In the shoes of… a Street Coffee Vendor

Neil Midgley, 45, was born and bred in Sheffield. He set up Motore Café around 4 years ago with the intention of providing good coffee in a city centre location.

Neil and his business partner, Nick Pears (who has since moved on to start the Steam Yard), thought the best way to do this was a portable coffee stall experience – an idea that was made possible by a customized and restored Piaggio Ape.


The Piaggio Ape Van.

“It all started through a mutual love of coffee. We used to bump into each other at Bragazzi’s and we were both keen to start a coffee related business – so we got a pitch together, approached the council and got on with it!”

Once they had acquired the van, the only struggle left was getting the business off the ground.


The van has now seen its fair share of wear & tear! Unfortunately, it took a tumble last year.

“The council were really helpful, the real challenges set in when we began trading. We had all the classic problems that come with starting a business, not to mention the logistics of the van!”

One of the unique things about Motore is the blend of coffee they use, which is a combination of three types of beans originally made for them by Tom Wilkinson, a former master roaster at Pollard’s Coffee. They both felt this was an integral part of the process.

“The beans are one thing but if they aren’t roasted and tended to properly by a barista, then it can detract from the experience”

Neil also runs Fair Do’s events, who put on the Sheffield Student Colour Run. However, he tries to let the café speak for itself.


“I try and keep it simple. We don’t really promote it that much, I much prefer that people just find it and enjoy it”

If you fancy trying some of the bespoke Motore blend, then get down to Howard Street on a weekday between 9:30 and 14:30.

Words by Matthew Potter.



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