Goodies: Frozen Custard Truck Bounces Back After Pandemic Struggles by Opening First Virginia Store

Episode 1 of NBC Washington's Rebound explores how Goodies Frozen Custard & Treats, a Black-owned dessert truck in the D.C. area, went from struggling during the pandemic to opening its first storefront

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Goodies Frozen Custard & Treats has tracked a lot of miles around the Washington, D.C. area in its 1952 van, hawking towering, custard-filled desserts.

But now, after a year of nearly devastating delays because of the pandemic, Goodies can finally move into a permanent home in Alexandria, Virginia, that matches its signature brand of decadent nostalgia.

Goodies is remodeling the historic Ice House on Commerce Street and hopes to open by Memorial Day weekend. It will be Goodies’ first storefront.

“Old Town Alexandria is like Main Street America. It totally fit,” owner Brandon Byrd said.

The historic building fit Byrd’s vision: The old-school brick outpost said “Goodies” before anyone even ordered.

He was supposed to open more than a year ago — then, the pandemic hit. He’s been on the rebound ever since.

“Once the pandemic hit, all that was normal for a food truck driver was out the window,” Byrd said.

Office workers were staying home and there were no tourists. Business in all the major D.C. food truck hubs —Metro Center, Farragut North, L’Enfant Plaza — dried up.

Byrd was in a bind; his and Goodies’ future had gone from bright to uncertain. He had a lot of money tied up in the Ice House storefront, but progress was stalled.

“I needed to stay fluid so I can pay my normal bills,” Byrd said. “If it was not for the truck, I don’t know if we’d be talking right now.”

The truck — a blue-and-white ’52 International Harvester van named Gigi —saved his business from collapse.

Gigi brought Goodies to neighborhoods. And the community helped Goodies thrive again.

“Folks really wanted to help,” Byrd said. “When my tribe showed up and showed out during the pandemic, I was like, OK, I’m here, I’m not going anywhere.”

Friends of Goodies even helped build a community garden at the Ice House.

Goodies is small, just Byrd and his uncle, and he said dividing his time among many efforts is one of his biggest challenges as a business owner. So the support makes all the difference.

And Goodies’ future is looking sweeter now.

Byrd said he envisions Goodies as a communal space and a communal brand that folks can feel proud of.

“I have a soon-to-be storefront and then I have a truck,” he said. “We’re going to divide and conquer.”

The pandemic may have threatened small businesses across America, but these companies are rising up despite the challenges.

In "Rebound," we go behind the scenes of three Black-owned businesses to see how they are bouncing back from the coronavirus pandemic. Whether it’s making handcrafted jewelry, comfort treats or special combs, each business has a unique and refreshing story to tell.

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