Tattered Cover Book Store has changed hands through a private sale announced on Wednesday, December 9.
Denver natives Kwame Spearman and David Back, founding partners of Bended Page, LLC, lead a group of Colorado-based investors and national bookselling and publishing experts that purchased the 49-year-old business. Tattered Cover includes four locations in and around Denver and a fifth planned for Westminster, Colorado. Prior to the sale, Len Vlahos and Kristen Gilligan, book industry veterans, owned and managed the bookstores, which they purchased from longtime owner Joyce Meskis in 2015.
Spearman and Back (respectively chief executive officer and chairman of Bended Page) grew up visiting and appreciating the Tattered Cover. At 15, Back’s first formal job was working as a cashier at the bookstore’s Cherry Creek location, and Spearman’s favorite restaurant was the Fourth Story, housed in the bookstore’s flagship location from 1995 to 2006.
The new ownership team has extensive professional experience in business management consulting and start-ups. Spearman worked internationally across various industries, with a focus on retail and consumer companies and organization design and talent management, while Back visioned and grew the first rental car company in India.
“The Tattered Cover, and all it embodies for us as Denver natives — reading, learning, the independent spirit, buying local, and most importantly community and connection — are the ingredients that drew us to this endeavor,” said Spearman. “As we approach Tattered Cover’s 50th anniversary we are honored and excited to invest in this important community treasure and ensure it remains a piece of the Colorado experience for generations to come.”
Back added, “We see Tattered Cover as more than a bookstore. It’s a place where memories are made and where everyone should feel at home. Our vision includes growing opportunities for community engagement, connection, and conversations. We see this happening within our walls, but also more directly in the community, and we are eager to bring this vision to reality over the coming months.”