After 70 years in the furniture business, his company is shutting down.
Ruth got his start in the furniture business 70 years back driving a delivery truck and getting his neighborhood friends to help him haul mattresses. Health problems are currently forcing him to shut down his Gerard's Furniture store.
"I am gonna keep on functioning. I must deliver this furniture all "
When he turned 65, Ruth brought to help the stock is sold off by him.
"I went home, and after about 10 days, I went crazy," he said.
Ironically, the company that helped him in 1996 back with all the retirement sale is currently assisting him with this going-out-of-business sale.
87, ruth does business like he did. His shop does not have a website. "I really don't text and that I do not email," he explained. "Only been a couple of years ago we got a computer for bookkeeping."
Gerard's has a focus on luxury furniture created out of premium leather.
"All that stuff on the world wide web, it is like going to the boats. It is gambling. You don't know what you are going to have," he said. "Some of this leather is seconds, some of it's rejects."
Ruth started 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, then joined the Coast Guard.
In 1953, he returned to his job and to Baton Rouge with the furniture store.
"I had been making $35 per week at Lloyd Furniture, then I got an offer from Hemenway's Furniture on Plank Road," he said.
He had been a salesman at Hemenway's, Ruth got into racing. He was a catalyst for the Tom Cat Baby, a ship with a Corvette engine that won the most dangerous and prestigious Pan American race on Lake Pontchartrain.
Throughout the boat races, Ruth became buddies with Lewis Gottlieb, president of City National Bank. Some teams that were racing were endorsed by gottlieb.
Ruth got a call from Gottlieb. The proprietor of Simon Furniture Co. had died and his kids weren't interested in taking over the enterprise. Would Ruth be interested in having a furniture store?
Gottlieb advised the shop to be checked out by him, and if he was interested, he'd help him finance the offer.
"It was a great store, and that I knew I could do some good over there," Ruth said. The problem was money. But he'd have a $10,000 life insurance policy he purchased from a member of the Red Stick Kiwanis Club.
"Mr. Gottlieb told me to bring him that insurance policy into the lender," Ruth explained. "He told me'You are going to make it."
The Furniture of gerard started at 1530 Foster Drive in 1966. There were three workers: the Ruths and a bookkeeper. In the store, Ruth sold furniture during the day. In the evenings, he also delivered.
At that time, the trend in furniture has been Victorian - and Spanish-style furniture. A successful Atlanta furniture salesman visited Gerard's Furniture and told Ruth he had to find a few of those things in the shop. Ruth told the guy he did not have the money so he got them to ship three suites of Mediterranean-style furniture on credit to Gerard's and called a Virginia manufacturer. "That cranked business up," Ruth said. "We sold out the hell of that furniture"
A few decades after, Ruth heard about a store.
The Florida Boulevard location of the Furniture of Gerard opened around 1975. The store won national acclaim for the completeness of this selection, which included art furniture, fabrics, rugs and accessories. One room is filled with George Rodrigue prints from the 1970s. His son Larry includes a bunch of original Louisiana art and prints in another area of the shop.
To round out the selection Ruth and the major furniture markets visit in North Carolina every six months to locate items.
"Baton Rouge has ever check out this site been interested in good taste and standard furniture," he said. "The people who purchase nice furniture want to take a seat my latest blog post in it, would like to feel it, and when they have any knowledge in any way, unzip it and see what's inside ."
Through the years, Ruth has had health problems, such as cancer and diabetes. Recently, he had been diagnosed with chronic lung disorder. That led him to close the shop after meeting with four children and his wife.
The choice was made to liquidate the business, Since his children have professional occupations.
"I never got rich, but I was able to raise four children, send them all off to school -- and not have to pay any institutions or lawyers to get them from difficulty," he explained.
Regardless of his years in business, Ruth stated he decided to shut the shop.
"My family would go crazy trying to figure out everything at the furniture shop," he explained.
He also made a point of helping his kids and eight grandchildren find things in the shop to help decorate their own homes.
Plans are to spend promoting off all of the stock . The store will close when all is gone.
Ruth said he has seen a increase in clients since declaring his organization shut down. 500 people showed up in the store, 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 has been rewarding."