recliner



After 70 years in the furniture business, his company is being shut down by Gerard Ruth.

Ruth got his start driving a delivery truck and receiving his neighborhood buddies to help him haul mattresses. Now, health issues are forcing him to shut down his Gerard's Furniture store.

"I is not going home to mope about it," Ruth said, sitting in the center of the Florida Boulevard showroom. "I'm gonna continue working. I must deliver this furniture all ."

This is the second time that Ruth has had a going-out-of-business sale. When he turned 65, Ruth brought in an outside company to help him sell the inventory off.

"So I came back."

Paradoxically, the same company that helped him with the retirement sale back in 1996 is helping him with this going-out-of-business sale.

Like he did ruth, 87 does business. His shop does not have a website. "I really don't text and that I do not email," he said. "Just been a couple of years ago we have a computer for accounting."

Gerard's has a focus on high-end, American-made furniture.

"All that stuff on the world wide web, it is like going to the ships. It is gambling. You do not understand what you going to have," he explained. "A number of this leather is seconds, some of it is rejects."

Ruth started working at the furniture industry during his senior year in Baton Rouge High at Lloyd Furniture Co., at 1126 North Blvd.. After graduation, he attended LSU joined the Coast Guard.

Back in 1953, he returned with the furniture shop to Baton Rouge and to his occupation.



"I was making $35 a week in Lloyd Furniture, then I got an offer from Hemenway's Furniture on Plank Road," he said.

He had been a salesman in Hemenway's, Ruth got into racing. He was a catalyst for your Tom Cat Baby, a boat with a Corvette engine that won the most dangerous and prestigious Pan American race Lake Pontchartrain in 1958.

With Lewis Gottlieb, Ruth became buddies through the ship races. Gottlieb backed some racing teams.

Ruth got a call from Gottlieb. The owner of Simon Furniture Co. had died and his children weren't interested in taking over the enterprise. Can Ruth be interested in owning a furniture shop?

Gottlieb advised him to check the store out, and if he had been interested, he'd help him finance the offer.

"It was a nice shop, and that I knew I could do some good on the market," Ruth said. The issue was money. However 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 to the bank," Ruth explained. "He told me'You are going to make it."

Gerard's Furniture started in 1966 at 1530 Foster Drive. There were three workers: the Ruths and a bookkeeper. At the store, Ruth sold furniture Throughout the afternoon. In the evenings, he also delivered.

At that time, the hottest trend in furniture was Victorian - and Spanish-style furniture. An effective Atlanta furniture salesman visited Gerard's Furniture and advised Ruth he needed to get some of those things in the shop. Ruth told the guy he didn't have the money so that he called a Virginia manufacturer and got them to send three suites of furniture to Gerard's on credit. "That really cranked business up," Ruth said. "We sold the hell out of the furniture"

A few years later, Ruth discovered about a store. Ruth checked out the construction at 7330 Florida Blvd. and decided to buy it and fix it up.



The Florida Boulevard location of Gerard's Furniture opened around 1975. The store won acclaim for the completeness of this selection, which included furniture, artwork, fabrics, rugs and accessories. 1 area is filled in the 1970s with George Rodrigue prints. His son Larry includes a bunch of original Louisiana art and prints at a different area of the store.

Ruth visits the furniture markets in North Carolina every six months to find items to round out the selection in Gerard's.

"Baton Rouge has ever been interested in great taste and standard furniture," he explained. "The men and women who buy nice furniture want to sit in it, want to feel it, and when they have any knowledge in any way, unzip it and see what's inside ."

He was diagnosed with chronic lung disease. That led him to close the store after meeting with his wife and four children.

The decision was made to liquidate the organization Since his children have professional jobs.

"I never got rich, but I was able to raise four children, send them all off to college -- and not need to pay any associations or attorneys to get them from difficulty," he said.

Despite his years in business, Ruth said he chose overnight to shut the shop.

"My her explanation family would go crazy trying to work out everything in the furniture store," he said.

He made a point of helping his kids and eight grandchildren find things in the shop to help decorate their houses.

Plans are to spend the upcoming few months promoting off all of the stock . The shop will close, when all is gone.

Ruth said he has seen a boost in try this site customers since declaring his organization shut down. The day after it was announced he closed, 500 people showed up at the store. The following day about 400 people were there.

"We had them come in from 20, 30, 40, even 50 years back to buy things on our economy," he said. "It has been rewarding."

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