Byron Knight | Jackson Free Press | Jackson, MS

Byron Knight

Photo by Maggie Burks

Twenty-eight-year-old Byron Knight had no original intention of opening a gourmet coffee shop. But after a friend consulted him about opening a new business in Fondren, he loved the idea.

"I was like, 'Yeah, I could do something, you know; a coffee shop would be cool,' just because I love Fondren so much and this area," Knight says. He opened Sneaky Beans Coffee Shop in the former New Vibrations space last month.

After spending his childhood in Jackson, Knight went to Mississippi College on a soccer scholarship in 1998. After a short time at MC, Knight enrolled at Mississippi State University, then moved back to Jackson before eventually moving to Auburn, Ala., where he worked on golf courses and took turf classes with plans of becoming a golf course superintendent.

After a year and a half in Auburn, Knight decided to hone in on his music interest. In 2005, he moved to Murfreesboro, Tenn., and earned his music production degree at Middle Tennessee State University in 2007. He then returned to Jackson and began producing local, acoustic rock band Passenger Jones.

His passion for the arts inspired him to open up his coffee shop to local musicians as well as artists looking to make a name for themselves.

"I love art and music. The whole plan of the place came together, and those were two of the main ingredients," Knight says.

Because of the building's New Vibrations past, Knight's office is lilac purple, and the scent of incense still lingers in the coffee shop—something that Knight says he's working on.

"All the paint didn't do it. It took the coffee and the paint to get the smell of incense out," Knight says, laughing.

Knight spends much of his free time on Pro Tools LE 7.3 perfecting his most recent production project or searching through his endless iTunes library to find a perfect song to match his mood. He doesn't hesitate to fill you in on his most recent music finds and will be the first to suggest a new song to add to your own library.

"I feel like that's my answer to everything: music. In my free time, I'm either working on some mixing or editing stuff or I'm out listening to it. I don't go to a bar just to hang out. I go to listen to the music," Knight says.

His desire to become more involved in the Jackson community is growing as Sneaky Beans draws in local musicians and artists from around the city.

"If I could do other local things, I would. And I will one day.

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