Geek Chic, manufacturer of hand-crafted gaming furniture, has gone out of business.
According to multiple customer accounts, the company stopped responding to email or telephone calls on or around June 12. The next day Geek Chic released a statement on its social media accounts saying it had “ceased operation.”
“It is with great sadness that I must announce Geek Chic has ceased operation,” wrote Geek Chic founder and CEO Robert Gifford. “Despite heroic efforts by many, this outcome is out of our hands. ... I am forever indebted to those who joined us on this adventure, and am absolutely gutted about it’s [sic] end.”
The trouble is that Geek Chic required payment well in advance of the delivery of their products, which often ran in excess of $3,500. That means many customers’ tables are finished, or nearly finished, and may never be delivered. When or if they are able to get their money back is an unresolved question.
The first hint that Geek Chic was in financial trouble came during an episode of Shark Tank that aired in 2013. Gifford explained that while his company had done $2 million in sales for 2012, it ran a $100,000 loss. He came close to clinching a deal for $300,000 in investment for a 25 percent equity share in the company but negotiations eventually broke down.
Founded in 2008, Geek Chic made a splash at conventions like Gen Con and PAX by catering to a new breed of well-heeled tabletop hobbyists. Their rise paralleled the fantastic surge in tabletop gaming, specifically board gaming, seen over the past decade. The company is survived by a handful of competitors scattered all over world who turn out similar products. They include Rathskellers and Carolina Game Tables.
Polygon has reached out to Geek Chic and will update this article as necessary.
Update: Geek Chic appeared on Shark Tank in 2013, not 2016 as our article originally stated.