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Office equipment from defunct Vancouver e-commerce darling Shoeme to be auctioned off

Stephanie Ip, Postmedia Network

Roger Hardy, former founder of Clearly Contacts has sold his business to start up Shoe Me, a company that sells shoes online. (Jenelle Schneider/Postmedia Network)

Roger Hardy, former founder of Clearly Contacts has sold his business to start up Shoe Me, a company that sells shoes online. (Jenelle Schneider/Postmedia Network)

The contents of the defunct Shoes.com head office will be auctioned off this week in what's being called the "largest office auction in years."

The Vancouver online shoe retailer announced in late January it would cease operations and that some or all of its companies would declare bankruptcy. The shuttered properties included shoes.com, shoeme.ca, and onlineshoes.com, as well two brick-and-mortar shops in Vancouver and Toronto. It had previously been lauded as Canada's hottest startup.

Able Auctions, which also hosts the Vancouver Police Department's seized goods auction each year, shared a Facebook post and video Friday that said it had been tapped to help liquidate office equipment for Shoeme.

"You heard it in the news ... ShoeMe.com went bankrupt," the post read. "We're auctioning off the contents of their head office at one of our biggest office auctions ever."

Items up for auction include hundreds of IBM laptops and computers, about 50 Apple computers, laptops and tablets, IT equipment, office chairs and desks, a Brother embroidery machine, and more than 200 LCD monitors. Also up for auction are a ping pong table, a kayak, office phones, photocopier/printers, and a number of mini-fridges.

The closure of the e-commerce company was abrupt. Just a few weeks prior to its closing, it had been considered a potential candidate to be listed on the stock market through an initial public offering.

However, last September, the Vancouver Sun reported on how the company had been mired in customer complaints, allegations of unpaid bills and big reductions in staffing.

Two legal claims were also filed against the company last year, including one by the provincial government, alleging $119,274 in unpaid provincial sales taxes.

The company was started in a Dunbar basement in 2012 and expanded rapidly after co-founder Roger Hardy sold his Clearly Contacts business and turned his attention and efforts toward Shoeme.

The retailer went through a massive expansion in the next four years, acquiring U.S. e-commerce sites Shoes.com and OnlineShoes.com as well as the lifestyle brand Richer Poorer. Its online sales totalled $223 million US in 2015, according to Internet Retailer, up from $89.2 million in 2014. A year ago, it was on the hunt for $25 million to $50 million in capital to buy even more companies.

The auction will take place Thursday, Mar. 23, at 10 a.m. at 13557 77th Ave. in Surrey. Previews will take place the day before from noon to 6 p.m. For more information, visit ableauctions.ca.

— with Postmedia files

sip@postmedia.com