It’s been quite some time since the Westminster Mall has been the place to be. Though on January 24, The Tattered Cover opened its seventh location in a growing network of local businesses and housing developments that have been springing up in the remnants of what, in its day, could have been the set of Mallrats. While the old JCPenny still looms large on the property, the rest has been experiencing a conversion fit for a younger demographic and now, eager readers.
If the opening weekend was any indication, the neighborhood has been more than ready for the bookstore’s arrival. “It was starved excitement. People were also just excited to get out,” said Kwame Spearman, a Denver local who has been acting as CEO of The Tattered Cover brand since 2021. The 14,000 titles were surely part of the pull, though the presence of a wine and beer bar undoubtedly brought out more than a few thirsty attendees. Spearman is confident that the new location will act as a social space, appealing to both the chatty and the intellectually curious. “People will want to come here independent of finding their next great book,” he continued.
Of the thousands of books on the shelves, roughly half is fiction. Each title is selected by one of the members of the buying team, with specialists in new, used, bargain, and kids and young adult content filling the space with a highly curated set of options designed to inspire and take readers outside their comfort zones or traditional lanes. “Our differentiator from Amazon is the experience,” said Spearman. “We also believe that we can help authors and titles become bestsellers,” he continued, stressing the very palpable importance of community bookstores’ place in an ever more delivery-oriented world. “We’ve really been doubling down on becoming a community organization.”
The team has indeed kept experience in mind, with this iteration being the first and currently only of the main locations to have a bar. “A bar is the next evolution of experiential,” grinned Spearman. In the 50 years that it’s been open, The Tattered Cover has always been a place that facilitates discovery. The new location is hoping to act as a social oasis, reminding customers that reading has always been a reason to get together. Attimo Wine is providing the bottles, with Fiction Beer Company holding down the brew. Cocktails are set to join as the place continues to draw foot traffic.
The expansion of the brand — both conceptually and spatially — bodes well for Colorado bookworms. And while the space currently has the tranquil hush of its cohorts, a large, yet to be used patio suggests that the party is close on the horizon. “I want this space to look different in six months,” said Spearman, clearly overjoyed that The Tattered Cover appears to be more dynamic than ever.
The latest Tattered Cover is located at 8885 Westminster Blvd., Westminster. It is open every day from 10 a.m. – 6 p.m., though there are plans to extend the hours on the weekends.
All photography by Adrienne Thomas.