Midtown Raleigh News

Time to sell the cookies

It’s time to put aside that New Year’s resolution to eat fewer snacks. This year’s Girl Scout cookie sale is in full swing and includes a brand new flavor to tempt your taste buds.

While Thin Mints are always marvelous and Caramel deLites are – well, delightful – the scouts have added Mango Crème. The new sandwich cookie is advertised as being prepared with additional fruit-based nutrients.

The other seven varieties for sale this year are familiar classics. “By far the top seller in our family is Thin Mints,” said Alison Hamilton of Wake Forest, a Brownie Troop leader and mother of two Girl Scouts who is very busy this time of year managing cookie sales.

Tasty fundraising

The cookie sale is the biggest fundraiser of the year for Girl Scouts. Individual troops make at least 45 cents per box with the potential to earn bonuses based on sales volume.

Girl Scout fundraising through cookie sales first appeared in 1917. By the 1930s, scouts and their mothers across the country baked their own cookies and sold them door-to-door in wax paper bundles.

Today the Cookie Sale is promoted as a way not only to raise money, but also as an activity that teaches girls to become entrepreneurs.

Hamilton’s Brownie Troop 13 spent several meetings demonstrating and acting out selling situations so the girls would know what to say to strangers, how to explain what the sale is all about and what kinds of questions they might encounter in the field.

“We teach safety first,” Hamilton said. “And whether they buy them or not, we always say thank you for supporting Girl Scouts or thank you for your time.”

Leslie Flood, chief business officer of the N.C. Coastal Pines Council, said the sales teach many skills: goal setting, decision-making, money management, people skills and business ethics.

“These are skills that allow girls to be successful in the cookie sale but also help them as they grow into tomorrow’s leaders,” Flood said.

The council says each scout sells an average of 216 boxes a season.

Hitting the bricks

Hamilton’s daughters, Ashlynn, a Junior in Troop 3277, and Alexis, a Brownie in her mother’s troop, sell most of their boxes by going door-to-door.

“It’s fun to see the smile on people’s faces when you deliver the cookies,” said Alexis, 8.

“I like seeing whether or not they buy for the troops or what kind of cookies they buy,” said Ashlynn, 10.

In the past nine years, the council has shipped more than 512,000 boxes of cookies to the troops through Operation Cookie Drop.

The Hamilton sisters have an extra selling point when convincing customers to participate in Operation Cookie Drop: Their mom, Alison, is a retired lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Air Force.

Hamilton says her military background is handy at this time of year.

“Those organizational skills help when you are parceling out hundreds and hundreds of boxes,” she said, laughing.

The selling season

Girl Scout cookie-selling season runs through March 10. In addition to fulfilling orders, scouts will be selling from their inventory at booths in front of area stores beginning Super Bowl weekend. Cookies cost $3.50 a box.

Ashlynn Hamilton says the best advice for selling success is what she learned from her mother: “Work hard and never give up.”