By Lauren Poteat, Special to the AFRO
Southwest D.C. just got a little sweeter, with the opening of a brand new soda pop shop right in the heart of the District’s beloved Wharf.
Initially a father’s dream, the “Southwest Soda Pop Shop,” run by four dynamic young Black sistas (literally), made its official debut in early May, on the 1100 block of Maine Ave. and is already getting rave reviews from customers and fellow business owners alike, for the store front’s unique savvy sweetness.
With refreshing beverages like raspberry and pineapple lemonades, alongside summer cool milkshakes including signature flavors like “Cake Explosion,” “Banana Boat,” “Donut Detonation” and “Chipwhich”—a twist on the classic ice cream sandwich, D.C. resident Max C., said that she was now looking forward to all of the hot weather.
“Woohoo! This is going to be a great summer,” Max said. “A friend told me about this spot that I had to go to ASAP… Who doesn’t want to have ice cream and other goodies in the sun by the water? You can get quite experimental with the toppings and flavors, but I tried one of their signatures and it was the bomb. I got the Birthday Cake Explosion with layers of butter pecan and birthday cake ice cream—actual birthday cake, and a chocolate chip cookie crumble at the bottom, topped with fresh cream and sprinkles.”
Overwhelmed by other treats including ice cream sodas, nondairy sorbets and dipped soft serves, Max continued that she was in full support of spending with a “local family business.”
Though sisters Brittany, Corey, Brianna and Andrea Jones were initially hesitant about the soda venture, all four siblings now say that they are happy that they listened to their father Darryl Jones, who had been a staple of the Washington D.C. food industry, since 1977.
“When our Dad started his career at the Meat Market in the historic shops at Eastern Market, he went on to become part owner of the Virgo Fish House,” Brittany (the oldest sister) said. “In 2015, he was approached by developers who planned to revitalize the Southwest Waterfront and we haven’t looked back since. We were raised as entrepreneurs. It’s in our blood.”
With the well-known fish cleaning services at the Virgo Fish House struggling, loyal clientele beginning to age out and developers eyeing the historic location, Jones (one of a few Black owners to occupy the wharf), stated that he saw an opportunity to plant the “seeds of a dream.”
“An ice cream place is something that I always wanted to do here,” Jones, who has worked at the wharf since 1993 said. “To see the wharf go from zero to ten and be a part of the development happening right before my eyes, is very exciting.”
“I’m a Black-owned business,” the father continued with pride. “And I’m very excited that at my age, I can do something for my family. I pray that the girls can grow this business and take it to bigger, better heights.”
The “Southwest Soda Pop Shop” is open daily from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. on weekdays and closes at 10 p.m. on weekends.