After 70 years in the furniture business, Gerard Ruth is shutting down his business.
Ruth got his start receiving his neighborhood buddies to assist him haul mattresses for 50 cents an hour and driving a delivery truck. Now, health problems are currently forcing him to close down his Gerard's Furniture store.
"I am going to continue functioning. I got to deliver all this furniture."
When he turned 65, Ruth brought to help him sell the inventory off.
"I went home, and after about 10 days, I went stir crazy," he said. "So I came back."
Ironically, the same company that helped him in 1996 back with the retirement sale is currently helping him with this going-out-of-business sale.
Like he always did, 87, ruth does business. His shop does not have a website. "I don't text and I do not email," he explained. "Only been a few years ago we got a computer for bookkeeping."
Gerard's includes a focus on American-made furniture made with premium leather.
"All that stuff on the world wide web, it is like going to the boats. It is gambling. You do not know what you going to have," he explained. "Some of the leather is seconds, some of it's rejects."
Ruth began working in the furniture industry during his senior year in Baton Rouge High at Lloyd Furniture Co., then at 1126 North Blvd.. After graduation, he attended LSU joined the Coast Guard.
He returned to his occupation and also to Baton Rouge with the furniture shop.
He was a salesman at Hemenway's, Ruth got into hydroplane racing. He was a catalyst for your Tom Cat Baby, a ship 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 buddies with Lewis Gottlieb. Gottlieb backed some teams that were rushing.
Ruth got a call from Gottlieb, one day. The proprietor of Simon Furniture Co. had died and his kids were not interested in taking over the enterprise. Would Ruth be interested in having a furniture store?
Gottlieb advised him to check out the store, and when he was interested, he'd help him fund the offer.
"It was a nice shop, and I knew I could do some good on the market," Ruth said. The problem was money. His wife along with ruth, Selma, had just had their second child, and he just had a couple hundred bucks after paying the hospital bill. However he did have a $10,000 life insurance coverage he bought from a fellow member of the Red Stick Kiwanis Club.
"Mr. Gottlieb advised me to deliver him that insurance policy to the bank," Ruth explained. "He told me'You are going to make it."
The Furniture of gerard opened at 1530 Foster Drive in 1966. There were three employees: the Ruths and a bookkeeper. In the store, Ruth sold furniture during the day. In the evenings, he delivered the items he sold.
At that time, the most popular trend in furniture has been Mediterranean- and Spanish-style furniture. An effective Atlanta furniture salesman detected Gerard's Furniture and advised Ruth, he had to find a few of those things in the shop to ensure it is effective. Ruth told the guy he did not have the money to purchase the furnitureso that he got them to send three suites of furniture to Gerard and called a Virginia manufacturer. "That really cranked up business," Ruth explained. "We offered the hell out of that furniture."
Ruth heard about a shop.
The loan was so big, it was divided between CNB and St. Landry Bank in Opelousas.
Gerard's Furniture's Florida useful content Boulevard location opened around 1975. The shop won national acclaim for its completeness of the selection, which included art furniture, fabrics, rugs and decorative accessories. One area is filled with George Rodrigue prints from the early 1970s. His son Larry includes a gallery of original Louisiana art and prints in a different part of the shop.
Ruth visits the major furniture markets in North Carolina every six months to locate items to round out the selection at Gerard's.
"Baton Rouge has ever been interested in great taste and traditional furniture," he explained. "The people who purchase fine furniture want to sit inside, want to feel it, and when they have any knowledge in any way, unzip it and see what is inside it."
Through the years, Ruth has had health issues, including cancer and diabetes. He had been diagnosed with chronic lung disease. That led him to shut the shop after meeting with four children and his wife.
"I got outvoted," he explained. The choice was made to liquidate the organization Since his kids have professional occupations.
"I click here to read never got rich, but I was able to raise four children, send them off to school -- and not have to pay any institutions or lawyers to get them from trouble," he said.
Despite his years in business, Ruth said he decided overnight to shut the store.
"My family would go mad trying to figure out everything at the furniture shop," he said.
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 the stock off . The shop will close, when all is gone.
Since declaring he was shutting down his organization, Ruth said he has seen a increase in clients. The day after it was announced he was closing, 500 people showed up at the shop. The following day about 400 people were there.
"It has been rewarding."