Johnson City Press Tuesday, September 2, 2014

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Girl Scout cookie fever grips Tri-Cities

March 2nd, 2014 2:39 pm by Max Hrenda

Girl Scout cookie fever grips Tri-Cities

Isabella Laws, left, and Bella Edmonds sell a box of Samoas to Erwin resident June Cutshall on Saturday afternoon. (Max Hrenda/Johnson City Press)

Those of you who did some shopping this weekend may have noticed that Girl Scout cookie season is in full swing in Northeast Tennessee.

Over the weekend, Girl Scout troops across the Tri-Cities grabbed their tables, cookies — and, in some cases, their mothers — and set up shop outside some of the area’s more popular, and populous, shopping destinations.

In Unicoi, Troop 443 made its claim to the area next to the vending machines outside of the Walmart SuperCenter at 110 Rocky Bottom Drive. Troop leader Carol Laws, whose 6-year-old daughter, Isabella, sold cookies this weekend, said sales — and the salespeople — had been good.

“The girls have been great,” Laws said. “They’ve done a real good job.”

Troop 443 closed Saturday with 257 boxes of cookies sold, a marked increase from the 142 they sold Friday. With their two-day total of 399 boxes, at $4 a box, the girls raised $1,596.

In Johnson City, troop leader Theresa Shaw and the girls of Troop 60 fared similarly to their Unicoi County counterparts. By 6 p.m. Saturday, Troop 60 had sold more than 375 boxes, and had made more than $1,500. What’s the secret?

“It really depends on the location,” Shaw said. “There are certain locations that I can pretty much guarantee 150 to 200 boxes at a certain time of day.”

Troops can’t just set up at any location, however. To ensure fairness, the local Girl Scouts organization only grants a specific amount of time to register for one of those prime locations.

“We get to sign up for booths on certain days,” Shaw said. “But you’re limited on the first three days. That way, it gives everybody an opportunity to go to those really good booth sites.”

Higher levels of foot traffic ultimately translate to more boxes sold, Shaw said, thereby helping the girls become more self-sufficient.

“The money does go back to the local troops,” Shaw said. “It helps them buy their crafts and their badges, and it helps them go on trips.”

Shaw, whose own troop is planning a trip to Savannah, Ga., said that without money from cookie sales, such a journey would not be possible.

“They certainly couldn’t do that without Girl Scout cookie money,” she said.

While making money for their respective troops, the girls may have also learned a few lessons in marketing. According to Isabella, many of her customers have asked what her favorite cookies were before they made their purchases.

“They ask us what our favorite is, and we just tell them,” Isabella said. “Then they buy them.”

Getting a tasty treat is but a bonus with every box bought, though.

“They serve the community, not just themselves or Girl Scouts,” Shaw said. “Please come out and support the local troops.”

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