AN OXFORD street stall that was the birthplace of a multi-million pound business employing 400 people could move to a new home.

The AMT coffee stall outside the Westgate Centre was opened by three Oxford Brookes University students, the McCallum-Toppin brothers, in 1993.

AMT's chief operating officer, Jon Hassall, said it could now move as part of £1m expansion plans.

"We are in discussion about relocating that unit, perhaps inside the Westgate Centre. That's where the business started, so we are keen to find a new site."

He said.the new site would be bigger — a fixed cafe, with seating. "But it's early days and we are in the early stages of negotiation."

Arriving from Seattle 20 years ago, the brothers — Angus, Alistair and Allan — noticed that real coffee shops had yet to arrive. They scraped together enough money to design and build a hand-pushed street cart, which later became a fixed stall.

The brothers still live in Oxfordshire and AMT sells hot drinks in 72 rail stations, hospitals and other venues nationwide.

But Oxford City Council has a long-term plan to 'tidy' Bonn Square street traders and move them to St Ebbe's.

AMT’s new Oxford site could be one of 20 new outlets planned this year following a £1m investment by finance company Close Leasing.

Mr Hassall believes the investment, and AMT's 20 per cent growth in 2010, is due to its emphasis on ethical trading. It was the first coffee company to become 100 per cent Fairtrade, and uses organic milk.

AMT is already in Belgium and Germany, and will take on 80-100 new staff to run the new outlets in rail stations, hospitals and universities.

Allan McCallum-Toppin said: “The whole team is very excited by this deal.

"We want more and more people to experience our unique blend of high quality, ethical products, value for money and great service and now we have the means to do it. It's a fantastic 18th birthday present for our company.”

Chief finance officer Fred Edwards said: “AMT Coffee is all about customer service and the Close team understood the fundamentals of our business quickly.

“That helped the deal go through very smoothly. Now we are really open for business and looking to scale rapidly.”

Mr Hassall, who joined AMT Coffee five years ago from fast food giant McDonalds, said: “We've got some exciting plans for the year ahead and Allan, Fred and I look forward to realising them.” For Allan the deal is a reminder that the long slog is worth it.

He said: “When we first started, my brothers and I approached one of the major banks for a £1,500 loan.

“The manager listened to our plan, then informed us that in England people drink tea, not coffee, from china, not paper cups and certainly not while wandering around. We didn't get the money.

“I guess we've proved our point now.”