On Friday, Girl Scout Troop 2395, based at St. Andrew United Methodist Church, kicked off the Girl Scout Cookie Program season with a nearby cookie booth in the parking lot of Ragsdale Ace Hardware on Canton Road just north of Piedmont Road.
Radio station B98.5 FM was also on hand encouraging the public to stop by.
The troop’s 12 girls had 360 boxes of Girl Scout cookies on hand to sell, including Thin Mints, Samoas, Tagalongs, Do-Si-Dos, and Trefoils or shortbread cookies. Each box is $3.50.
From 1 to 5 p.m. today, Troop 2923 will be selling cookies at WalMart at 210 Cobb Parkway South near the Big Chicken in Marietta. From 3 to 7 p.m. Sunday, Troop 12380 will have cookies on sale at WalMart at 1785 Cobb Parkway SE near Dobbins Air Reserve Base in Marietta.
From 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. today, Troop 2395 will be at Kroger at 12050 Highway 92 in Woodstock.
Virginia Douglas is leader of Troop 2395, which pre-ordered 2,400 boxes of cookies, meaning they collected pre-orders for potential customers, whose orders will be delivered to them by the girls a few weeks later. The troop had two girls who pre-ordered more than 300 boxes and a couple of girls who pre-ordered 180 boxes, earning them special T-shirts. The general pre-order goal is 175 boxes.
“That’s a lot of cookies,” said assistant troop leader Kathy Adkins of Kennesaw.
In the three-year history of the troop of girls, they have never not sold all of their cookies, Adkins said. “Last year, we had to cancel our last booth because they sold out of everything that we had,” she said.
Most of the girls in the troop attend third or fourth grade at nearby Blackwell Elementary School, and two attend Nicholson and Pitner elementary schools. They acknowledged it can be a challenge making a sale, but as veterans now in their fourth sales year they’ve picked up a few strategies.
If a potential customer says he or she doesn’t eat cookies, “ask them to donate to the troops,” said Sidney Garner, 10, who planned to sell 275 boxes.
About 70 percent of the proceeds stay in the local Girl Scout council, including a portion that goes directly to the group selling the cookies. The balance goes to the baker to pay for the cookies.
“This is really what they wait for all year,” said Anji Roe Wood, Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta spokeswoman.
“A lot of people see the Girl Scout Cookie Program as girls selling cookies, but what they don’t realize is the girls are learning extremely valuable life skills that every entrepreneur learns. They are learning goal-setting, decision-making, the cost of doing business and advertising.”
By far, the most popular cookies are Thin Mints, followed by Samoas and Tagalongs, according to the girls of Troop 2395.
Jordan Ross, 9, said the girls never sneak cookies for themselves, “otherwise, we lose money.”
Even in a down economy, people will still find ways to pay for Girl Scout cookies, Adkins said.
“They know they can only get them that one time a year,” she said. “I’ve seen people literally at a booth … in their pockets digging for change to come up with money for a box of cookies.”
This year is the 100th anniversary of Girl Scouts.
To focus national attention on girls and the issues they face, Girl Scouts of the USA has also declared 2012 the “Year of the Girl.” Offices nationwide are planning celebrations.
Troop 2395 will save a portion of their cookie sale proceeds to put toward a trip next year to Savannah to visit the birthplace of Juliette Gordon Low, founder of the Girl Scouts of the USA. Another portion will go to a charitable cause, which in the past has included MUST Ministries and Our Pal’s Place animal shelter in Marietta.