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Girl Scouts cookie campaign under way

Special Photo
Local Girl Scouts troops are taking cookie orders as part of the 2010 campaign. The girls will begin setting up sales booths in March.

Special Photo Local Girl Scouts troops are taking cookie orders as part of the 2010 campaign. The girls will begin setting up sales booths in March.

By Jason A. Smith

jsmith@henryherald.com

Girl Scout Troop Leader Angela Hollander is looking forward to seeing how many cookies her group of fourth- and fifth-graders will sell in 2010.

Hollander said cookie sales for her Girl Scouts, in Troop No. 361 of Jonesboro, "exceeded expectations" during their first year as a unit in 2009.

"Because we were all new, we didn't know what to expect," said Hollander. "We were just getting our feet wet. But we made approximately $1,400, and we sold close to 2,000 boxes of cookies."

The Girl Scouts are selling cookies at a cost of $3.50 per box.

Sarnethia Wilkinson, the product sales marketing coordinator for the Girl Scouts of Greater Atlanta, said some 30,000 girls, in 2,900 Girl Scout troops in the metropolitan area, sold more than 3 million boxes of cookies in 2009.

She hopes the current sales effort will "at least" meet the same mark.

"The cookies will be delivered to our service areas Feb. 16-20," Wilkinson said. "Troops will then be setting up booth sales, which will continue through the end of March."

Hollander said one challenge her girls will face is being able to satisfy the sweet tooth of more health-conscious customers.

The Girl Scouts have discontinued the sale of their sugar-free chocolate chip cookies, and replaced them with a cranberry selection, called Thank U Berry Munch.

Hollander said she is disappointed by the change, but is hopeful the other varieties of cookies will continue to attract sales.

Although two types of Girl Scout cookies -- Tagalongs and Do-Si-Dos -- contain peanut butter, cookie production was not affected by last year's salmonella scare. An April 2009 press release from the national Girl Scouts organization said the baking companies used by the Scouts do not get their peanut butter from the suppliers associated with the peanut butter warning.

Although Girl Scout troops of the past typically went door to door to solicit sales, retail stores now serve as a primary venue for the girls to offer their cookies. Hollander, a former Girl Scout herself, described this as a "safety issue," because of the increased risk of crime in various neighborhoods.

"I can remember, vividly, my mom driving me around to neighborhoods we had never been in," Hollander said. "Now, I would probably not venture past a couple of neighborhoods around us."

She said her girls will visit neighborhoods March 8-14 to sell cookies during the Girl Scouts' Walkabout Week.

Donna Wallman, of Stockbridge, is in her second year as the cookie manager for Girl Scouts Service Unit 645 in Hampton, and is a troop leader for Girl Scout Troop No. 19208 in Stockbridge. The girls in her groups "did really well" in 2009, Wallman said, and are selling cookies now that will be delivered in mid-February.

She said her girls were eager to begin collecting cookie orders for the 2010 campaign.

"We started selling cookies on Dec. 21," Wallman said. "Normally we wait until January, but the girls told us if they had order forms at Christmas time, they could sell them then, when they saw their families." She said her groups have targeted retail outlets including Lowe's, Kroger and Walmart stores for sales in Henry County.