If you find yourself stranded without your caffeine fix, Mary’s Happy Camper is stocked full with hot coffee, iced coffee and Nitro coffee alongside buttered rolls from Nicolo’s Bakery, Del’s lemonade from Rhode Island and organic ice cream choices. And the best part? She can come right to you.
‘I’m a little off the beaten path,” the owner Maryellen Stadtlander said. “I’m serving the people that are dropped off and dashing (to catch their train).”
Mary’s Happy Camper parks along different streets in Montclair where people can grab coffee and treats easily on the go.
But as her business has grown, Stadtlander has even started taking text message requests from offices who ask her to stop by at a certain time so that employees can easily grab some coffee throughout their day.
“I just wanted to create this really nice approachable venue, not just your typical food truck,” she said. “I love talking to people. I’m not in it to get rich, I won’t get rich doing it, but it will help pay my bills and it’s a good life.”
Stadtlander’s goal for Mary’s Happy Camper is offering an affordable option for coffee with a chill and friendly vibe.
“I’m just tired of so many people being preoccupied with schedules and their phones and to be able to hang out on a street corner and talk to people,” Stadtlander said. “I want people to walk away really happy, say hi, shoot the breeze and try to mellow out in a very turbulent time.”
Spend just 10 minutes on the street near Mary’s Happy Camper and you’ll lose count at how many people come by to chat or honk hello to her from their cars.
Not only is her coffee hot and fresh, but her friendly personality makes Mary’s Happy Camper the perfect choice for a nice break from a hectic day.
“I grew up in Montclair, moved there in 1964, so I know lots of people,” she said. “I think the best thing about growing up in a small town is connecting people… I find that a really nice way to spend my day.”
It’s important to Stadtlander to support other local businesses so she carries fresh pastry options from local bakeries.
She also offers Nitro coffee – a cold brewed coffee option made with nitrogen gas. Nitro coffee is unique in that it is brewed without ever touching hot water, which gives it a tangy taste as the flavor from beans is never extracted by hot water.
Stadtlander is an artist by trade, working most of her adult life as a professional photographer. In order to supplement her art, she managed local bars for years where she learned the ins-and-outs of the food and beverage business and the importance of serving a quality product.
After mulling the idea of a mobile coffee shop around for about three years, Stadtlander says being middle-aged is what pushed her to pull the trigger.
“I was like, I have to be autonomous. I have to do my own thing now,” she said.
She’s been in business since about mid-May and envisions growing the camper to include a staff.
“(When people think of Mary’s Happy Camper), I want them to think, ‘Oh her coffee’s really good,’ Stadtlander said, “and I want them to think, ‘everything she has is not only really good, but it’s affordable.’”