Into the Spotlight, sponsored by Huddersfield-based Scriba PR, is a weekly feature which highlights some great independent businesses. Here, we introduce Sam Hayford who runs Cafe Society and Pam’s Cafe in Huddersfield town centre.

A new café is opening in the Packhorse Centre in Huddersfield and it’s the latest venture for a familiar face in the town.

Ghanaian-born Sam Hayford, 42, is the man behind Café Society, another popular café in the town centre.

Dad-of-three Sam is passionate about food, cooking and coffee and he’s excited to open Pam’s Café in what used to be the coffee shop next to the former Peters store inside the Packhorse Centre.

The café opens for the first time at 8am on Friday February 4.

Sam said: “I love cooking and have a real passion for food. I want to serve the best food – and coffee – in town.”

Sam grew up in Ghana and came to the UK, settling in London where he set up a thriving transport business.

After he and his wife had their first daughter, Sam found he was working long hours and not seeing enough of his family.

After a visit to Huddersfield to see a friend he fell in love with the town and its slower pace of life. Almost overnight he decided to leave London and start a new life with his growing family in Huddersfield.

“It was calm and peaceful in Huddersfield in comparison to London and I just wanted to spend more time with my girl,” said Sam, a committed Christian.

“I handed over most of my contracts to the guys who worked with me and we packed everything into one of my vans and we drove to Huddersfield.

“I had no plan but I did know how to start afresh as I’d done it before. I wasn’t too concerned. I like working hard and I’m a survivor.

“I came to Huddersfield with not much in my pocket and I believed God would look after us – and he did.”

Sam Hayford

It was nine years ago that Sam and his family moved North and Sam got a job in a glass factory. He’d always loved cooking but having his own café hadn’t really crossed his mind.

It was while working as a volunteer at the Christian bookshop in Byram Street that he found out Café Society next door was coming up for sale.

Sam quickly learned about the business and took the plunge. “You need to have the passion for it because it’s not an easy business,” said Sam.

It’s about three years ago that Sam took on the Byram Street business and it was successful – until the Covid-19 pandemic.

READ MORE: Here’s more great businesses we’ve put Into the Spotlight

“Pre-Covid it was so busy and we had bookings and parties and we had five staff,” said Sam. “But after lockdown the business never recovered and that part of town seemed to get very quiet.

“Sometimes we were barely taking £30 a day and we had two staff. They were getting bored because no-one was coming in. I kept putting money in but eventually we had to close.”

Sam had ambitions to have a string of cafes and he opened a second Café Society in the former Huddersfield Examiner building on the corner of Ramsden Street and Victoria Lane, which is doing well.

Pam’s Cafe in the Packhorse Centre

When he was approached about opening in the Packhorse Centre he liked the corner unit and decided to expand again.

He named the new café after a fabulous lady he describes as his “adoptive mum”, someone had got to know from working in the Christian bookshop.

Pam’s Café will be “contemporary cosy” in style and the menu will be simple with breakfasts, jacket potatoes, omelettes, sandwiches, wraps, quesadillas and paninis. It will be open from 8am-4pm at first but could open into the evening as the Packhorse Centre develops and grows. There will also be tables outside.

“For me it’s all about the food and I go all out to make sure it’s perfect,” said Sam. “I only serve food that I would be happy to serve for myself.”