End of an era for iconic Fargate sausage cart

Dan Jenkinson takes a sausage from Michael McCurtin at Fargate
Dan Jenkinson takes a sausage from Michael McCurtin at Fargate
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A Sheffield institution with an Irish flavour will come to an end next week, with the closure of the Hot Sausage Company at Fargate.

Franchisee Michael McCurtin will take the sausages off the cooker for the last time on January 14 after selling them to hungry shoppers for five years.

Michael McCurtin in his iconic Fargate cart.

Michael McCurtin in his iconic Fargate cart.

The cheerful Irishman with the thick Cork brogue is sad to be closing up, and will miss the regulars he's served for half a decade.

There is always plenty of banter between him and the customers, with plenty of discussion surrounding the different local sayings from the cities.

"People love the Irish accent in the city centre," Michael said.

"I feel a bit special, you know."

Michael McCurtin is closing his iconic Fargate business down after 12 years

Michael McCurtin is closing his iconic Fargate business down after 12 years

He has more than a few funny stories to recount. One potential customer told Michael he could get 10 sausages in a can from Poundland for less than the price at the cart.

"And I've had a few Americans come up and ask me about the size of my sausage," he said.

"Quite a few have asked if I do sell pizzas and chips. We're a hot sausage company," he said, gesturing towards the large-print sign above the cart.

He will miss some of the buskers who play in Sheffield city centre every day.

"But I won't miss all of them," he said as the sounds of someone tuning up a banjo rang out across Fargate yesterday.

Michael spent two years selling sausages in Bath before an opportunity to run a Sheffield cart came up in 2012.

He came to Fargate every day for about three months get a handle on the footfall in the centre of Sheffield.

"I lived with my sister Ruth in Leeds, and I used to commute to Sheffield," he said.

It has been a success ever since he got it off the ground, but times have been getting tougher for Michael.

The 35-year-old said having the cart was more stressful than a non-business owner could imagine, not that you would notice a change in his bright personality.

"It's put about 10 years on me, but I'm still smiling," he said.

He would drive the cart on a trailer from the Cricket Inn Road warehouse every day to trade, before packing up and leaving before 10pm.

He is constantly being moved around, thanks to the events on in Fargate.

"It's getting more stressful," Michael, who is a resident of Myrtle Road, Heeley, said.

He plans to unwind with a sun-filled holiday in a warmer climate than Yorkshire's.

Tenerife is top of Michael's holiday list at the end of the month.

"Somewhere cheap and cheerful," Michael said.

He looks forward to coming into town as a punter.

"I think I'll enjoy it a lot more now that I'm out of it," he said.

Along with the customers, he also wanted to thank the city ambassadors for their work in patrolling Fargate during business hours.

"In the five years I have been trading in the city centre, I've had very little trouble," Michael said.

The trading trouble comes in January, when new year's resolutions kick in and the post-Christmas purse string tightening begins.

"Everybody is on a diet and everybody is skint," he said.

"Everybody is miserable in January."

Michael plans to thank his customers with a half-price sale on his last day of trade.

"I have a bit of stock which I have to get rid of," he said.

You will still find Michael working with gas after the sausages have long gone. He plans to study gas engineering at college, and he might be involved installing your next gas heater.

"I think it's getting colder here," he said.