Charlotte Girl Scouts get innovative to sell cookies in 2021
CHARLOTTE, N.C. (WBTV) - The Girl Scouts are dealing with a unique dilemma this year. The organization currently has 15 million boxes of unsold cookies, according to CBS News. The sales struggles are due in-part to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Colleen Young, Senior Vice President of Brand Marketing & Product Sales for the Girl Scouts Hornets’ Nest Council, said that local troops in the Charlotte area did distribute about 200 thousand less packages this year than they did last year, but the council still met its 2021 sales goal. Young explained that sales were still made possible because of the innovative techniques used by scouts like 12-year-old Zoe McFall of Troop 1800.
McFall and her mother, Coral Wayland, spoke to WBTV in an interview Thursday evening, explaining that they were concerned about how many cookies they’d be able to sell with pandemic restrictions in place in Mecklenburg County.
“I didn’t even think I should try and then my parents encouraged me,” said McFall.
Wayland said she worried that sales would take a big dip due to pandemic restrictions impacting the scouts’ ability to sell.
“We started off cookie season a little concerned. We didn’t know if we’d even sell like a hundred boxes,” said Wayland.
McFall and her mother stayed persistent. The 12-year-old scout explained that she had to change the way she sold cookies to interact with potential buyers.
“We had to keep a good distance between our customers. Instead of like going around with a cart like we usually would, we had to set up a table. Sometimes we had like this little shield between us and the customer,” explained McFall.
Wayland explained that the scouts couldn’t sell at some of the locations they normally go to because of the pandemic.
“We didn’t have the big Walmart booths, the big Harris Teeter booths so we had to go out and find potential hotspots with good foot traffic and set those up ourselves,” she said.
The mother-daughter duo also adopted a drive-thru method for selling cookies. McFall said she would bring boxes to the streets in her neighborhood and sell them to neighbors.
“I would set up around five o’clock and that’s when everybody was getting off work and getting out of school,” said the scout.
Wayland explained that the neighborhood strategy led to several sales. She said her daughter’s troop ended up selling more boxes this year than they did last year.
“Every day we would go stand out in our neighborhood by a stop sign and Zoe would have her wagon and a sign and folks just stopped one right after another,” said Wayland.
The Troop 1800 co-leader also explained that she is confident that troops that experienced a down sales year will be able to bounce back.
“You just get creative. Maybe you postpone a trip a couple months. You get on Facebook and ask for supplies for the badges you want to work on, but Girl Scouts are creative. They’ll get the job done,” said Wayland.
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