A Scoop of Success
PROVO, Utah – May 06, 2021 – Cookies and ice cream are delicious by themselves, but they’re even better when paired together, at least according to two brothers from California. Blake Barkdull, an entrepreneurship junior at the BYU Marriott School of Business, has paired his knowledge gained in the classroom with real-life business experiences in his ice cream and cookies business, The Penguin Brothers.
After high school, when Barkdull was trying to figure out what the next step of his life would be, a business idea led him to Utah and to BYU Marriott. “I was working full-time in my hometown of Pleasanton, California, when my brother, who lived in Utah, called me and suggested that we start a food truck together,” he recalls. “I initially declined and thought that was a horrible idea, but he ended up convincing me, so I came out to Utah.” Barkdull started the business with his brother Brandon, a BYU advertising graduate.
The brothers had seen businesses sell cookie and ice cream combinations in their hometown, so they wanted to bring a similar business to Utah. The Penguin Brothers started with a single food truck and quickly grew to more trucks and eventually two brick-and-mortar locations.
“Every year, my brother and I invest in more trucks and locations and cater more events. That year-over-year growth is a major success that my brother and I take pride in,” says Barkdull. “We'd love to expand and open more store locations in Utah. We also love the idea of bringing the business to Arizona or opening up locations back in California in the future.”
The brothers’ business gives them opportunities to make people’s lives a little brighter. “Our business does a lot of catering, especially for weddings. We enjoy being a small moment in someone’s wedding day,” he says. “We can make the day a tiny bit better by being at the event.”
While Barkdull helps people make memories on their special days, he also collects his own memories as a BYU Marriott student. Even though he began his college journey as a neuroscience major, he switched to entrepreneurship when he realized that the entrepreneurship program at BYU Marriott would help him in his business pursuits. “I saw earning an entrepreneurship degree as an opportunity to expand my network and complement what I was doing outside of school,” he says.
Barkdull’s experiences in the entrepreneurship program have helped him learn business lessons and network with other successful founders. “I took the Introduction to Entrepreneurship class taught by Corbin Church and Case Lawrence. When my brother and I have talked to them, they’ve been generous with their time, and they have such valuable business experience,” he says. “They’re both entrepreneurs themselves, so they’ve helped us learn strategies to grow our own business.”
Everything that Barkdull learns from his classes applies to his work as a business owner. “These are not just theoretical things that I’m learning about in the classroom. My brother and I are actually experiencing entrepreneurship in real time, so I gain real-world experience from situations that are happening right before me,” he says. “I learn, whether we have success or failure. I enjoy that aspect of learning on the fly.”
Barkdull hopes to continue learning for the rest of his life. “One of the biggest goals my brother and I have is to continue to learn every day,” he says. “Whatever happens in the future, if we take knowledge from this experience with our business, we’ll be happy.”
Media Contact: Chad Little (801) 422-1512
Writer: Kenna Pierce