By Chelon Dyal
Kids can be mean, and Berkley Walker thought about changing his name from Berkley to James, his middle name, when the kids at school kept calling him ?broccoli;? luckily he kept his name and now the name of his hit product, the Berkley Bar, roles easily off the tongue.
Walker, a BYU junior from Beaverton, Ore., said the name of his granola energy bar was christened the first day he brought them to his high school.
Walker ran track at West View High School and consumed large amounts of Power Bars each week. In order to save money, he decided that he could put together the list of ingredients on the back of one of the energy bars to make his own. Walker said he thought he could do better than what he was paying for over the shelf, so, he went into the kitchen and came across something he liked.
From there, he supplied his track friends with the home-made energy bar at 50 cents a bar. Using the original recipe, but with new and improved packaging and labels, Walker?s product now retails for about $1.25.
Walker said his high school biology teacher and mentor, Mr. Ivie, once said to him, ?Berkley, someone?s going to choke on one of your bars.? After that, Walker said he decided to turn his modest business into something legal.
So the summer following his sophomore year in high school, Walker focused on legalizing his product.
Now Walker has a full year?s tuition paid at BYU with the scholarship he received through the entrepreneur program in the Marriott School of Management, not bad for a high school start up company. He will spend this summer working full time on his business and focusing on its expansion.
Berkley Bars are currently sold on campus in the Twilight Zone, Outdoors Unlimited and the BYU Bookstore. He is also represented in four outdoor recreation stores in Utah Valley as well as one store back in Oregon.
Carol Barber, the purchasing manager at the Twilight Zone, made the decision to carry Berkley Bars in the store.
?The price was right, and I like to give locals a chance when I can,? Barber said. ?They have done pretty well for a new product.?
Walker, who still makes his product by hand, typically sells three cases of Berkley Bars a week just at BYU.
?When I am going back to stock the shelves I will see a Power Bar case that has been there for months,? Walker said.
As the youngest of four talented kids, Walker said he felt the pressure to succeed, but couldn?t have received better support from his family. He said Gary, his brother, was one of his greatest supporters.
?When Gary said, ?Berkley, you can do this,? it was great,? Walker said. ?And then when he said, ?Berkley you can do this, and I?m going to give you money,? I knew I had something.?
Walker, a microbiology major, is not giving up on Berkley Bars any time soon. Over the next year he said he anticipates expansion, including getting his product sold in California. But whether he takes his product to phase two, manufacturing in a factory and having national distribution channels, or not, Walker said he is pleased with what he has accomplished.
?Berkley Bars did prosper,? Walker said. ?I?ll never wonder down the road if it would have worked.?