Rebound

How DC Area's Goodies Built a Brand on Vanilla Frozen Custard

Goodies Frozen Custard & Treats, a Black-owned dessert truck in the D.C. area, created a loyal following by focusing on its signature flavor: vanilla custard. As cities begin to open back up from pandemic shutdowns, owner Brandon Byrd is hoping that loyalty follows his business to the new Goodies brick and mortar store.

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Goodies, a frozen custard truck, will soon have a storefront in Alexandria, Virginia.

The owner, Brandon Byrd, hopes to open the shop at the historic Ice House at 200 Commerce St.

What kept his brand alive throughout the pandemic was its dedication to tradition, Byrd said.

“I got to keep doing what I've always done. I do what it got me here and I make what I want to sell that day. I never wanted to be an assembly line,” Byrd said.

The brand started as a 1952 van that serves custard treats to people throughout the D.C. area. Byrd relies on his loyal following, which keeps coming back for the vanilla and the experience, to make his business thrive.

Prices for vanilla have skyrocketed, with a gallon costing as much as $500 per gallon, Byrd said. He hasn't let that stop him.

"I got to keep doing what I've always done," Byrd said. "I do what got me here and I make what I want to sell that day. I never wanted (it) to be an assembly line."

Byrd's frozen custard truck came from humble beginnings. But his loyal following helped his business rebound from the pandemic.

“I mean, this is a grassroots brand. I would literally like tweet and say, ‘Hey, I'm going to be at Cap South,’ (or) ‘Union Station’ and people would come if they followed,” Byrd said.

Despite the pandemic, Byrd has stayed true to tradition. He has always offered samples to customers.

“Even to this day, I still sample. I always will offer a free sample of the custard because I believe the proof is in the pudding,” Byrd said. “If someone tries the product, they love it. I don't have to sell you on it.”

Byrd makes sure his service lives up to its name — and will continue the tradition at his own storefront, too.

“Yes, it's 95 degrees, I'm wearing a bow tie, newsboy cap chucks and all that,” Byrd said. “(…) That's what people have come to expect from me.”

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