In many ways, Stephanie Campfield was the Trenton Starbucks.
She not only managed the coffee retail operations on East Front and South Warren streets, but also embraced and led the store’s given mission of becoming a community partner.
She has participated in many events in the city, from vernissages to breakfasts for young people, where she brought pitchers of coffee and goodies, to personally participating in a multitude of other events, like neighborhood cleanings and other civic gatherings. .
During it all, she displayed a beaming and disarming smile. Sometimes she also took her two young daughters.
Campfield died suddenly on Thursday September 16, family members advertised on social media, stunning a lot in the capital. A cause of death was not given. She was 34 years old.
Campfield will be remembered at 6 p.m. Monday at a public rally at Mill Hill Park.
“She was the face of Starbucks here, and she opened those doors with open arms,” Trenton Mayor Reed Gusciora said Monday.
He was one of the customers who personally asked Campfield if he saw her in the store.
The mayor said his cheerful demeanor and role in the community was indelible. He didn’t know her until her role at Starbucks, which began when the store opened in late 2017.
But she was perfect for it. “It seemed like this was the job for him really.”
The Trenton Starbucks, when it opened, was the ninth “community store” opened by the Seattle-based chain, after others in Ferguson, Missouri; Englewood, Indiana; Chicago; Phoenix; Queens; Long Beach, California; Baltimore, Seattle and Miami.
It has a large conference room for groups that need space and hosts many events.
Campfield explained it then, “With this location our only goal is to give back to the community and with that in mind we only hire residents of Trenton, and we do a lot of volunteer work.”
She continued, “I was born and raised in Paterson, and my mom had three jobs, so the community is so important to me,” she told the crowd at the opening. “I am honored to be a part of this and to help rebuild Trenton.”
End of 2018, Campfield talk to NJ Advance Media on the store’s first year successes.
And in late 2019, Campfield was invited to Starbucks’ Chicago leadership conference called LE19, where the company celebrated its successes in Trenton. During the three-day event, she danced on stage with the company’s COO in front of 12,000 people at the United Center, teaching her a shuffle she developed at an open mic party in Trenton.
The moment was voted one of The 10 best moments of the event.
As a testament to her role in the store, mourners say it has been closed for at least two days and people are leaving flowers and notes at Campfield.
Trenton Police Detective Tamika Veal met Campfield soon after in her community liaison role, along with Detective Walt Rivera. The three have organized several “Coffee with a Cop” events.
Campfield was never satisfied with the status quo and exuded positivity, Veal said. “She always wanted to make it grow, to make it go beyond,” she said.
Veal said Campfield was the type of person who would buy items for an event with their own money if needed and never tell anyone. And if you had a new mission in your personal life, Campfield was your best cheerleader.
“She was so encouraging – about your life or your personal space,” Veal said. “She was only in this city or a short time, and she came in as a pioneer.”
On a GoFundMe page set up for his family, Campfield, who is survived by her husband and three daughters, was known to be an amazing mom. She enjoyed cooking with her daughters, painting and coloring, and building sandcastles on the beach, he says.
One of her latest Facebook posts, earlier this month, shows her on the sand with her daughters in Ocean City.
Her husband, Ashshakir Campfield, posted a short YouTube video On September 17, his wife swaying to a song while they were in the car. “RIP … I love you !!!” it says.
Veal, the detective, said Starbucks has quite a job ahead of him, replacing Campfield.
“I can’t imagine how they’re going to do without her,” she said.
“It’s going to take a special person like her.”
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Kevin Shea can be reached at [email protected].