
"I am going to keep on working. I got to deliver all this furniture"
Twenty-two decades ago, when he turned 65, Ruth brought to help him sell off the stock.
Paradoxically, the identical company that assisted him with the retirement sale back in 1996 is helping him with this going-out-of-business sale.
87, ruth does business like he always did. His store doesn't have a site. "I don't text and I do not email," he explained. "Only been a couple of years ago we have a computer for bookkeeping."
Gerard's includes a focus on American-made furniture.
"All that stuff on the internet, it's like going into the ships. It's gambling. You do not know what you are going to get," he said. "A number of this leather is seconds, some of it is rejects."
Ruth started working at 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 store to Baton Rouge and also to his occupation.
"I had been making $35 per week at Lloyd Furniture, then I got a offer from Hemenway's Furniture on Plank Road," he said.
He had been a salesman in Hemenway's, Ruth got into hydroplane racing. He was a driver for your Tom Cat Baby, a ship with a Corvette engine that won the prestigious and dangerous Pan American race on Lake Pontchartrain.
Through the boat races, Ruth became friends with Lewis Gottlieb. Gottlieb endorsed some rushing teams.
Ruth got a call, 1 day. The proprietor of Simon Furniture Co. had died and his kids were not interested in taking over the enterprise. Can Ruth be interested in having a furniture shop?
Gottlieb advised the shop to be checked out by him, and he'd help him fund the deal, if he was interested.
"It was a great shop, and that I knew I could do some good on the market," Ruth explained. The problem was Click This Link money. But he'd have a life insurance policy he bought from a fellow member of the Red Stick Kiwanis Club.
"Mr. Gottlieb advised me to bring him that insurance coverage into the bank," Ruth said. "He told me'You are going to create it."
The Furniture of gerard opened at 1530 Foster Drive in 1966. There were three employees: a bookkeeper and the Ruths. During the day, Ruth sold furniture. In the evenings, he delivered.
At that time, the trend in furniture has been Victorian - and Spanish-style furniture. An effective Atlanta furniture salesman visited Gerard's Furniture and told Ruth, he needed to get some of those items in the shop. Ruth told the man he did not have the money to buy the furnitureso that he got them to send three suites of Mediterranean-style furniture on credit to Gerard's and phoned a Virginia manufacturer. "That cranked up business," Ruth said. "We offered the hell out of the furniture."
Ruth discovered about a store on Florida Boulevard which was up for sale for $500,000.
"It cost $2 million to revive the whole construction," he said. 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 shop won acclaim for the completeness of this selection, which included artwork furniture, fabrics, rugs and decorative accessories. One room is filled with George Rodrigue prints in the early 1970s. His son Larry has a gallery of original Louisiana art and prints at a different area of the store.
To round out the selection the furniture markets are visited by Ruth in North Carolina every six months to find items.
"Baton Rouge has ever been interested in great taste and standard furniture," he said. "The people who buy fine furniture want to take a seat inside, would like to feel it, and if they have any understanding in any way, unzip it and see what is inside ."
He was diagnosed with lung disorder. That led him to close the shop after meeting with his wife and four kids.
"I got outvoted," he said. The choice was made to liquidate the organization because his kids have professional occupations.
"I never got rich, but I was able to raise four kids, send them off to school -- and not have to pay any institutions or lawyers to get them out of difficulty," he visit here explained.
Despite his years in business, Ruth said 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 eight grandchildren and his children find things in the store to help decorate their houses.
Plans are to spend the upcoming few months selling off the stock . The shop will close when everything is gone.
Ruth said he's seen a increase in customers, since declaring he shut down his organization. The day after it was announced he closed, 500 people showed up in the shop. The next day about 400 people were there.
"It has been rewarding."