Scott Gerding

As the advisor to the Board of Directors, prominent Winston-Salem businessman Scott Gerding has one of the loudest voices in the chorus that sings its continual praises of Dave Moore. The man behind local favorites Midtown Cafe & Dessertery and River Birch Lodge has supported Dave Moore for years, helping him focus his abundant energy on a few main ideas and turn Southside Rides into a reputable nonprofit.

Growing up in the restaurant business in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, Gerding graduated from Wake Forest in 1979. After receiving his MBA from Indiana University, he worked at a Fortune 100 company as a financial analyst. “It didn’t fit me,” he says. “I was used to everyone in Gaitlinburg owning their own business.”

Gerding took his small-business mindset and big-business experience and opened a coffee and dessert shop in Atlanta with his wife before moving back to Winston-Salem in 1987. The popular Midtown Cafe & Dessertery (then known just as “The Dessertery”) was born.

Gerding’s relationship with Moore began in 2005, when Moore stopped by Midtown for a hand-pattied burger. After briefing Gerding on his nonprofit venture, Moore gained nearly instantaneous support, thanks to his goodwill and persistence and Gerding’s open heart.

Over the course of the next two years, the Gerdings made small donations to Southside Rides. When he saw a Winston-Salem Journal article explaining how Moore’s shop was in violation of a number of codes, Gerding felt called to do something.

He rounded up a select group of friends from his city-wide Christian men’s group, the New Canaan Society, to help Moore raise money, find a suitable new location, and make sure everything was up to code – a process which took a full year.

“One guy was in real estate, one ran his own heating and plumbing business, and one guy was an attorney,” explains Gerding. “We basically said, ‘We’ll help you, but we’re going to do this by the book.’”

With Gerding’s invaluable assistance, Southside Rides has been revamped, rebranded, and restructured. But while Southside Rides has come a long way in the past five years, Gerding acknowledges that there is still much that needs to be done.

“People are vitally interested in his success,” he says. “Forsyth Tech, the Board, the city of Winston-Salem. Southside Rides is unlimited in what it can do with their support. But the way the business is run, fundraising is huge. They always need money.”

Although Southside Rides is in continual need of financial support, some aspects of the business are priceless. “Dave gives them a support system that is an alternative to a gang and fills the male role model gap,” he says. “Southside Rides is a safe, warm environment with male companionship, and it’s hard to put a dollar sign on that.”

-- Evan Wetmore