02/02/09 — Girl Scouts will open cookie booths Feb. 14

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Girl Scouts will open cookie booths Feb. 14

By Bonnie Edwards
Published in News on February 2, 2009 1:46 PM


Troop 1612 Girl Scouts Selena Morales, Mary Beth Sutton, Rianna Scott and Marisa Godwin sell cookies to Sue Nobers Saturday at the Wal-Mart in Rosewood. Scouts from all over the county will be out in force over the next couple of weeks to peddle the sweet treats.

Girl Scouts were out in force across Goldsboro this weekend as they continued their annual cookie sales drive by targeting Super Bowl revelers.

Cookie booth sales, which will resume Feb. 14 and continue through March 15, will be available for those who were not able to pre-order their cookies. Deliveries for those who have ordered cookies will begin Feb. 11.

And last year's top sellers -- Junior Girl Scouts Kiara Sostack and Abbey Neal of Troop 318 in Goldsboro -- are ready.

The two sold more than any other girls in their council -- North Carolina Coastal Pines, which serves more than 31,500 girls in 41 counties.

Abbey, 10, sold 4,002 boxes of cookies last year, while Kiara, 9, sold 3,504.

The rest of Troop 318, which meets at the First Presbyterian Church, didn't do too badly, either. Several sold more than 1,000 boxes.

The superstar sellers said the secret to their success was support from their mothers, Lori Neal and Gina Sostack, who stuck with them through the cold and rainy early booth sale days and the extreme heat toward the end of last year's cookie drive.

It was hard not to whine, Abbey said.

"One night we didn't finish until 9 p.m., and I hadn't eaten," she said. "Another time, the rain was tilted and going straight into our cookie booth."

But neither of the council's top sellers complained.

Their troop leader, Lillie Thompson, said hard work is the key to the girls' success, adding that a little cold and rain don't hurt sales. Customers buy more when they see the youngsters out in the elements.

"People feel sorry for them," Mrs. Thompson said.

Customer service is Kiara's secret.

"I always have my good manners on me and a Junior Smile," she said. "And if they don't want to buy cookies, I ask, 'Don't you want to donate to Operation Cookie Drop?'"

Operation Cookie Drop donations are used to purchase cookies for military personnel at home and overseas.

And being nice paid off in most cases, the girls said.

Many customers who turned down a cookie purchase on the way in decided to pick up a box on the way out.

Sales techniques are not all the girls learn during the cookie sales, said Eva Parks Spero, director of communications and marketing for the Girl Scouts -- North Carolina Coastal Pines.

They learn about goal-setting, marketing, project implementation, money management and budgeting, Mrs. Parks Spero said.

"We can't begin to tell you how many successful business women today say they got their start in business selling Girl Scout Cookies," she said. "The Girl Scout Cookie Program gives girls a taste of many different types of jobs and careers. They get hands-on experience in what it's like to be a project manager, a public relations representative, an accounting manager, an entrepreneur, a community philanthropist and an event manager."

And besides, she said, Girl Scout cookies are the ultimate comfort food.

The price per box is $3.50, and all of the proceeds generated from the Cookie Sale Program stay within the girls' local area.

The eight girls in Troop 318 plan to go to Washington, D.C. with the money they raise from the cookie sales.

In 2008, Ms. Spero said, the troops throughout the council earned more than $1.2 million in proceeds from cookie sales.

"That's nearly an average of $1,000 per troop. In fact, the 2008 cookie sale was the second most successful in the council's history," she said.

This year, she said, the council hopes to sell another 2.6 million boxes of cookies.