Orlando, Fla. – A historic ice cream shop in Orlando is set to embark on a new chapter after being closed for over a year. Goff’s Drive In, which first opened its doors in 1948, has been a beloved establishment on 212 South Orange Blossom Trail for decades. However, in May 2022, tragedy struck when a fire, allegedly set by Alfred Jerome Kirkland, caused significant damage to the building, forcing its closure. Now, the ice cream shop is undergoing a transformation and will be known as Sweetie’s Ice Cream.
The news of the shop’s rebranding was announced through a Facebook post, revealing that the new owners, Eric Macintosh Jr. and Jelani Gray, both Orlando natives, will be taking over the reins of this iconic establishment. While details about the new shop are scarce at the moment, the name change signifies a fresh start and a new era for this beloved ice cream destination.
Local commissioner Regina Hill expressed her pride and support for the new owners on Facebook, highlighting their strong ties to the community. She praised their dedication to serving the youth in Parramore, a neighborhood in Orlando, and commended their achievements. Hill’s endorsement adds an extra layer of significance to Sweetie’s Ice Cream, as it demonstrates the shop’s commitment to not only offering delicious treats but also contributing positively to the local community.
The history of Goff’s Drive In is peppered with stories of resilience and defiance against racial segregation. During a time when segregation was prevalent, the original owner, Edwin Goff, boldly allowed both Black and white customers to order from the same line, disregarding the warnings and disapproval of others in the town. This act of inclusivity and equality was a testament to Goff’s unwavering belief in treating all customers with respect and dignity.
However, this commitment to equality did not go unnoticed, and in 1951, the shop faced a terrifying incident. An explosion occurred, damaging the stand and causing a small fire. Miraculously, no one was injured in the incident. The Goff family believes that the Ku Klux Klan was responsible for the attack, as they had been targeted previously for their refusal to adhere to segregationist practices. Despite facing adversity, the Goffs remained resilient and continued to serve their diverse clientele through the same window.
News 6 has reached out to both Goff’s Drive In and Sweetie’s Ice Cream for comments, and we will update this story as soon as their statements become available. The reopening of Sweetie’s Ice Cream marks not only a revival of a historic Orlando establishment but also a symbol of triumph over adversity and a celebration of unity and diversity.
In conclusion, the transformation of Goff’s Drive In into Sweetie’s Ice Cream represents a new beginning for this iconic ice cream shop. Under the ownership of Eric Macintosh Jr. and Jelani Gray, the establishment is poised to continue its legacy of providing delicious treats while also serving as a beacon of inclusivity and community engagement. The journey from Goff’s Drive In to Sweetie’s Ice Cream captures the spirit of resilience and determination that has defined this beloved establishment throughout its rich history.