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. Big, grateful shout-out to Collegetown Bagels in Ithaca, NY and Soulful Cup in Corning, NY who sat down with us for hours in 2014 teaching us about running a coffee shop!
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. We even roast our own beans, now! 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
Manager, Senior Barista
Kitchen Manager, Baker, Senior Barista
Inventory Manager, Senior Barista
Maintenance Manager, Baker, Senior Barista
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
Baker, Senior Barista
Favorite Agora drink right now: Vanilla Matcha with soy milk
Fun Fact: Mary is covered in tattoos, a few of which she has done herself
Been with Agora since: September, 2018
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: Sparkling Lavender Lemonade
Fun Fact: Linda hopes to one day soon open her own bakery
Been with Agora since: April, 2019
Social Media & Decorations Coordinator, Barista
Favorite Agora drink right now: Chili Pepper Mocha
Been with Agora since: February, 2020
Favorite Agora drink right now: Sparkling Lavender Lemonade
Fun Fact: Ellie is studying to become a Special Education teacher at the University of Mary Washington, and is fluent in Spanish
Been with Agora since: September, 2020
Favorite Agora drink right now: Breve Cortado
Fun Fact: Julia is currently writing a fantasy novel
Been with Agora since: April, 2021
Favorite Agora drink right now: Iced Brown Sugar Cinnamon Americano with oat milk
Fun Fact: Allie loves cheese. Her favorite food is cheese. She endeavors to try every kind of cheese there is.
Been with Agora since: May, 2021
Favorite Agora drink right now: Iced Lavender Sage Honey Chai with oat milk
Fun Fact: Jovi's first tattoo was a little coffee cup that she got while in Greece
Been with Agora since: June, 2021
Favorite Agora drink right now: Brown Sugar Maple shaken espresso with cream
Fun Fact: After college, Janelle moved to Arizona for a change of pace and ended up attending culinary school
Been with Agora since: July, 2021
Favorite Agora drink right now: Honey Lavender Latte
Fun Fact: Terik is a Business Administration major at the University of Mary Washington
Been with Agora since: August, 2021
This place was great! It was such a great place to sit and study for a while. The study cubby was so cute! Great coffee and such nice staff. Since it was my first time in town they gave me some great suggestions of where to check out. Very impressed with this place
March 8, 2016
So cozy and warm to visit. The company is great and the ladies behind the counter are very eager to learn about you and make you feel a part of their lives! They are the best and they create the best in food and drink!
May 4, 2015
September 2, 2017
Stopped by, the building is beautiful and will make a wonderful coffee shop! Had a sample of some brownies and they were absolutely amazing! Very excited for what is in store!
August 8, 2014