General contractor opening coffee-and-books store in Highland Park

mo karnage by any beans scaled

Mo Karnage, owner of upcoming coffee-and-books store By Any Beans Necessary. (Jack Jacobs photo)

A local contractor is building a new business venture in the city’s Highland Park area.

Mo Karnage, who runs GC firm Karnage Construction, is preparing to open By Any Beans Necessary, a coffee shop and bookstore, at 3006 First Ave.

The coffeehouse is leasing a space next door to the building at 3008 First Ave., which is owned by Karnage and serves as the construction company’s headquarters. Karnage founded the firm in 2014, and focuses on historical preservation work in addition to other construction services.

In addition to coffee and books, By Any Beans Necessary is planning to have additional retail offerings by way of a consignment space dedicated to crafts and gifts made by locals.

Karnage is aiming to roll out the retail side in June, and expects to have the cafe fully up and running by July or August.

The business’s three-pronged approach is intended to draw the maximum number of people to the store, Karnage said. The hope is that a customer might come in for a coffee and also leave with a book or vice versa.

“I’m counting on them to piggyback off each other. Three separate draws for separate audiences,” Karnage said. “I think they go together pretty well and I know a lot of bookstore places have a gift-style retail area.”

The cafe will have seating for 30 to 40 people in the 1,700-square-foot space, and also expects to have a small, rentable conference room.

Food offerings will also be on the cafe’s menu, including waffles, sandwiches, pastries, bagels, ice cream, and gluten-free and vegan options.

The shop doesn’t plan to roast its own beans, and has narrowed down its likely vendors to a couple local coffee companies.

The bookstore side of the business is planned to split its inventory roughly 50-50 between new and used books. Karnage expects to offer a variety of genres, ranging from science fiction to children’s titles, but plans to emphasize political titles.

“I’m going to have a larger-than-normal number of radical queer feminist books and I’m going to have a section specifically for books banned by various Virginia school districts,” Karnage said. “I want it to be a pretty comprehensive bookstore in terms of there being a little bit of everything.”

Inspired by a longtime desire to open a bookstore, Karnage is also drawing on previous hospitality experience. Karnage worked as a barista for roughly three years until 2011 at the former Crossroads Coffee on Morris Street, and also managed The Cafe at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church after that.

The buildout and equipment for By Any Beans is anticipated to cost $80,000. The shop is planning to hire eight to 10 employees.

In other local bookstore moves, a similar coffee-and-books combo concept called Abi’s Books and Brews is planning to open near VCU’s Monroe Park campus. And at Shelf Life Books, employees recently organized a union.

mo karnage by any beans scaled

Mo Karnage, owner of upcoming coffee-and-books store By Any Beans Necessary. (Jack Jacobs photo)

A local contractor is building a new business venture in the city’s Highland Park area.

Mo Karnage, who runs GC firm Karnage Construction, is preparing to open By Any Beans Necessary, a coffee shop and bookstore, at 3006 First Ave.

The coffeehouse is leasing a space next door to the building at 3008 First Ave., which is owned by Karnage and serves as the construction company’s headquarters. Karnage founded the firm in 2014, and focuses on historical preservation work in addition to other construction services.

In addition to coffee and books, By Any Beans Necessary is planning to have additional retail offerings by way of a consignment space dedicated to crafts and gifts made by locals.

Karnage is aiming to roll out the retail side in June, and expects to have the cafe fully up and running by July or August.

The business’s three-pronged approach is intended to draw the maximum number of people to the store, Karnage said. The hope is that a customer might come in for a coffee and also leave with a book or vice versa.

“I’m counting on them to piggyback off each other. Three separate draws for separate audiences,” Karnage said. “I think they go together pretty well and I know a lot of bookstore places have a gift-style retail area.”

The cafe will have seating for 30 to 40 people in the 1,700-square-foot space, and also expects to have a small, rentable conference room.

Food offerings will also be on the cafe’s menu, including waffles, sandwiches, pastries, bagels, ice cream, and gluten-free and vegan options.

The shop doesn’t plan to roast its own beans, and has narrowed down its likely vendors to a couple local coffee companies.

The bookstore side of the business is planned to split its inventory roughly 50-50 between new and used books. Karnage expects to offer a variety of genres, ranging from science fiction to children’s titles, but plans to emphasize political titles.

“I’m going to have a larger-than-normal number of radical queer feminist books and I’m going to have a section specifically for books banned by various Virginia school districts,” Karnage said. “I want it to be a pretty comprehensive bookstore in terms of there being a little bit of everything.”

Inspired by a longtime desire to open a bookstore, Karnage is also drawing on previous hospitality experience. Karnage worked as a barista for roughly three years until 2011 at the former Crossroads Coffee on Morris Street, and also managed The Cafe at St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church after that.

The buildout and equipment for By Any Beans is anticipated to cost $80,000. The shop is planning to hire eight to 10 employees.

In other local bookstore moves, a similar coffee-and-books combo concept called Abi’s Books and Brews is planning to open near VCU’s Monroe Park campus. And at Shelf Life Books, employees recently organized a union.

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Barry Greene Jr.
Barry Greene Jr.
1 month ago

Can’t help but get excited about the return of these third places that serve as a place to meet, hang out or get cozy all within walking distance from one’s home.

Joseph pond
Joseph pond
1 month ago

This is great news for Highland Park. I’m glad they are going to have a good amount of space. As a full time WFHer it will be nice to walk over for a working lunch!

Stephanie Auld
Stephanie Auld
1 month ago

A section for banned books! You have earned a fan here. Best of luck to you!

August Keller
August Keller
29 days ago

No books have been banned as false trope of the left. Every school district in country makes decisions about what books to include or exclude with tens of thousands of books excluded every year; most published books are NOT in school libraries. Graphic porn, queer or straight, has no business in a tax-payer funded school or library.

Chris Crews
Chris Crews
29 days ago
Reply to  August Keller

Florida banned “I Am Ruby Bridges” because it made White children sad.