Alexandria, VA

There’s almost nothing as tempting as the sound of The Temptations coming from Goodies Frozen Custard & Treats on a hot day in Old Town. On a recent Saturday, though, owner Brandon Byrd kept the music running in his frozen custard truck after selling out for the day.

Incidentally, customers can expect to find Goodies outside the 1930s-era ice house at 200 Commerce Street every Saturday until he formally opens the brick and mortar for business in August. Their schedule is posted on the store’s Instagram page.

“Are you still open?” asked Jackie Worrell, who lives around the corner with her family.

“Sorry, we’re all sold out for the day,” Byrd replied.

Worrell stuck around for a few minutes and told ALXnow that she looks forward to the business opening.

“I think it’s gonna be a great asset to the community and it’s in such a neat building that’s been vacant for so long,” she said.

With his bow tie undone and his cap off, Byrd looked at the future and reflected on his past. The 41-year-old resident of Fort Washington, Maryland, started the business in 2012, and has since sold untold thousands of gallons of frozen custard from his restored 1952 International Harvester Metro Van.

“I’m waiting for a couple more permits, and my goal is to open (at the ice house) within the next two months,” Byrd told ALXnow.

Byrd left behind a lucrative career in marketing. He was born in Alabama, grew up in northern California and initially wanted to be a sports therapist. After graduating from the University of Wisconsin Eau-Clair with a degree in kinesiology, he later got two master’s degrees (in business and kinesiology) and entered into the world of marketing. His credits include stints as the marketing and events director for XXL Magazine in New York City, multicultural marketing manager for Red Bull and Bacardi in Chicago and as an assistant brand manager at Miller Coors.

“When I was in corporate America, the fulfillment didn’t come in the same form as it does now,” Byrd said. “For me, my success was never based on salary. It was never based on a title, but it was based on interaction that I had and the lives I influenced.”

Byrd said the business has taught him patience. There is only one flavor, vanilla, and customers can choose from a myriad of toppings.

“You might have a long line and an indecisive kid who doesn’t know what he wants,” he said. “You can’t be like, ‘Hey, kid, come on, now. You got a line. Hurry up.’ What you do is take a step out of the truck and get to their level and ask, ‘What do you like? Sprinkles? Caramel? What else? You know, I think I have something for you.'”

Byrd said that the ice house will be important for establishing relationships.

“If you want your business to be something that works, one thing I learned a long time ago is that you have to make relationships that last, and have good dialogues with people,” he said. “Folks just want a reassuring, pleasant experience in crazy times. You have to show sympathy and empathy, and after time they become part of your life and you become genuinely interested in what they have to say and what’s going on with them.”

Staff photos by James Cullum

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