About Agora Downtown

Agora Downtown Coffee Shop, owned by sisters MJ Stone and Andi Stone Chitty, is a coffee shop, used bookstore, gift shop, and a tremendous labor of love.  Located in one of the oldest buildings in Fredericksburg (built in 1787), and most recently a residence, Agora is described by customers as feeling like a friend’s house that also serves you coffee and delicious homemade treats.


Here’s what you’ll find:

Espresso, coffee, tea, & other drinks
Specialty liquor drinks
Baked goods and sandwiches
Free wifi
Printing Services (color and b&w)

Dog-friendly outdoor seating
Live performances
Local handmade wares by over 90 local entrepreneurs
Used books
Plenty of charging stations/outlets


As teenagers, MJ’s dream was to open a coffee shop and Andi knew she wanted a bakery.  Being so young and close in age, we of course did not get along well enough to consider having them combined into one, but we used to joke about having them next door to each other!  We grew closer in college and, at the suggestion of our mother to open a coffee shop/bakery downtown, jumped on the idea.

Agora Downtown Coffee Shop
Photo by Beverly Toves

At the the time, MJ was finishing her M.S. in Business at Elmira College, and Andi was in her last year at Virginia Tech getting her degree in Food Science and Technology.  We spent our last year in school having Skype meetings to write our business plan and visiting coffee shops in New York and Virginia to meet with their baristas and owners.  Immediately after graduation in 2014, we dove in as a family to find a place, renovate it to rezone it into a commercial space and then into a restaurant, and staff it.  As a “do-it-yourself-er” family of 7, we ended up spending almost eight months working close to full-time on a tight budget to get the space ready.

Our first day open was May 2nd, 2015.  We didn’t have any employees until 5 months in, so while Andi and MJ put in about 120 hours a week each, our two younger sisters and our little brother often helped out behind the bar, our father worked maintenance for us, and our mother took care of the outside landscaping and came in a couple times a week to make sandwiches in the coffee shop’s kitchen for us to sell.  With everyone pitching in, it truly became a family-run restaurant.

 

Since then, we’ve grown a lot in both staff and offerings in the coffee shop.  With all the hard work put into Agora, it has turned into something incredible.  We have wonderful baristas and customers that quickly turn into some of our best friends, delicious high quality baked goods and espresso drinks, and the ability to help out the community by representing artists and hosting fundraisers for local causes.  It has actually become a dream come true.

If you’re reading this because you’re interested in visiting Agora, we hope you stop by and enjoy our labor of love!

 

      I've heard so much about Agora, I had to try it out. It's fantastic! Coffee is wonderful, (I had the coffee with rum!) The blueberry muffin was tasty n the service was awesome! Thank you ladies! ☕️

    thumb Darlene Jerman Rose
    2/06/2017

      Wonderful staff... Terrific well pulled shots... And just a mini vacation in every trip.

    thumb Robert Sholtis
    1/21/2017

      Great small business with delicious drinks with fresh ingredients, including liquor, and goods baked in the kitchen. You can sit in the shop, in the kitchen, the library-like back room with games and books, or the quiet outdoor space with occasional live music.

    thumb Ed Ward
    6/17/2017

      Went there with my husband this morning and we both got the spicy mocha (mine- iced w milk, his- hot w coconut milk) we loved it! The service was friendly and the atmosphere was pleasant. We will definitely be back!

    thumb Jessica Gambriell
    5/25/2015

      Not only was the hot chocolate excellent (and it comes in "children's temperature" which is for adults, too!), but the service was friendly and charming! One of the little girls with me dropped her hot chocolate on the way out the door, and not only did they help clean up but they made her another that said "No need to cry over spilt milk" on the cup!!! Adorable! Moms, bring your kids here - it's family friendly!!!

    thumb Kelley Gaske
    12/13/2016

      I really can't wait for them to open. These two owners are amazing people with great talent and I know this place will be a huge success! This is so exciting 🙂

    thumb Andrea Sutphin Kalis
    6/26/2014