Interview: John’s Van on students, his van being stolen and his new delivery service
This is probs the most important interview you will ever read
It is hard to think of a landmark more iconic to the students of Sheffield than John’s Van. The smell of sizzling bacon and impossibly good coffee has blessed students for almost 40 years, and tbh I don’t think I would still be at uni without it.
The man, the myth, the legend behind it all has now spilled the beans (sorry, I’ll see myself out) on everything from how the virus has influenced his company, to his love for the students of Sheffield.
Q – Rumour has it we can expect home delivery next year?
A – “Well, we have had to adapt and evolve and make a few changes. So yes, we are doing delivery now – and contactless too. I’ve always had loads of people asking for it, but it’s something I’ve never really needed to do. My step-son will be doing the deliveries on his bike – and it’s definitely something I’m going to continue post-lockdown.”
Q – What is it like to be such an iconic Sheffield student landmark?
A – “It’s cool. A bit embarrassing, but it’s really nice that the business is appreciated. It’s been in our family for 40 years so it obviously means a lot to us. I absolutely love my job. It’s great – very rewarding. I appreciate all the love that we get!”
Q – What is the weirdest thing that has ever happened to John’s Van?
A – “When my van was stolen. About six years ago it happened, and it was a massive deal at the time. I got it back because of the students, who managed to get it trending on Twitter and into the local paper. It got a real load of publicity and in the end someone was overheard talking about it, and they were reported to the police who got it back. It took just one week to get back, which is amazing.”
Q – I’m jealous of John’s Van merch… are you selling any?
A – “At the minute I have cups. I can do shirts and jumpers too, but it can be quite expensive…it always sells really well and I’m definitely looking into it for the future. I don’t like to make any money on the merchandise though, and to get nice quality t-shirts and hoodies without it being expensive is tricky.”
Q – It’s coming up to the 40th year of John’s Van. How will you be celebrating?
A – “It’s something we’re really talking a lot about, but there will be lots of stuff going on through the year. I’m hoping to get my mum and dad back in for a day. I’ve got a few ideas and we’ll definitely be celebrating.”
Q – And finally, for those of us who don’t already know – who is John?
A – “John is my dad. He started it in 1981 with my mum, and I started working there in 1996. Originally it was called John’s Takeaway, but when John retired about 15 years ago I noticed students were calling it John’s Van, so I changed the name to that… I’m missing everybody, I hope you’re all well and I can’t wait to see you again.”
Big thanks to Jez from John’s Van for the interview, and if you’re as excited about delivery as we are then you can find details here.