How this iconic Orlando ice cream stand defied racial stigma

Goff’s Ice Cream has been serving customers since 1948

Goff’s Ice Cream in Orlando. (Alex Cook, News 6)

ORLANDO, Fla. – It is one of Orlando’s oldest businesses to date. The walk-up window has been serving customers tasty frozen treats since 1948, seven days a week.

Sitting in its original location since 1948, Goff’s Ice Cream stand has kept its doors open on the “Trail” for the past 73 years.

The tiny concrete structure is situated on Orange Blossom Trail near Church Street in the Parramore community.

The stand-alone shop has withstood devastating hurricanes, the protests of the 1960s, a firebombing believed to be intentionally done by the Ku Klux Klan and a pandemic.

The only things that have changed over the years are the prices and the landscaping around them, according to current owner Todd Peacock, who still works the register daily while doling out soft serve cones to his customers.

The business is family owned and operated.

Peacock took over the family business from his grandfather, Bill Truesdell. Truesdell bought the ice cream shop from Edwin Goff back in 1973 after working for Goff as a teen.

All three owners shared the same vision: To keep the tradition alive by serving ice cream to everyone regardless of the social stigma.

In the peak of racial tensions in Florida, Goff’s tradition brought people together instead of dividing them with America’s most iconic dessert -- ice cream.

Goff's Ice Cream is located near Camping World Stadium. (Alex Cook, News 6)

What was considered to be a very defiant act, Goff allowed both Blacks and whites to order in the same line at his Orlando business and continued to do so despite several warnings from the others in town who did not agree with his idea, according to the Goff family.

The stand had only one water fountain out in front where men and women of all races were allowed to drink.

In 1951, an explosion ripped through the side of the stand causing a small fire and structure damage. Luckily, no one was injured.

The Goff family said they believe the KKK was responsible and attacked their business by throwing a firebomb at the building. The Goffs said it was because they served everyone regardless of their race through the same window.

But the bombing and threats did not stop Goff’s from operating.

The tradition carried on for many years and into today’s racial injustice and coronavirus pandemic.

Fast forward to summer of 2020.

Thousands gathered on the same block of Goff’s Ice Cream, just feet from the business, to stand in solidarity for the Black Lives Matter movement at the Orlando Police Department on Church Street.

Many customers were worried for the well-being of Goff’s due to curfews being ordered in and around the city at the time and reports of break-ins and vandalism to several nearby businesses.

A neon sign at Goff's Ice Cream in Orlando. (Alex Cook, News 6)

“Thank you to our amazing community and customers who have called, sent messages via FB and came to our window concerned about the well-being of Goff’s. This community has been our home for 72 years and God willing for 72 more. To put any concerns to rest, there have been no incidents at Goff’s and we are open our normal hours. We thank you for your love and support and hope that you feel the love and support from us as well,” a Facebook post from June 3, 2020 read.

Peacock said his little ice cream stand is still thriving despite the economic challenges that have recently come his way.

During the coronavirus pandemic, being a take-out only stand-alone storefront worked in his favor. Customers are able to still be served up hundreds of ice cream cones while safely social distancing.

Peacock said it is quite rewarding to be able to do what he does with his small staff and give them work during challenging economic times.

The next time you are wanting to visit a little piece of history in Orlando, Peacock said weekends are his busiest.

So be sure to stop by and get yourself a treat and carry on the Orlando ice cream tradition of Goff’s.

Though Goff’s Ice Cream is not considered a locally registered historic landmark, perhaps someday the city of Orlando will honor this iconic Central Florida business.