#Interview: Brandon Byrd, founder of Goodies Frozen Custard & Treats

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After working for a major hip-hop magazine in New York for several years, Brandon Byrd realized he no longer had the same zest, as he did in the beginning.  Read about how the owner of Goodies, transformed an industry lay-off into pursuing his passion for the dessert industry, and eventually starting his own business.

How did you start Goodies.
Well, a lot of praying.  I started praying, because I got laid off,  asking what’s my next move. I ended up coming home for the holidays and picking up a magazine, where I saw some food trucks, and I was like, that’s cool, I could do that. Back in 1996, I started making custard. I knew I wanted to get in the dessert industry, but I didn’t know how.

Fast forward. Something that I had been thinking about for over ten years finally came to life. The way it came together, (he describes) Brandon, you love old cars, you like vintage, you like nostalgia. That stuff resonates with you very well. What better way to [express that], than with something as classic as ice cream.

It’s something that had been brewing inside me for a long time. But, when you’re always working or you’re always busy, and you never get the opportunity to think about whats been brewing, and what have I been passionate about for a long time. When I had some down time, I started to really think about my passion points.

A day in the life.
A typical day…I’m up early, about six or seven [in the morning]. I like to start making my custard around eight at the latest. It takes about two hours to make custard. I like to be on the road by eleven o clock. I go from 1130 a.m. until 230 p.m. A good day I sell out at 2/230 p.m.

Do you drive the truck.
I am everything. I’m the driver, mechanic. I am the dessert maker. I am the oil changer, the cashier, the order filler. As a small business, you have to wear three hats. It’s not like I have the budget to pay someone on salary. Now, I did [hire additional help] in the summer, during peak season, but normally I wear all the hats.

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So, is this your own recipe.
Yes, I use fresh eggs, cream and sugar. I work with a dairy [company] out in the Midwest. Instead of mixing and mass producing in large quantities, they make my base for me.

What was the preparation time, before the launch.
It took me about six months. You have to remember, some things you don’t have control over (i.e, getting licensed and permitted)-each city is different. One, it depends on how long it takes to get the truck built or you build it yourself.

Has being an entrepreneur changed your lifestyle.
My lifestyle- it hasn’t changed. I’m very [frugal]. I think starting your own business makes you more conscious of money spent and your lifestyle. I’m the only employee, and a small business owner, so every dime affects you, bottom line. To me ninety dollars is substantial each day. I’ve become much more focused on scrutinizing my spending habits. It makes me more conscious and I spend less; and more on things that are essential to my business.

What are your next steps, do you see yourself expanding.
I do actually, that is what I’m working on right now. With anything it takes time and it takes money and opportunity right. I do have additional trucks. I’m in the process of restoring them. This year, I should have at least two trucks on the road and a store front, which is exciting. I’m working on some other things from a brand stand point.

How do you pick your location.
There are really good locations here in DC. I pick my locations based on a couple factors. One, If I feel like the strongest demand is going to be there. So, people on Facebook and Twitter tell me, come to Union Station. If I feel like Union Station is going to be good, and I haven’t been there in a while, I’ll go. I go to places where I have a good following. In the summer/spring I am always at L’Enfant Plaza on Friday’s, and then on the weekend I can be found at Eastern Market every Friday.

In the D.C. area, check out Goodies here

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