GREATER WESTFIELD-Girls from across the region will once again be selling Girl Scout cookies – starting Jan. 15 – using new sales strategies and technology skills honed during a global pandemic.
“Girl Scouts are selling in creative, socially distant, and contact-free ways to keep themselves and their customers safe during a challenging time,” notes Dana Carnegie, communications manager, Girl Scouts of Central & Western Massachusetts (GSCWM).
The regional office of GSCWM is located at 301 Kelly Way in Holyoke.
“Even in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, girls are adapting their sales methods to share the joy of Girl Scout cookies through the largest girl-led entrepreneurship program – including taking contact-free pickup and delivery orders through a new national collaboration with Grubhub,” said Carnegie.
Carnegie added that Girl Scouts of the USA is making online cookie ordering available nationwide on Feb. 1 so consumers who don’t know a Girl Scout can still purchase cookies from a local troop for direct shipment to their homes or donation to local organizations.
For local troops including Troop 65088 in Westfield, there are two main sales methods they are using – drive-up booths and online orders. Troop 65088 is led by Heather Huizenga with assistance by co-leader Laura Harlow.
“All the Girl Scouts in Western Massachusetts and Central Massachusetts have the option of creating a website where customers can order cookies and choose to have the girls deliver them to their home for free or shipped anywhere in the country for a small shipping fee,” said Huizenga.
Huizenga added that people are being encouraged to use this method so the girls can sort their orders ahead of time and schedule deliveries in a safe manner.
“It can even be completely contactless,” said Huizenga, adding, “if that’s what people prefer.”
For the drive-up booths, Huizenga said area residents will be able to pull up and have cookies handed to them without having to get out of one’s car.
“We’re encouraging the use of credit cards through the same online platform in order to avoid handling excess cash, though we will still take cash and checks as usual,” she said. “People can order online while waiting in the line and immediately pick up their order or have our adult volunteers input the credit card sale on the spot.”
Her girls, called “Daisies,” range in age from 5-8, and “love” to talk about cookie sales.
“Some of these girls are very shy, but when they get talking about the cookies they really come out of their shell,” said Huizenga, adding, “it’s amazing to see.”
Huizenga’s troop will have booths at the GNC Westfield location, 257 East Main St., on Jan. 17 from 12 – 2 p.m., and at the Camp K-9 in Westfield, 202 Union St., on Jan. 20 from 4 – 6 p.m. Additionally, Grubhub ordering will be offered Jan. 16 from 10 a.m. – noon, and the girls will be at the GNC in West Springfield, 109 Riverdale St., on Jan. 16 from 2 – 4 p.m.
Patricia O’Connor, leader of Junior Troop 64804 for grades 4-5, and Brownie Troop 64936 for grades 1-2, said her girls will have a booth Feb. 13 from 10 a.m. – 12 at Dunkin’ in the Little River Plaza, 625 East Main St., Westfield.
“Cookie sales will be challenging for many troops this year,” said O’Connor. “While we still have our traditional order forms and personal sales, social distancing could significantly hinder our opportunities to obtain the same level of in-person sales. Luckily, we have the option of using technology.”
O’Connor said her Brownies are “very anxious” to visit museums and the zoo, as well as go camping, with funds they raise through cookie sales. The Juniors are also looking forward to camping and local field trips, and are also planning to save the bulk of their profits to take a trip to Savannah, Ga., the birthplace of Girl Scouts of the USA.
“The troops also plan to donate cookies to Western Massachusetts Hospital and Shriners Hospital for Children,” said O’Connor. “Customers who wish to donate boxes to these organizations must do so directly from the girls, as our online donations will be part of the council’s Project Care & Share which sends them to the military.”
Some of O’Connor’s girls were also eager to share their enthusiasm with our readers and encourage local residents to consider buying Girl Scout cookies in the coming weeks.
“Because of the pandemic, my cookie business is different,” said Chloe Fisher of Troop 64804. “I am using Digital Cookie more than I have in past years. My digital sales have really taken off this year. I’m getting customers that I wouldn’t normally get to talk to because of online sales.”
Talia Marx, also of Troop 64804, shared a similar sentiment.
“I have been selling Girl Scout cookies by making and printing out business cards and putting them in mailboxes of people around my neighborhood,” said Marx. “I have also been reaching out to relatives, putting the link to my cookie site on Zooms when I talk to them about Girl Scouts, and asking the people I know to order from my website.”
Aurora Labrie, also of Troop 64804, concurred.
“Due to COVID, I can only do online sales,” said Labrie. “I do hope our community will support our troop.”
For Huizenga’s girls, they all are also eager to start selling cookies.
“It is fun to sell cookies, I get to be with my friends, raise money to do fun things with my scout friends, and I earn badges and prizes,” said Rozalynn Fuller, age 7.
Abigail Maxwell, also 7, agreed.
“I like selling cookies and doing fun things with my friends, learning things, earning badges, and helping people,” said Maxwell.
For Alessandra Cusack, age 6, she hopes to sell Girl Scout cookies because they are “so yummy.”
Leah Nuñez, age 7, said there are several reasons she likes selling cookies.
“I like selling cookies because I get to earn fun prizes and patches,” said Nuñez. “I also get to help earn money for my troop to do fun things!”
All purchases of Thin Mints, Samoas, Lemon-Ups, and other Girl Scout cookie favorites are an investment in girl leadership in the local community, noted Carnegie.
“With every sale, the Girl Scout Cookie Program teaches girls how to think like entrepreneurs as they run their own small businesses and learn skills like goal setting, money management, business ethics, people skills, and decision making – which are imperative for any leadership role,” said Carnegie. “Girls also decide how to use their portion of the proceeds for unforgettable leadership experiences and community projects, while GSCWM depends on the funds to deliver life-changing Girl Scout programming to 7,000 members in central and western Massachusetts.”
To find cookies go to: https://www.girlscouts.org/en/cookies/all-about-cookies/support-girls-success.html