After 70 years in the furniture business, his company is being shut down by Gerard Ruth.
Ruth got his start receiving his neighborhood friends to help him haul mattresses and driving a delivery truck. Health problems are forcing him to close down his Gerard's Furniture store.
"I am gonna continue working. I must deliver this furniture all "
This is actually the second time that Ruth has had a sale. When he turned 65, Ruth brought in an outside company to help the inventory is sold off by him.
Paradoxically, the company that assisted him in 1996 back with all the retirement sale is helping him with this going-out-of-business sale.
Like he did, ruth, 87 does business. His shop does not have a site. "I don't text and that I don't email," he said. "Just been a few years ago we got a computer for accounting."
Gerard's has a focus on high-end, American-made furniture.
"All that stuff on the internet, it's like going to the boats. It's gambling. You do not know exactly what you going to get," 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 at Lloyd Furniture Co., then at 1126 North Blvd.. After graduation, he attended LSU joined the Coast Guard during the Korean War.
He returned with the furniture shop to his job and to Baton Rouge.
He had been 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 prestigious and dangerous Pan American race Lake Pontchartrain.
Through the boat races, Ruth became buddies with Lewis Gottlieb, president of City National Bank. Some teams that were rushing were endorsed by gottlieb.
Ruth got a call from Gottlieb, 1 afternoon. The owner 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 shop?
Gottlieb advised him to check the store out, and he'd help him fund the offer if he had been interested.
"It was a nice store, and that I knew I could do some good on the market," Ruth explained. The problem was money. But he did have a $10,000 life insurance policy he bought from a fellow member of the Red Stick Kiwanis Club.
"Mr. Gottlieb told me to deliver him that insurance coverage into the lender," Ruth explained. "He told me'You are going to create it."
The Furniture of gerard opened at 1530 Foster Drive in 1966. There were three workers: a bookkeeper and the Ruths. Throughout the afternoon, Ruth sold furniture at the store. 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 find some of those things in the shop. Ruth told the man he did not have the money to buy the furnitureso that he got them to send three suites of Mediterranean-style furniture to Gerard and called a Virginia maker. "That really cranked business up," Ruth said. "We offered the hell out of that furniture."
A few years later, Ruth discovered about a store.
"It cost $2 million to revive the entire construction," he explained. The loan was so big, it was split between CNB and St. Landry Bank in Opelousas.
The Florida Boulevard place of Gerard's Furniture opened around 1975. The store won national acclaim for the completeness of the selection, which included furniture, artwork, fabrics, rugs and decorative accessories. One room is filled with George Rodrigue prints in the early 1970s. His son Larry has a bunch of original Louisiana art and prints in a different area of the shop.
Ruth visits the major furniture markets in North Carolina to round out the selection in Gerard's.
"Baton Rouge has ever been interested in great taste and traditional furniture," he explained. Read Full Article "The men and women who purchase fine furniture want to sit inside, would like to feel it, and if they have any understanding in any way, unzip it and see what's inside it."
Over the years, Ruth has had health issues, including diabetes and cancer. Recently, he had been diagnosed with lung disease. That led the shop to close after meeting with four kids and his wife.
The choice was made to liquidate the organization Since his kids all have professional jobs.
"I never got rich, but I managed to straight from the source raise four kids, send them all off to college -- and not need to pay any associations or lawyers to get them out of trouble," he explained.
Regardless of his years in business, Ruth said he chose overnight to shut the store.
"My family would go crazy trying to figure out everything at the furniture shop," he explained.
He also made a point of helping eight grandchildren and his kids find items in the store to help decorate their own homes.
Plans are to spend the next few months promoting the stock off in Gerard's. When everything is gone, the store will close.
Ruth said he has seen a increase in customers, since declaring he was shutting down his business. The day after it was announced he was shutting, 500 people showed up at the store. The next day about 400 people were there.
"It's been rewarding."