Tattered Cover has long had multiple locations in Denver, but with the recent announcement that it will open a new outlet 70 miles south in Colorado Springs early next year, the new owners are making their first move to transform it into a regional chain. Kwame Spearman (CEO), David Back (chairman of the board), and a team of investors purchased the 50-year-old bookstore in December and have quickly moved to put their stamp on the Colorado institution. They’re opening the store’s first children’s concept and fifth location, Tattered Cover Kids, at Aurora’s Stanley Marketplace on June 26. There are also three affiliate airport stores with Hudson Booksellers at Denver International and a newly opened Tattered Cover + Kids pop-up store at the Park Meadows Mall.
Two weeks prior to opening the children’s store, Tattered Cover completed the move of its LoDo store to the McGregor Square complex, a new multiuse development adjacent to Coors Field. The investment group is also following through with a new general bookstore that the previous owners could no longer afford to complete in Westminster, which is currently slated to open next month.
“We are in growth mode,” Spearman said. “I think we will expand throughout Colorado.” He added that there are a few more stores already in the hopper, and none of them are near communities that already have established indie bookstores.
“If you look across the state, there are so many communities that would benefit from what we do,” Spearman said. He pointed to the store’s efforts to reach out to schools and work with local authors. “We’re really trying to propel our local artistic community up and give them access to our customers,” he added.
Those aren’t the only changes made by Spearman and Back. On October 1, they began offering wine and beer at McGregor Square, another Tattered Cover first. Going forward they plan to add wine bars to the Westminster and Colorado Springs locations.
Changes also extend to book inventory. Since February, Tattered Cover has placed a new emphasis on Black-centric books and events through a special section, which it branded “Hue-Man Experience” in a nod to Denver bookseller Clara Villarosa and her celebrated Denver bookstore, which closed in 2000. The 91-year-old Hue-Man founder serves as a consultant.
For Spearman, the in-store experience will continue to be key as the number of stores grows. “Tattered Cover came to prominence,” he said, “because it was such an experience to go into our stores, and because our staff is so knowledgeable about the book world. That’s what people are looking for moving forward. Businesses in retail that provide that experience, that have that superior customer experience and curation, aren’t going anywhere. And in fact, coming out of the pandemic, I just think there’s a tremendous opportunity for growth, and it’s not worrying about Amazon or delivery. It’s really providing value to our community, and if you do that then sales will follow.”