Bankrupt Geek Chic owed $7.5M; auction raises a fraction

The Everett maker of “heirloom furniture” for gamers ceased operations abruptly last year.

Geek Chic owner Robert Gifford in the warehouse where his high-end gaming tables were built. (Quinn Russell Brown / HBJ file)

Geek Chic owner Robert Gifford in the warehouse where his high-end gaming tables were built. (Quinn Russell Brown / HBJ file)

EVERETT — An auction for bankrupt Geek Chic grossed only $336,850, far less than the $7.5 million owed to creditors, according to paperwork filed last month with U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Seattle.

Geek Chic made “heirloom-quality” furniture designed for playing tabletop games before the business closed abruptly last summer. The tables were priced anywhere from hundreds to thousands of dollars. The tables were made at 711 100th St. SE in Everett.

Auctioneer James G. Murphy Co. sold all of the remaining finished and unfinished furniture, board games, office equipment, machinery and raw materials at a sale on Oct. 23. At the auction, woodworking equipment went for under $50 to as much as $13,000 for a 44-inch, two-head belt sander.

A dozen of the company’s finished tables sold for several thousand dollars apiece, according to court records. James G. Murphy charged an auction fee of $31,270. The net amount to be distributed is $305,579.

Among the creditors listed in the bankruptcy filings is fantasy author Patrick Rothfuss, who made a claim for $750,000 for a loan. Geek Chic founder Robert Gifford put in a claim for $2.2 million.

The tables and other furniture were made for playing such games as Dungeons & Dragons, Settlers of Catan or Cosmic Encounter. The tables featured cup holders, removable tops to store away games and hideaway drawers and shelves to stash dice and game books.

Gifford came up with the idea for the business about a decade ago and sold the tables at gaming conventions. He quickly drew a fan following with more than 17,000 Facebook fans and more than 5,000 Twitter followers. A message was posted on the company’s social media accounts on June 13 that the business was closing.

“It is with great sadness that I must announce Geek Chic has ceased operation,” the message read.

Jim Davis: 425-339-3097; jdavis@heraldnet.com; @HBJnews.

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