After 70 years in the furniture business, his business is currently shutting down.
Ruth got his start 70 years ago driving a delivery truck and getting his neighborhood buddies to assist him haul mattresses for 50 cents an hour. Health issues are currently forcing him to close down his Gerard's Furniture shop.
"I is not going house to mope about it," Ruth said, sitting in the middle of the Florida Boulevard showroom. "I'm going to keep on functioning. I got to deliver this furniture all "
This is actually the second time that Ruth has had a sale. When he turned 65, Ruth brought to help him sell the stock off.
Ironically, the company that assisted him with all the retirement sale back is assisting him with this going-out-of-business sale.
Like he did ruth, 87 does business. His shop does not have a website. "I don't text and I do not email," he said. "Only been a few years ago we got a computer for bookkeeping."
Gerard's has a focus on high-end, American-made furniture.
"All that stuff on the world wide web, it's like going to the ships. It is gambling. You don't know exactly what you are going to get," he explained. "Some of this leather is seconds, some of it is rejects."
Ruth began working in 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 during the Korean War.
He returned with the furniture shop to Baton Rouge and also to his job.
During that time he had been a salesman at 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 dangerous and prestigious Pan American race on Lake Pontchartrain.
With Lewis Gottlieb, president of City National Bank, Ruth became friends Throughout the boat races. Gottlieb endorsed some teams.
Ruth got a call from Gottlieb. The proprietor of Simon Furniture Co. had died and his kids were not interested in taking over the business. Would Ruth be interested in owning a furniture store?
Gottlieb told him to check out the store, 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 over there," Ruth said. The problem was money. Ruth and his wife, Selma, had just had their second child, and that he just had a couple hundred dollars after paying the hospital bill. However he did have a $10,000 life insurance policy he bought from a member of the Red Stick Kiwanis Club.
"Mr. Gottlieb advised me to deliver him that insurance coverage to the bank," Ruth said. "He told me'You are going to create it."
The Furniture of gerard opened in 1966 in 1530 Foster Drive. There were three employees: a bookkeeper and the Ruths. At the store, Ruth sold furniture Throughout the day. In the evenings, he also delivered.
At that moment, the trend in furniture has been Victorian - and Spanish-style furniture. A successful Atlanta furniture salesman visited Gerard's Furniture and advised Ruth, he needed to get some of those items in the store. Ruth told the man he didn't have the money so he got them to ship three suites of furniture to Gerard's on credit and phoned a Virginia maker. "That really cranked business up," Ruth said. "We offered the hell out of the furniture"
A couple of decades later, Ruth heard about a store. Ruth checked the construction at 7330 Florida Blvd. and decided to purchase it and fix it up.
"It cost $2 million to official site restore the entire building," he said. The loan was really big, it was split between CNB and St. Landry Bank in Opelousas.
Gerard's Furniture's Florida Boulevard location opened around 1975. The store won national acclaim for its completeness of the selection, which included art furniture, fabrics, rugs and accessories. One room is filled from the early 1970s with George Rodrigue prints. His son Larry prints at a different part of the store and includes a bunch of original Louisiana art.
To round out the selection Ruth and the major furniture markets visit in North Carolina every six months to find items.
"Baton Rouge has ever been interested in good taste and traditional furniture," he said. "The men and women who buy fine furniture want to take a seat in it, want to feel it, and if they have any knowledge in any way, unzip it and see what's inside it."
He had been diagnosed with lung disorder. That led the store to close after meeting with his wife and four children.
"I got outvoted," he said. The decision was made to liquidate the organization Since his kids have professional jobs.
"I never got rich, but I managed to raise four kids, send them off to school -- and not need to pay any associations or attorneys to get them from difficulty," he explained.
Despite his years in business, Ruth said he decided overnight to shut the shop.
"My family would go mad trying to work out everything at the furniture store," he explained.
He also made a point of helping his kids and eight grandchildren find items in the store to help decorate their own houses.
Plans are to spend the upcoming few months promoting all of the inventory off . The store will close, when everything is gone.
Ruth said he's seen a boost in clients since announcing he was shutting down his business. The day after it was announced he closed, 500 people showed up in the store.
"We had them come you could check here from 20, 30, 40, even 50 years back to buy things on our economy," he said. "It has been rewarding."