It's a sad day for book fans across the State of Colorado as one of our oldest and most cherished, locally-owned bookstore chains has filed for Chapter 11 protection from bankruptcy, and announced they will be closing three of their seven stores in the next week.

Tattered Cover opened its first Cherry Creek location back in 1971, as a small 950-square-foot location, then owned by a book consultant from Aurora.

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In 1974, it was purchased by Joyce Meskis, who would own it for more than 40 years and expand not only the original location but add additional locations as she endeared the independent bookshop to literally millions across the country. The Tattered Cover drew authors, celebrities, and their fans regularly for book signings and other events over the years, including former presidents, athletes, actors, and more. You'd be hard-pressed to find anyone in the state who's never been to at least one of their locations, even just for the sake of visiting a Colorado landmark.

Meskis sold the bookstores in 2015 to partners Len Vlahos and Kristen Gilligan, who then sold the company to a group of investors led by former Denver mayoral candidate Kwame Spearman in 2020. Meskis herself passed away at the end of last year.

Now the current owners find the bookstores in debt to the tune of between $1 and $10 million, owing between 200 to 999 different creditors, forcing the filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy and creating the need to close three of their seven stores in order for the chain to survive, at least for now.

According to the Denver Post, they will be closing the McGregor Square store across from Coors Field in addition to stores in Westminster and Colorado Springs, forcing the need to lay off about a quarter of the company's overall staff.

It's a sad turn of events as we head into the holiday season, losing yet another piece of Colorado history. Here's hoping the other four can bounce back and be saved.

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