Teaching Business: One Cookie at a Time

Oconee County, GA – They’re back in business…the cookie business that is. And for troop leaders like Jennifer Duncan of an Oconee County troop, it’s a busy time. For the next month, her house is a cookie warehouse.

Girl Scouts in the Athens area started distributing their cookies last week, and at a more expensive price. Boxes are now $4.0o, up from $3.50. Simply put, the cost of making the cookies has gone up, so follows the price. Duncan’s troop sold 500 boxes of cookies at a local Walmart last weekend in just six hours, which is way more than average. Duncan says people didn’t notice the price increase. “I never had one person blink twice that we were charging four dollars. In fact we had multiple people say they’re only four dollars?”

Cookie selling doesn’t just mean lots of empty boxes, it’s also a time for the girls to learn about business. When you buy a box, you are also allowing the girls to learn valuable business lessons. Duncan has a troop of eleven fifth graders. She teaches them simple business skills like having a sales pitch, counting money, and handling the product. The troop can earn badges based on sales and last year, her troop won the CEO Cookie badge. For any business to make a profit, you must have good sales people. And for that, the girls have come up with a full-proof sales pitch: “Hi, would you like to buy some girl scout cookies?” Works like a charm.

Getting to that point was a process, says Duncan. “Really at the beginning they would just say – Girl Scout cookies! And then we moved to – would you like to buy some Girl Scout cookies?” Her troop also understands the different business roles, like cashiering and “advertising,” say dancing in a cookie suit, for example.

Duncan also mentions that door-to-door pre-selling could be a thing of the past. She says it is easier and more profitable to do a booth sale at local businesses and go door-to-door with cookies in a wagon. Booth selling helps the girls be more outgoing, she says. “I’ve actually got some that are really quiet but while they’re selling, they have this personality that comes out.”

In addition to the business skills, the troop is keeping some of the profit. Sixty cents of each box goes to the local troop, which Duncan says is a good amount.

If you have already ordered cookies, Duncan says you should be getting them now or very soon. There was a slight delay with the winter weather last week. Another way to buy your cookies this year: using a credit/debit card. The Girl Scout cookie season ends March 17th, so get them while you can.

Alexa Knowles, reporting.


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