Joyce Meskis, pioneering owner of Tattered Cover, dies

Joyce Meskis, the pioneering bookstore owner and fierce first amendment advocate who built Tattered Cover into a regional powerhouse, died at home Thursday surrounded by her family, the store announced on social media.

“Joyce is the reason why we are all able to call Tattered Cover home,” the bookstore said in a Facebook post Friday evening. “Joyce was a literary lioness that evolved our industry in a way that few others had done before her.”

Meskis purchased Tattered Cover in 1974, turning it from a hole-in-the-wall storefront in Cherry Creek into one of the most revered independent bookstores in America. She sold her beloved business in 2015 to Len Vlahos and Kristen Gilligan, and Tattered Cover is now owned by a trio of Denver natives: Kwame Spearman, David Back and Alan Frosh.

The bookstore said it is coming up with ways to honor Meskis and her “global legacy” and will announce those in the future.

“For now, please hug your colleagues, family, and friends,” Tattered Cover’s post said. “Life is too short.”

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