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Three words for you…Girl Scout Cookies. Is your mouth watering yet? What if we said Thin Mints? Did that get your attention? Thin Mints are the number one best selling Girl Scout Cookie across the nation. You can ask anyone what their favorite is, and they will have a quick, but firm answer. The obsession with these cookies seems to grow more and more each year.

Although cookie season is over, we decided it was time to talk to the woman behind this year’s Girl Scout Cookie sales in Moore County, Rachel Patterson. 

Rachel’s home was the official “cookie cupboard”, and it sure was sweet. That would make her house sort of like the North Pole for cookies. Rachel’s daughter, Peyton, has been involved with the organization for six of her 11 years of life.

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Rachel’s son, Abram, sitting in the official cookie cupboard wondering if he gets to eat any of the cookies.

SHS: What are your official titles with the Girl Scouts?

RACHEL: I am the troop leader for Troop 2950, but this year I was also the Moore County Area Coordinator for the cookie sales which comprised of 30 troops selling cookies in the county. This was in addition to being the Cookie Coordinator of my own troop.

SHS: In addition to that, you had the illustrious “cookie cupboard” at your house. What was that like?

RACHEL: It was a lot cookies! Initially, we got around 3,000 boxes delivered, and I had to count them all. Then all the troop leaders came, we sorted them as a group for each troop, and then we loaded them up. I have a tracker on my watch, and that day I logged 22,000 steps.

SHS: So you are ground zero for cookies in Moore County.

RACHEL: I guess so. (laughing) The different troops came to my house to replenish their supplies each week, so it got a bit hectic. They placed their orders online, and the shipments were delivered to me.

SHS: Over the eight weeks of cookie season, we see cookie sales set up everywhere in all sorts of weather. Do the girls hesitate when the weather is bad?

RACHEL: Not at all. These girls are so focused on getting sales and moving the cookies they seem like they don’t even notice the weather. They layer up and head out. Of course, they are under the tents, which helps. It’s the parents in the tents with them that are usually shivering.

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Peyton Patterson and her entrepreneur partner braving the weather.

SHS: One man made national news for buying out all the Girls Scout Cookies, but you had something similar happen.

RACHEL: We did. We were working the tent at Wal-Mart. It was freezing cold. The temperatures were in the high 30s, low 40s. We had been at the booth for about an hour, and this man comes up and asks how many boxes of cookies we had for sale. He bought all 78 boxes and told us to go home. He said it was too cold to be out selling cookies. We never got his name, but what a wonderful thing to do. I wish we knew who he was.

SHS: Are people really as obsessed as they seem about the cookies?

RACHEL: Absolutely. We have people in December asking when cookies are going to start. Some people buy five cases of whatever they like and freeze them, so they have some all year. I shipped a case to a troop in Tennessee, and they had them sold before we even finished texting. The eight weeks of cookie sales are intense, but people are inquiring about cookies long before we start selling, and it continues for a while afterward.

SHS: Have the names of cookies changed over the years? We are not familiar with some of the cookie names we see now.

RACHEL: Here is the secret behind that. There are actually two bakers of Girl Scout Cookies in the U.S.  We get our cookies for this region from ABC Bakers. The other baker is Little Brownie Bakers. Some cookies have the same name from either baker, but people swear they do not taste the same.  Other cookies are the same, yet they have different names. For example, a Caramel deLite is the same as a Samoa. Peanut Patties are the same as Tagalongs.

SHS: How many cookies did Moore County sell?

RACHEL: We did $261,084 in cookies sales which were 67,364 boxes. Our troop sold 6,767 boxes which is fantastic for a troop with 12 girls. The top sellers for Moore County were Isabella Bonillo who sold 2, 020 boxes, Keyaira Hutson came in at 1, 598, and Jordan Huffman at 1, 109 boxes.

 

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Rachel’s garage filled with cookies.

SHS: We know you take donations at the booths also. What does that money go for?

RACHEL: It is required that we use that money to send Girl Scout Cookies oversees to the soldiers, which is a wonderful thing to do. Moore County is part of the N.C. Coastal Pines Council, and they sent over a million boxes to the soldiers. Our Moore County girls sent the soldiers 3,142 boxes.

SHS: We see the girls working these booths, and they are really good at it. Even when people say no, the girls seem very polite and take it well.

RACHEL: These girls are good at selling. They will say $4 each or 5 for $20. Then they are like do you want to donate that change for the troops? And yes, they learn so much doing these sales and working the booths. It is more than just making money. We are building future leaders, entrepreneurs, confident women, and just really helping these girls become successful in life. They are learning how to be respectful and the understanding of the hard work that goes into making money.

SHS: Where does the money go? How much can you make?

RACHEL: They can use the proceeds for mission projects, and they can choose a trip for the troop. Our troop is sponsoring foster kids ages 13-21 for Christmas and will be purchasing presents. Everybody thinks of the small children in foster care, but the older foster kids tend to get passed over. We will also do a trip. We are going to Savannah. The minimum per box is $0.50 a box, and the more each girl sells the more proceeds per box.

SHS: Speaking of money, we saw that you could use credit cards this year. We thought you only took cash.

RACHEL: This was the first year that we could take credit cards, so that what a big help. So many people don’t really carry cash anymore, so it was nice to be able to offer people that option. 

SHS: How do you get permission to have a booth? Some seem to be at the same places each year.

RACHEL: Getting a booth to sell cookies is not as easy as it seems. We have to get permission from different places. The council has a booth coordinator that get all these booths lined up from places like Walmart, Lowes, Lowes Foods, and others. Then your troop goes into a lottery for these booths over three days. You get five picks, and only one can be a premium booth. Then there is first-come first-serve where you can only get two booths a day. Then after that, it is a free for all. You pick booth days and times in three-hour increments. The troop leaders are spending a lot of time just trying to secure a booth. Even though it’s all pre-arranged, it is a fight for a booth.

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Girl Scout Troop 795  (All photos contributed.)

SHS: Who works the booths?

RACHEL: You are required to have two adults and two girls in most cases.  If one girl has to go to the restroom, an adult goes with them, and the other adult stays with the booth and the other girl. It is a safety issue. Booths with older girls can have one adult and one girl.

SHS: Wow, this is exhausting just hearing all the work and effort that goes into this.

RACHEL: It is an amazing effort by troop leaders, parents and the troops themselves. Truly, it is a team effort. The girls are why we do it. They are so motivated and so goal oriented that they keep pushing to do more and to sell more, and it is just an amazing effort on their part. We are so grateful to each and every person that buys the cookies or stops by with a donation.

If you see a booth next year, or maybe some Girl Scout rings your doorbell, know that that they are working very hard at what they do. It takes a lot of bravery to ask a stranger to buy a box of cookies at such a young age.

It’s okay to say no, and it is also okay to make a donation. It goes to a great cause, our soldiers overseas. If you don’t have cash, well you can now use a debit or credit card too.

For those of you without a secret stash of Girl Scout Cookies in your freezer, we hope you can hang in there until the season begins again. 

For information on joining the Girl Scouts, please contact Jamie Gerald at 910-384-6641 or email jgerald@nccoastalpines.org.    

Feature photo: Rachel and Peyton Patterson.

 

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