Owner of Tattered Cover Bookstore in Denver Joyce Meskis announced her forthcoming retirement this summer, as well as a two-year timeframe to pass over a controlling interest in the bookstore to Len Vlahos, currently executive director of BISG, and his wife, Kristen Gilligan. Vlahos will resign his position at BISG on June 12, after which he and Gilligan will drive cross-country to Denver, join Tattered Cover’s senior management team on July 1, and to acquire a controlling interest in the business on July 1, 2017. Meskis, after her retirement, will be available “on an as needed basis.” Meskis, who bought Tattered Cover in 1975, told Bookselling This Week that her decision to retire was an emotional one but not difficult practically speaking. “However, even that was tempered by this extraordinary opportunity for the store.”
Vlahos said in an interview with BTW the opportunity to co-own Tattered Cover was a “dream come true” as he and Gilligan, both former booksellers, had discussed such opportunities in the past. That the bookstore is turning out to be Tattered Cover is kind of mind-blowing.” He added in a statement provided by BISG: “I have great fondness for BISG and its mission and have valued my time here immensely. I’ve learned a lot from not just the members of the Board, but from the many industry stakeholders who volunteer on BISG committees, and, of course, from my colleagues on the staff. It’s a great organization and I’m happy to have played some small part in positioning it for what I believe is a very bright future.”
“Len has been a tremendous asset to BISG during what has been an exciting yet tumultuous time in the book industry,” said Tara Catogge of Quarto Publishing Group USA and BISG Board chair in a statement. “His hard work and insight over the last few years have positioned us well as we continue to provide the industry access to best practices, standards, research and education. We are all very sad to see him go but wish him well in his move to Denver.” A search for a new BISG executive director is underway, with its board appointing a search committee for those purposes.
ABA CEO Oren Teicher added: “Joyce Meskis helped create the modern independent bookstore. She served our organization with great distinction as a Board member and president, and her leadership on First Amendment and free expression issues is legendary. That Tattered Cover will continue under the expert leadership of Kristen Gilligan and Len Vlahos reinforces the good news surrounding indie bookstores of late. I can say with complete confidence that all of us associated with indie bookstores are smiling broadly with this announcement.”