TATTERED COVER BOOK STORE’S OWNERSHIP TURNING A PAGE
When Joyce Meskis took over the Tattered Cover Book Store in 1974, it was a struggling shop. On Saturday, 43 years later, another chapter starts.
Shoppers at the Tattered Cover Book Store’s four Denver area shops probably won’t notice much of a difference, but this weekend marks an important moment in the business’ 46-year history.
Len Vlahos and Kristen Gilligan officially acquire a controlling interest in the bookstore Saturday as longtime owner Joyce Meskis retires, marking the end of a two-year ownership transition.
“The transition has been so good and so fluid that it’s a little anticlimactic,” said Vlahos, the bookstore’s CEO. “But this is what we’ve been working toward. This is why we came here. We’re excited.”
“It’s turned out even better (than expected) — it is incredible,” said Gilligan, who is leading Tattered Cover’s outreach to young readers. “I am more passionate and enthusiastic than I was before, and I’m an enthusiastic, passionate person by nature. So if that’s possible, I am.”
The couple has already begun to leave a mark on the business for which they moved their young family cross country two years ago. In an interview last month, they promised some “big things” yet to come.
What won’t change, though, are Tatidentity tered Cover’s beloved nooks and crannies, chairs and couches and lamps. Same goes for the extra tall shelves and darkgreen carpeting.
The business’ commitment to free speech, protecting readers’ privacy and political neutrality isn’t going anywhere, either, Vlahos said.
“We want customers, no matter who they are, to feel they can come into Tattered Cover and browse for books and content without fear of being judged. Whether you want to come in for a book on gender or a book on gun ownership, you’re welcome here,” Vlahos said. “We want to help get the right book into your hands. That’s an important principle for us. It’s something that Joyce cultivated here that we absolutely intend to continue.”
Moving forward, a retool of the website could be coming this fall, as well as maybe some after-hours events for adults. A robust event schedule will continue, including fall engagements with former “CBS Evening News” anchor Dan Rather and mega bestselling author Dan Brown, the second annual Colorado Teen Book Con in November and an Educator Night in September.
Other changes already in place include a new computer system, launched in February, an overhaul of the stores’ coffee bars and a partnership with Libro.fm, a digital audiobook platform that supports independent booksellers.
“At the end of the day, we have to ask ourselves, with everything we do — whether it’s Kristen talking to a dozen new schools ... or me dealing with a new computer system ... — how does this impact the customer?” Vlahos said.
“We still want this to be a destination experience,” Gilligan said. “We just want to make it even better.”
Len Vlahos and his wife, Kristen Gilligan, acquire a controlling interest in the bookstore Saturday.