After 70 years in furniture business, Gerard Ruth is shutting down his business.
Ruth got his start getting his neighborhood buddies to help him haul mattresses for 50 cents an hour and 70 years ago driving a delivery truck. Now, health issues are forcing him to close down his Gerard's Furniture store.
"I'm gonna continue functioning. I must deliver all this furniture."
Twenty-two years ago, when he turned 65, Ruth brought to help him sell off the stock.
"So I came back."
Ironically, the identical firm that assisted him in 1996 back with the retirement sale is helping him with this sale.
Ruth, 87, nevertheless does business like he did. His shop does not have a site. "I really don't text and I do not email," he explained. "Just been a couple of years ago we got a computer for bookkeeping."
Gerard's has a focus on American-made furniture.
"All that stuff on the internet, it is like going into the ships. It is gambling. You do not know exactly what you are going to have," he explained. "Some of this leather is seconds, some of it is rejects."
Ruth began working in the furniture industry during his senior year at Baton Rouge High in Lloyd Furniture Co., at 1126 North Blvd.. After graduation, he attended LSU, then joined the Coast Guard during the Korean War.
Back in 1953, he returned to his occupation and to Baton Rouge with the furniture store.
Throughout that time he had been a salesman in Hemenway's, Ruth got into hydroplane 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 on Lake Pontchartrain.
With Lewis Gottlieb, Ruth became friends through the ship races. Some racing teams were endorsed by gottlieb.
Ruth got a call 1 day. The owner of Simon Furniture Co. had expired and his children were not interested in taking over the enterprise. Can Ruth be interested in owning a furniture store?
Gottlieb advised him to check the store out, and he would help him finance the deal when he had been interested.
"It was a great shop, and I knew I could do some good over there," Ruth explained. The problem was money. But he did have a life insurance policy he bought from a member of the Red Stick Kiwanis Club.
"Mr. Gottlieb told me to bring him that insurance policy into the bank," 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. In the store, Ruth sold furniture during the afternoon. In the evenings, this hyperlink he also delivered.
At that moment, the trend in furniture has been Victorian - 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 make it effective. Ruth told the guy he did not have the money so that he got them to send three suites of Mediterranean-style furniture to Gerard's on credit and phoned a Virginia maker. "That really cranked up business," Ruth explained. "We sold out the hell of that furniture."
A few decades after, Ruth discovered about a shop. Ruth checked the building at 7330 Florida Blvd. and chose to purchase it and fix it up.
"It cost $2 million to restore the whole construction," he explained.
The Florida Boulevard location of the Furniture of Gerard opened around 1975. The shop won nationwide acclaim for the completeness of the selection, which included fabrics, art, furniture, rugs and accessories. One room is filled with George Rodrigue prints. His son Larry prints in another area of the shop and has a gallery of original Louisiana art.
To round out the selection at Gerard's, the furniture markets are visited by Ruth in North Carolina every six months to locate 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 when they have any understanding at all, unzip it and see what's inside ."
Through the years, Ruth has had health problems, including diabetes and cancer. He had been diagnosed with chronic lung disorder. That led him to close the store after meeting with his wife and four kids.
"I got outvoted," he explained. The decision was made to liquidate the organization, next page Since his kids have professional jobs.
"I never got rich, but I was able to raise four children, send them all off to school -- and not have to pay any associations or attorneys 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 in the furniture shop," he explained.
He also made a point of helping his children and eight grandchildren find things in the shop to help decorate their own homes.
Plans are to spend selling off of the inventory in Gerard's. The shop will close, when all is gone.
Ruth said he's seen a increase in customers since declaring his organization shut down. The day after it was announced he was shutting, 500 people showed up at the shop.
"We had them come from 20, 30, 40, even 50 years back to purchase things on our economy," he said. "It has been rewarding."