After 70 years in furniture business, his business is shutting down.
Ruth got his start receiving his neighborhood friends to assist him haul mattresses and 70 years ago driving a delivery truck. Now, health issues are currently forcing him to shut down his Gerard's Furniture store.
"I'm gonna keep on working. I must deliver all this furniture."
This is the second time that Ruth has had a going-out-of-business sale. When he turned 65, Ruth brought to help him sell the stock off.
"I went home, and after about 10 days, I went stir crazy," he explained.
Paradoxically, the same company that helped him with all the retirement sale back in 1996 is currently helping him with this going-out-of-business sale.
Like he always did ruth, 87, still does business. His shop doesn't have a website. "I really don't text and I don't email," he said. "Just been a few years ago we got a computer for bookkeeping."
Gerard's includes a focus on luxury furniture.
"All that stuff on the internet, it's like going to the boats. It is gambling. You don't know what you going to have," he explained. "A number of this leather is seconds, some of it's rejects."
Ruth began working at the furniture business during his senior year at Baton Rouge High in Lloyd Furniture Co., at 1126 North Blvd.. After graduation, he attended LSU joined the Coast Guard during the Korean War.
In 1953, he returned to his occupation and also to Baton Rouge with the furniture store.
Throughout that time he was 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 that won the most dangerous and prestigious Pan American race on Lake Pontchartrain in 1958.
Throughout the ship races, Ruth became friends with Lewis Gottlieb. Some rushing teams were backed by gottlieb.
One day, Ruth got a call. The proprietor of Simon Furniture Co. had died and his kids weren't interested in taking over the enterprise. Would Ruth be interested in owning a furniture store?
Gottlieb told him to check the shop out, and if he was interested, he'd help him fund the deal.
"It was a great shop, and that I knew I could do some good on the market," Ruth said. The issue was money. However he'd have a life insurance policy he bought from a member of the Red Stick Kiwanis Club.
"Mr. Gottlieb advised me to deliver you could try these out him that insurance policy to the bank," Ruth said. "He told me'You are going to create it."
Gerard's Furniture opened at 1530 Foster Drive in 1966. There were three employees: the Ruths and a bookkeeper. At the shop, Ruth sold furniture Throughout the afternoon. In the evenings, he also delivered.
At that time, the hottest trend in furniture has been Victorian - and Spanish-style furniture. An effective Atlanta furniture salesman visited Gerard's Furniture and told Ruth, he had to get a few of those items in the store. Ruth told the man he didn't have the money to YOURURL.com purchase the furniture, so he phoned a Virginia maker and got them to send three suites of furniture on credit to Gerard's. "That cranked business up," Ruth said. "We sold out the hell of that furniture"
A few decades later, Ruth heard about a store on Florida Boulevard which was up available for $500,000. Ruth checked out the building at 7330 Florida Blvd. and chose to purchase it and fix it up.
The Florida Boulevard location of Gerard's Furniture opened around 1975. The store won acclaim for its completeness of this selection, which included artwork furniture, fabrics, rugs and accessories. 1 area is filled from the 1970s with George Rodrigue prints. His son Larry prints in another area of the shop and includes a bunch of original Louisiana art.
To round out the selection at Gerard's, Ruth visits the major furniture markets in North Carolina every six months to locate items.
"Baton Rouge has always been interested in good taste and standard furniture," he said. "The people who purchase fine furniture want to sit inside, would like to feel this, and when they have any knowledge at all, unzip it and see what's inside it."
He was diagnosed with lung disease. That led the store to shut after meeting with four kids and his wife.
"I got outvoted," he said. The choice was made to liquidate the business, Since his kids have professional jobs.
"I never got rich, but I was able to raise four kids, send them all off to school -- and not have to pay any institutions or attorneys to get them out of difficulty," he explained.
Regardless of his years in business, Ruth said he decided to shut the store.
"My family would go mad trying to work out everything in the furniture store," he explained.
He also made a point of helping eight grandchildren and his kids find things in the store to help decorate their homes.
Plans are to spend the next few months promoting off of the inventory in Gerard's. The store will close when everything is gone.
Ruth said he has seen a increase in customers since declaring his organization was shutting down. 500 people showed up in the shop, the day after it was announced he was shutting.
"We had them come from 20, 30, 40, even 50 years back to purchase things on our sale," he said. "It's been rewarding."