Tattered Cover Is Now The Largest Black-Owned Indie Bookstore In The US

Tattered Covered, a local bookstore chain founded in 1971, became the nation’s largest Black-owned independent bookstore this week after investors and Denver natives, David Back and Kwame Spearman took a risk. 

“The notion of buying a bookstore in the middle of a pandemic was just about the craziest thing I had ever heard,”Spearman, a Black man, and the bookstore’s new CEO, told the Denver Post

After experiencing the economic toll of the pandemic, owners Len Vlahos and Kristen Gilligan sold the store to Bended Page LLC, an investment group led by Back and Spearman. 

“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,” Vlahos and Gilligan wrote on the store’s website. “The difficult sales environment has not kept pace with the business’ mounting debt.” 

In addition to the impact of the pandemic, the owners had to issue a public apology in June after stating the store would not be taking a public stance on the Black Lives Matter movement, according to a report by NPR

Spearman, a supporter of the Black Lives Matter told Denverite.com he wants to look to the future, describing the store’s new ownership as “kind of a cool twist of events and something that we obviously hope to add to the dialogue that BLM and some of the other movements have begun.”  

He added, “Colorado needs Tattered Cover, and Tattered Cover needs Colorado.” 

Photo: Getty Images 

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