Eco-friendly Less Than and other small businesses revitalize former Baja Bean Co. building in Richmond

Business

RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The former Baja Bean Co. building on the corner of Main Street and Lombardy Street used to be home to tacos and Tecate beers and was a staple of the Richmond bar scene on the weekends.

Since the restaurant closed in 2019, small businesses have begun to utilize the basement space of the building, giving it new life and purpose.

The Lombardy Street entrance to the old Baja Bean Co. location. (Photo: Tyler Thrasher)

One of the new tenants, Less Than, is an eco-friendly retailer specializing in zero-waste products focused on package sustainably.

“Zero-waste means we help people produce less waste,” said Less Than owner Chris Simmonds. “We help people by curating products that are packaged sustainably. That means products in containers made of paper, glass, cardboard or aluminum and they’re able to be reused and recycled.”

One of the goals of the business is to reduce single-use items and offer a place for customers to refill common household products.

Less Than storefront on Lombardy Street. (Photo: Tyler Thrasher/WRIC)

“We operate a refill station that houses unscented and scented goods that people can purchase by the ounce. They can bring their own container or use one of ours,” Simmonds said. “The idea is to move away from packaging when you need something.”

The store has products like scented and unscented hand soap, dish soap, laundry detergent, shampoo, conditioner, all-purpose cleaner, Epsom salts, bath salts and shea butter.

Simmonds said the Richmond location is actually the fourth Less Than, with the three others having successful homes in the Hampton Roads area.

“I think this is a great opportunity to introduce this lifestyle to some younger demographics and allow them the opportunity to see what fits their lifestyles and become agents of change moving forward,” Simmonds said.

Less Than is one of four tenants in the downstairs of the building.

Small Friend Records & Books and vintage furniture store Boho To Go also use the former Baja Bean Co. space.

Simmonds said the popular patio space of the former Baja Bean Co. is likely to become a New Orleans-concept wine storefront.

Patio of the former Baja Bean Co. (Photo Tyler Thrasher/WRIC)

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