Meet Brandon Byrd. He started a vintage mobile eatery called Goodies paying homage to the Rock & Roll era, serving turtle pecan sundaes, rootbeer floats, doughnut sandwiches, and other amazing treats to District Citizens out of a restored 1952 step van. Named one of the best food trucks in DC, Goodies is now also a stand at National Harbor. We caught up with him about work and life in DC.
1. You’ve had an unusual career path - tell us about how you got here.
Long story short, I worked in the entertainment industry with various Hip-Hop and R&B artist organizing events, radio appearances, routing tour dates and overall strategic marketing efforts. For many years this lifestyle worked for me and was exciting, but constantly battled with my spiritual walk – leading me to pursue a more wholesome and pure career path in the frozen dessert industry and launch Goodies in 2012.
2. What drives you to continue this level of service and retro-era aesthetic every day? What impact do you hope to have on DC?
My drive comes from YOU (the readers, car enthusiasts, frozen dessert lovers etc) because without YOU there is no US. Growing up around vintage cars and listening to Wilson Pickett, Sam Cooke, Marvin Gaye, Chuck Berry and so many other great musicians comes natural to me, so maintaining this love affair comes very naturally.
Hopefully, Goodies has a generational legacy long after I am gone, where many Washingtonians can enjoy one of our legendary frozen custard treats, while listening to oldies and making their own memories at the soda fountain with loved ones.
3. You have a stand in National Harbor, but this all started because of a little lady named Gigi – tell us about her.
Oh, yes, “Gigi” our baby is a 1952 former military step van that has been lovingly restored into our frozen custard cruiser. She’s spoiled and get’s dressed up daily as if she’d heading to the prom.
Gigi has a little brother named “Rudy.” We’re nearing completion of his restoration and should have him curbside this spring. Stay tuned, because he’s super cute and a mini version of Gigi.
4. Do you have any lessons for budding entrepreneurs about opening your own business?
Absolutely: Pray often for clarity and direction, be passionate about your business concept/vision and be consistent with your product and customer service to everyone.
Goodies is a work in progress, but we’re making progress and that’s a blessing. I attribute our success to God, my Mom (and family) for being my rock and instilling in me the value of hard work. My wise mother once said “surround yourself with people that you can learn from” – I listened and have been blessed to have my friend, Rozell Moore join our team and share his wisdom.
5. President Obama climbs in your truck, asking for a snack and a lift to a beautiful place to enjoy it. What do you serve and where do you drive him?
I’d whip him up our legendary “Boogie Woogie” which is our Turtle Pecan Sundae and then cruise him to the nearest basketball court, so he can get a Chicago-style spanking in street hoops!! This ice cream man has a mean jumper and cross-over!
6. Bonus: What’s your favorite story on the job so far?
I have many fond stories, but one that comes to mind occurred when I offered an women a sample of our vanilla bean frozen custard, she refused by saying “I hate vanilla” so her husband accepted and sample our frozen custard. He was so impressed that he convinced her to try it, reluctantly she did – 30 seconds later they ordered two boxes of frozen custard, with her saying ” I hate vanilla ice cream, but this frozen custard was excellent and took me back to childhood.”