Tattered Cover Sold to New Management Team
A Letter from Len and Kristen to Customers
Yesterday, we completed a transaction to transfer ownership of Tattered Cover to a new management team. We’ll introduce the new owners in a moment, but want to first share our reasons for taking this very significant step.
Thanks to five decades of love and support from you, our customers, Tattered Cover has earned a special place in the community of Metro Denver. The stores have been a lynchpin of thought, creativity, and culture since 1971, and we have been both proud and humbled to participate in its success these last several years.
But the impact of the economic crisis caused by the pandemic made it clear that Tattered Cover was going to need not only new management, but an infusion of capital. The difficult sales environment has not kept pace with the business’s mounting debt. We saw this coming a long way off and have spent months doing all we can to ensure a bright future for the bookstores, even if our roles had to change.
As Kristen and I thought about the next steps in our journey, it was of paramount importance to ensure that Tattered Cover be placed in the hands of an ownership team who values the power of this special place and what it means to the community.
With that as the key lens into the future of this beloved community institution, we are excited to share with you that we have found a team that is as passionate and committed to Tattered Cover as we, and all of you, are.
Denver natives, high-school rivals, and long-time friends Kwame Spearman and David Back lead a diverse group of Colorado-based investors, and national bookselling and publishing experts that purchased the Tattered Cover.
Like many of you, Kwame and David grew up visiting and appreciating the Tattered Cover. At 15, David's first formal job was working as a cashier at the bookstore’s Cherry Creek location, and Kwame’s favorite restaurant was the Fourth Story. They are not only emotionally invested, but they also believe Tattered Cover is THE Colorado small business and look forward to re-establishing it as a guiding light for the community.
The new ownership team has extensive professional experience in business management consulting and start-ups. Kwame worked internationally across various industries, with a focus on retail and consumer companies and organization design and talent management, while David visioned and grew the first car rental company in India.
Here are some words from your new Tattered Cover leadership team:
Kwame Spearman, CEO
“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. 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.
David Back, Chairman of the Board
“We see Tattered Cover as more than a bookstore. It’s a place where memories are made. 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.”
It has truly been a gift to have led and worked alongside the amazing Tattered Cover team over the last six years. We are proud of our efforts and our impact.
We thank you for your patronage and commitment to Tattered Cover, we thank the Meskis family for their continued love and support of the store, and we thank Kwame, David, and their team of investors for stepping forward to keep this pillar of the community alive.
Keep reading. Stay engaged and stay safe. Please remember Tattered Cover as you shop for holiday gifts. You can shop from the comfort of your home at www.tatteredcover.com or for those of you who will visit our stores, rest assured we will continue to take all the precautions necessary to ensure a safe experience.
Again, thank you for your support of Tattered Cover and Happy Holidays.
Len Vlahos and Kristen Gilligan