Wake up and smell the coffee: Kobe coffee comes to Uppermill High Street

BROTHERS George and Joe Ford are already preparing for life beyond rugby.

The pair, who were raised in Grasscroft, have gone into business together by opening Kobe Coffee on High Street, Uppermill.

It has been an exciting venture for the brothers as Betty’s, a former fish and chip restaurant, has been transformed onto a café/restaurant.

George, Joe and Connie Ford with staff at Kobe Coffee

George, a key member of the England team which reached the Rugby World Cup final last November, explained how the venture came about.

He said: “Joe and I had been talking about having a coffee shop for a few years.

“Instead of talk, we thought let’s do it and now seemed a good time with this property becoming available and Joe moving back to the area.”

George added the Kobe Coffee is also a nice distraction from rugby which immerses their lives as he also plays for Leicester Tigers while Joe is player-coach at second tier Yorkshire Carnegie and their father Mike, who owns the building, is Tigers’ attacking coach.

He continued: “It is good to have something else in our lives so we are not thinking about rugby 100 per cent of the time.

“We have always loved coffee and it was a nice idea to own a shop and have a business ourselves.”

Kobe and Joe Ford

As George was away with England when the refurbishment of the building took place, he was forced to watch it take shape from thousands of miles away.

It was left to his mother Sally Anne and Joe’s wife Connie, who will manage Kobe Coffee, to oversee the project.

Sally Anne drew inspiration from her month-long trip to watch George in World Cup action.

“The Japanese also love coffee and I picked up ideas from shops I visited and used them here,” she explained.

Kobe Coffee was named after Joe’s two-year-old son and not, as many believed, the Japanese city which hosted the England RU team.

It is also providing local employment – there are a total of five members of staff – and they also support local suppliers for meat, fruit and veg and bread.

It is not only a coffee shop but also serves food and has an alcohol licence and began the new year by pushing a takeaway service of coffee and a sandwich focused on grab and go.

• Visit Kobe Coffee at 36 High Street, Uppermill. It opens Monday to Thursday 8am-5pm, Friday and Saturday 8am-8pm and Sunday 8am-5pm.

The building is specially adapted with baby changing facilities while it is also wheelchair friendly as it accessible to all.

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