To Stephanie Campfield, Trenton’s first Starbucks store — which opens at 6 a.m. Monday — signals a lot more than a new place to grab a cup of coffee downtown.
At a preview event Thursday morning, Campfield told a crowd of Trenton officials, politicians and business owners and leaders that to her, the store was also about community and family.
“I was born and raised in Paterson, and my mom worked three jobs, so community is so important to me,” she told the crowd after leading a celebratory coffee tasting. “I am humbled to be a part of this and to help rebuild Trenton.”
Campfield was recruited to manage the capital city’s store because she — and most of the staff — were born and raised in the area.
The staffing, like the Trenton mural adorning the walls, and the vendors who will sell treats and the job training offered on-sight, was purposefully meant to come from and serve the city.
The new location – at South Warren and East Front streets downtown – will host an “opportunity cafe,” a program that identifies, recruits and offers job training for young people in communities who may otherwise be unemployed, said Rodney Hines, Starbucks’ director of social impact.
The program is also in stores in Ferguson, Mo., Englewood, Ind., Chicago, Phoenix, Queens, N.Y. and Long Beach, Calif., Baltimore, Seattle and Miami. Trenton is the ninth of 15 such stores the corporation aims to open in the next few years.
The new location matches the interior of many of the chain’s stores, but has a carved-out area where job training will be held. Its walls are covered in a mural featuring swirls of bright colors and city landmarks.
Local artists James Kelewa and Jonathan Conner executed the mural, wanting to express the love they feel from the city.
“The colors are kind of the brightness I’ve received from the community as I’ve done murals across the city,” said Kelewa, who is a Starbucks partner in Flemington.
For Trenton native Camille Hymes, who is Starbucks’ Regional Vice President of Mid-Atlantic Operations, the store has been a long time coming.
“It was the first thing I did when I came to the mid-Atlantic, literally, I was super excited about having the opportunity,” she said. “It’s kind of about, how do you make an impact and use your scale for good?”
That scale, she said, means delivering Starbucks’ resources and connections to smaller communities to make an economic impact for both employees and the city in which the store lives.
Mayor Eric Jackson told NJ Advance Media that years ago, at the U.S. Conference for Mayors, he tracked down a Starbucks employee to convince them to build a store in New Jersey’s capital.
“Many people sort of wrote Trenton off, saying we couldn’t lure that type of brand here,” Mayor Eric Jackson said. “I’d tell them this is really just the beginning.”
Before Hymes thanked attendees for coming, she shared a few of the words the new baristas were using to describe Trenton — scrappy, loving and supportive.
“I want to share with you all our mission statement, which is over there on the wall,” Hymes said. “It’s to inspire and nurture the human spirit — one person, one cup and one neighborhood at a time.”