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
Printing Services (color and b&w)
Dog-friendly outdoor seating
Local handmade wares by over 90 local entrepreneurs
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.
At the time, MJ was finishing her M.S. in Business at Elmira College in Elmira, New York, 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 stubborn “do-it-yourself-er” family of 7, we ended up spending almost eleven 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 that we and many others have fallen in love with. 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 unique ability to help out the community by representing artists, contributing to community events, 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!
Meet Our Team
Co-Owner, Baker, Barista
Co-Owner, Operations Manager, Barista
Favorite Agora drink right now: Vanilla medium and dark roast Butter Coffee
Fun Fact: Heather is an avid hiker
Been with Agora since: April, 2017
Favorite Agora drink right now: Brown Sugar Cinnamon Iced Americano with soy
Fun Fact: Jess is a Theater major at the University of Mary Washingotn with a minor in Arts Administration
Been with Agora since: July, 2017
Favorite Agora drink right now: Soy Raspberry Matcha Latte
Fun Fact: Keri is currently a student at the University of Mary Washington, studying Computer Science
Been with Agora since: September, 2016
Favorite Agora drink right now: Pumpkin Cinnamon Spice Latte with soy milk
Fun Fact: Kristy is a both a Master Gardener and a Master Food Volunteer
Been with Agora since: The Beginning
Favorite Agora drink right now: Dirty Chai with Oat milk
Fun Fact: Lara has a Master's Degree in English Literature
Been with Agora since: August, 2019
Favorite Agora drink right now: Sparkling Lavender Lemonade
Fun Fact: Linda and her husband built a teardrop camper and have started traveling with it.
Been with Agora since: April, 2019
Favorite Agora drink right now: Dirty Chai with Almond milk
Fun Fact: Madison is a Political Science major with a minor in Practical Ethics at the University of Mary Washington, and can also play two instruments, the clarinet and the piano
Been with Agora since: October, 2019
Barista, Maintenance Manager
Favorite Agora drink right now: Mocha
Fun Fact: Maggie's dream is to live somewhere in the mountains, off the grid, with her own personal library
Been with Agora since: July, 2018
Favorite Agora drink right now: Vanilla Matcha with soy milk
Fun Fact: Mary has 18 tattoos, a few of which she has done herself
Been with Agora since: September, 2018
Barista, Inventory Manager
Finally, a place where non-dairy milk is priced the same as regular milk. Thank you!
Hard work, great attitudes, delicious food and great coffee. This place is going to be amazing.
Love Agora! They support local authors and artists while providing the best coffee in town!
Love this coffee shop! Not once I have came in and had a bad cup of coffee! Plus a major perk is how knowledgable the two young ladies behind the desk are about coffee! They are a major asset to the community and if you haven't been in to the shop then you're missing out!
Agora is becoming one of my favorite places to hang out or study downtown. I love the homey feel and the coffee is amazing. All of the baked goods I've tried so far have been quite tasty. I think this shop fits in so well with downtown Fredericksburg. The owners are friendly and have a knack for creating a warm, hospitable space. I love how it feels like I am having coffee at a friend's house! Great addition to the community.
Great coffee shop with a conscience!! Thank you for promoting Project 516! 💙