Although the Girl Scouts of America have been having cookie sales for over 100 years, their sale last year fizzled out because of the COVID-19 pandemic and left Girl Scouts locally and throughout the nation with a surplus of unsold boxes. But this year, Girl Scout Brownie Troop 155091 have adjusted to the inconvenience and are anxious to ply their wares.
Troop leader Sandra Barrett has been with the group since 2014 and was with them in the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey flooding in 2017. She thinks that was their biggest obstacle up to this point but the pandemic did present challenges.
Third grader Keleigh Stafford is a Girl Scout Brownie. This is her third year. The eight-year-old is looking forward to seeing the people who have supported the troop during the cookie sales.
“Now, that it’s time to sell Girl Scout cookies, I look forward to visiting with some of my old customers,” Stafford said.
Despite the pandemic in 2020, she was one of the top sellers the troop had. She sold more than 1,000 boxes of cookies.
This season will be very different because of COVID-19. It has much to do with the face masks that are mandated by the organization and social distancing guidelines. There will be less face-to-face ordering and girls are limited in what they can do, Barrett said.
Last year’s coronavirus problems helped the troop leaders and members to think of new methods to sell their cookies this year.
“We will be selling cookies by other ways: text, email, smart cookie-app, Facebook, door-to- door, and three area businesses have given us permission to set up booths on their sites,” said Barrett.
The businesses where they will hold sales this year includes Dollar Tree, Unlimited Creations, and the Wharton Auction Barn.
They were thinking outside of the box when they asked auction barn owner and operator Billy Schwertner for permission to set up their booth at his facility. He readily agreed and acknowledged that his customers are a generous group of people. The girls are offering the cookies for sale with drive by service. Customers won’t even need to get out of their vehicles.
“We will be providing space for the Girl Scouts to set up their booth to sell Girl Scout Cookies on Saturdays,” said Schwertner.
The girls plan to be there for drive through deliveries from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. beginning Saturday, Feb. 13 and every Saturday thereafter (Feb. 20, Feb. 27, and March 6).
“Our girls have no problem approaching potential customers, because most of the time when they are at their booths and elsewhere customers usually approach them first,” said Barrett. “But they are always taught to thank each customer, whether they buy cookies are not.”
The troop includes two scouts who are in high school. There are nine girls (Daisies) who are in kindergarten to first grade. There are seven Brownies (second and third grades), and two juniors (fourth and fifth grades).
Because the pandemic caused problems for their sales last year, the organization ordered fewer boxes of the product than they have in the past. However, troop leader Krystle Henry believes that they should have 300-500 boxes over and above anticipated needs.
There had been other challenges for the cookie sale the predates COVID-19, Barrett said.
“I think the biggest obstacle our girls have had was when Hurricane Harvey came and everything was shut down and girls were not able to meet and interact with each other,” Barrett said. “My greatest joy is that we have lasted as an organization through every situation. When the troop had few members, we still met and made the best of it.”
Added Troop Leader Mayra Thompson: “As a troop leader, what brings me joy is watching the girls have fun and watching the girls become one as a troop is special.”
This year, a new cookie has been added to their repertoire – Toast-yay. Henry compares the new addition to French Toast with icing on top.
There are the carryover flavors that will be sold. They include Shortbread, Thin Mints, Lemonade, Caramel de Lite, Peanut Butter Patties, Peanut Butter Sandwich.
The cookie season officially began Wednesday, Feb. 10, and will end on March 27. Boxes are on sale for $5 and the girls will deliver to your vehicle upon request.