This Bodybuilder Turned To Baking In His Spare Time

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In Akron, Ohio, Zachary Buckeye, founder of Buckeye Brownies, turned his love for sweet treats into a thriving business. After earning a civil engineering degree from the University of Akron, he worked as a construction manager at Turner Construction by day. He began baking brownies at night, laying the foundation for what would later become Buckeye Brownies.

Buckeye’s venture into baking began with his involvement in competitive bodybuilding, where strict dieting left him craving sweet treats. It was his mother’s layered brownie creation that planted the seed for his next big adventure. Buckeye Brownies initially operated from his apartment. “I would go to my 9-5 job, then hit the gym, and then come home and bake until midnight,” he said. But as the buzz around his brownies grew among the bodybuilding community, Buckeye realized that some changes would need to be made.

In June 2019, he bought a house and converted his garage into a commercial bakery. By July he made the bold decision to quit his construction job and pursue Buckeye Brownies full-time. Sales continued to soar, even through the challenges brought on by COVID, and Buckeye Brownies officially launched in March 2020.

“What makes our brownies unique is our three-layer design,” Buckeye explained. Each brownie and blondie feature a base layer, a distinctive middle layer (ranging from pretzels to Oreos or even potato chips) and is topped with homemade cookie dough. Favorites like the MVP Brownie include a fudge base, chocolate crème sandwich cookies, and homemade cookies and cream cookie dough infused with white chocolate and chocolate chips. Another hit is the Snickerdoodle and Chill Blondie, featuring a buttery blondie base, vanilla crème sandwich cookies, snickerdoodle cookie dough, and finished with white chocolate chips and a cream cheese frosting drizzle.

But it’s not just the delicious flavors that set Buckeye Brownies apart; it’s their size. Each brownie and blondie weighs half a pound. What was once a sweet geared towards bodybuilders has become a treat for anyone who likes extravagant desserts. In addition to brownies and blondies, Buckeye Brownies also offers mini brownies, brownie cakes, and cookies.

Buckeye Brownies’ success lies not only in its delicious baked goods but also in its engagement with the community. “We love involving customers in decisions, such as voting on flavors for January releases,” said Buckeye. Responding to every email and message is a point of pride for him, reflecting his dedication to maintaining a personal touch in his business operations.

Additionally, the connection within the bodybuilding community remains strong as customers continue to share their post-competition taste reactions on social media. “My favorite thing about running Buckeye Brownies is watching the business grow,” Buckeye explains. “At one point, it was just an idea, and now it’s expanded exponentially.”

Looking ahead, Buckeye Brownies is committed to growth. New flavors and additions to the Grandma’s Cookies line are in the works. The company also aims to explore the world of vegan options and potentially venture into weed brownies following the legalization of marijuana in Ohio.


Nicolette Degrassi

Nicolette Degrassi is a Boston based food and travel blogger. When she's not traveling the world, you can find her reading the latest Book of the Month novel or trying to perfect her sticky toffee pudding recipe. Follow her adventures on Instagram @nadegrassi.


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