Story by Brooke Lauren
Photography by Julie Carrasco
The historic Ice House in Alexandria has found a tenant who honors those who came before him and showcases the previous business owners who found a home here.
When Brandon Byrd moved into the iconic property, he launched a business selling a product that was every bit as nostalgic as the site itself: frozen custard. Since his origin in branding and event marketing, Byrd dedicated himself to making sure he set a standard for his brand from the very beginning when he opened the doors of Goodies Frozen Custard & Treats. He wanted to do more than offer delicious custards or floats; Byrd wanted to deliver a trip down memory lane with every bite he delivers. That is why he also sells custard out of his vintage 1952 Metro van, which he playfully named “Gigi.”
Byrd fell in love with iconic moments within food and music at a young age. As a child, he went picking with his father, finding antique or unique artifacts to resell or keep as a treasure for himself. After a day of picking, he and his father would often stop for a sarsaparilla float; and memories of the simple and classic treat always bring a smile to Byrd’s face.
He also remembers a time when he was driving Gigi in DC and a man asked if he would be allowed to sit in the van with him. Byrd learned that the man used to drive a Coca-Cola delivery truck, and Gigi brought back memories of that time for him. This is the driving purpose behind Byrd’s brand, and these are the experiences he wants to share with every customer when they come to Goodies. “You don’t know how people will connect with your brand,” Byrd says. “You don’t know which touchpoints will resonate with them.”
The Ice House, which resides down the street from the Freedom House Museum, was built in the 1930s and is expected to weather the next 100 years. Seeing this building, Byrd wrote to the owner of Ice House five or six years ago because he knew that the iconic building was the perfect location for his brand. He spent those years building a friendship with the owner and is proud to know that the previous owner felt he was the best person to continue the Ice House for generations. During that time, Byrd found a photo at the Ice House of a laborer carrying ice. Today, he has a mural on the building with a picture of the laborer with words that read, “The feeling is mutual.” He feels that he has carried the story of this history from “laborer to landlord.”
Byrd is a remarkable businessman with a detailed understanding and plan for his brand. He has been in business for over ten years only serving vanilla bean flavored custard because he understands the importance of simple and classic business practices. He fears that expanding into multiple different flavors would not have put him where he is in the Ice House today. By focusing on one classic flavor, he does not have to maintain or store others, which saves time and money but also allows him to focus on a more secure future. Every detail of Goodies has been carefully planned from the distribution to the brand by Byrd himself. He is more than the face of the brand; he is the heart and the soul of Goodies.
More than just a business, Goodies is a part of the community. From the community garden where they literally took root, to the events they help us celebrate, Byrd wants a business that is not only in Alexandria but rooted within Alexandria. The history of the Ice House will continue to a new age that will live on for generations to come. Nostalgia breathes through the Goodies brand and envelops the ideals of classic Americana: a time when Motown, doo-wop, and vintage cars filled the scene. This is the feeling that Goodies brings to its customers; and while that feeling of nostalgia may be rooted in the past, the custard shop has a bright future ahead. Following a soft launch of Goodies Frozen Custard & Treats over Memorial Day Weekend, Byrd made the grand reopening of Ice House officially on July 5th. Alexandria leaders and members of the community came out in support of his inspiring achievement and what is bound to be an icon of Alexandria for years to come.
"Excited to cut the ribbon and welcome Goodies Frozen Custard & Treats officially to Alexandria! A local business with an adaptive reuse of a historic building, and…really tasty!" - Mayor Justin Wilson