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Denver investors buy Tattered Cover bookstores

The investors purchased all four locations, with a fifth location planned for Westminster.

DENVER — The new owners of the Tattered Cover are promising to prioritize a commitment to the community as they take over the four locations of the 49-year-old business, with a fifth location in Westminster in the works.

Denver natives Kwame Spearman and David Back, who are the founding partners of Bended Page, LLC, led the group of Colorado-based investors who purchased the business in a private sale.

Prior to the sale, Len Vlahos and Kristen Gilligan, book industry veterans, owned and managed the bookstores, which they purchased from long-time owner Joyce Meskis in 2015. 

RELATED: Storied Denver bookstore to close current location (but it's not going far)

Spearman and Back grew up visiting and appreciating the Tattered Cover, according to a news release announcing the sale.

“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," Back said. "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.”

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 1995-2006. 

“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.”

Earlier this year, it was announced that the independent bookstore is moving into McGregor Square in the first quarter of 2021. The development is being built at 20th and Wazee streets, adjacent to Coors Field. 

The current location at 1628 16th St., at the corner of 16th and Wynkoop streets in the historic Morey Mercantile Building, where The Tattered Cover has made its home since 1994, will close.

RELATED: McGregor Square, named after late Rockies president, aims to enhance Ballpark neighborhood year-round

The McGregor Square project is set to open early next year with 655,000 square feet of commercial and residential space. It will also include a hotel operated by Sage Hospitality and 103 private residences in a 13-story tower. It's being developed by West Lot LLC, with Dick Monfort, owner of the Colorado Rockies, as lead developer.

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