Tattered Cover Plans a Kid-Lit Paradise at Stanley Marketplace

Tattered Cover CEO Kwame Spearman as Black Panther (left).
Kwame Spearman
Tattered Cover CEO Kwame Spearman as Black Panther (left).
Kids will be king at the Tattered Cover’s new concept: a child-focused book and retail space at Aurora’s Stanley Marketplace, 2501 Dallas Street. The page-turning place will join existing restaurants and shops at the former aviation manufacturing facility by early this summer.

Some fans are no doubt still lamenting the recent move of the LoDo Tattered Cover, but perhaps this new and inventive venture will hearten them a bit. After all, this idea is new. It marks the first time that the Tattered Cover will have an entire location that focuses solely on books and gifts aimed at the younger set — and the parents, aunts, uncles and grandparents who love them. The new retail establishment will also host kid-friendly events and programming, from birthday parties to readings by children’s authors to storytime and more.

Even the space itself is being designed with kids in mind. The 1,400-square-foot floor plan includes child-friendly elements like lower shelving and chalkboards, and its centerpiece will be a large mural that whimsically evokes the experience of getting lost in a story. The bookstore is currently finding a local artist to create the mural, which will cover the back wall and incorporate experiential decor that kids can interact with and enjoy.

We caught up with Tattered Cover CEO and co-owner Kwame Spearman to talk over some of the plans — at least those he wants to reveal at this time. Like all good children’s books, this plan has some surprises in store.

Westword: How did the “TC for Kids” idea come about?

Kwame Spearman: When we took over the business, our focus was to make it a community institution, and one of the biggest elements of a community is advancing youth literacy. We want to take the opportunity to go into a new community and focus on one of the most important aspects — children — and provide an experiential environment to foster their love of reading.  

Why is Stanley Marketplace the perfect spot for a new branch of the Tattered Cover? Were other locations considered?

Nowhere else was considered, because Stanley Marketplace is without a doubt the best option. The work that Mark Shaker and his team have done there is absolutely amazing. In particular, we love his focus on making Stanley a place where all of Aurora is showcased, in doing more outreach and making Stanley a place where everyone feels welcomed.

What's the thought behind making the store kid-focused? There's something of a dearth of bookstores out that way anyway.

It's really twofold. The first part is that it’s only 1,400 square feet. The smaller size of the store gave us the opportunity to be incredibly targeted. Second, we really believe in children and literature. My belief is that literacy is the difference between successful and unsuccessful outcomes as children mature. This is the first time a Tattered Cover store will have a specialized focus in its fifty-year history. 

What age range is the facility being designed to attract? Will it work for YA fans as well as the Seuss set?

The space will really be focused on the youngest readers and those who are young at heart, with a selection of books for readers of all ages. There will be a shelf for adult books and offerings for YA readers, too, but to be honest, we'd rather take this opportunity to create a space where a fifteen-year-old might feel too old to hang out, but a seven-year-old thinks it's a dream come true and the best place they've ever been.

What sort of events do you foresee in the event space?

Tattered Cover’s most immersive kid events were the stuff of legend, and we’re excited to re-create that kind of magic in this space, working with authors and creating events that inspire kids to love reading. The new Tattered Cover will inspire the next generation of readers — and you can rest assured that I'm going to be fully dressed in my Black Panther costume for the opening.

Will the Tattered Cover be partnering with other kid-friendly outlets at Stanley? Sweet Cow ice cream and the like?

Stanley is a community, and we are thrilled to become a part of the Stanley family. We hope to collaborate with others going forward to create engaging and exciting events that everyone can enjoy and benefit from.

What's the Tattered Cover's dream for this project? Envision the venture going perfectly. What does that look like?

We want what generations of children have experienced at Tattered Cover — the warm and fuzzy feelings the store has inspired for the past fifty years. I want every child in Colorado to have a memory of falling in love with a book or a type of a book or an author during their visit to Stanley Marketplace.

For more information and updates on the project, watch the Tattered Cover website.