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Published: Friday, 1/4/2013

The new year’s here — let the Girl Scouts cookie sales begin!

BY JENNIFER FEEHAN
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Holly Spangler, 13, left, and her sister Courtnie, 14, right, have been selling thousands of Girl Scout cookies with Troop 11080, of South Toledo, since they were in kindergarten. Holly Spangler, 13, left, and her sister Courtnie, 14, right, have been selling thousands of Girl Scout cookies with Troop 11080, of South Toledo, since they were in kindergarten.
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Just when you thought you’d eaten the last Christmas cookie in the house, Girl Scouts all over the area are launching their annual cookie sale today.

Their six signature varieties are back — same price, same box size — although the Scouts have a new product this year: snack bars. The two varieties of chewy granola bars are being billed as a healthy alternative to Thin Mints and Samoas.

“We’re super-duper excited about the snack bars,” said Jennifer Greene, product sales manager for Girl Scouts of Western Ohio. “It’s a healthier alternative to the cookies with the amount of fiber and protein in each bar.”

The snack bars, which sell for $4 a box, come in two flavors: Double Dutch, which feature chocolate drizzles and dark chocolate chips, and Tagalongs, which have chocolate drizzles and peanut butter chips.

The cookies cost $3.50 per box, and local troops earn between 50 cents and 70 cents per box to help pay for trips, activities, and supplies.

Bobbi Spangler of Perrysburg, who serves as leader of Troop 11080 in South Toledo, said cookie-sale proceeds provide about three-fourths of her troop’s funds each year. Her daughters, Courtnie, 14, and Holly, 13, who joined Scouts in kindergarten, annually sell more than 2,000 boxes.

Holly said she and her sister have more success selling cookies at booths their troop sets up outside local businesses than taking orders door-to-door. She has been known to sing and dance to stay warm and attract customers, although her older sister doesn’t go that far to sell cookies.

“It’s always me and my other friend,” Holly said.

Her advice to first-time cookie sellers: “Bear through the cold and look as cute as possible.”

Despite the obvious financial benefits for Scout troops, Ms. Greene said Girl Scouts do not bill the “cookie program” as a fund-raiser.

“It’s an entrepreneurial opportunity for girls, because the girls are learning life skills,” she said. “We focus on five major life skills that girls learn through the cookie program.”

They are: goal setting, decision making, money management, people skills, and business ethics.

For customers, it all comes down to the cookies. Last year, Girl Scouts in the Toledo region sold 873,273 boxes.

“Thin Mints make up 25 percent of our sales in the Toledo region,” Ms. Greene said, followed by Tagalongs and Samoas, which typically vie for the second-place spot. Last year, Tagalongs won, making up 21.74 percent of sales, while Samoas made up 21.54 percent.

Ms. Greene said she believes it’s the long tradition that propels the annual cookie sale.

“We’ve been here 100 years, and not many organizations can say that, especially nonprofit organizations,” Ms. Greene said. “We’re doing great things for girls, and we’re moving ahead with the girls. We’re not stuck in those traditions.”

People who want to buy cookies but don’t get a Girl Scout’s knock on their doors between today and March 12 may call the organization or look for outdoor booths between Feb. 15 and March 17, said Shonna King, communications manager for Girl Scouts of Western Ohio. Phone orders may be arranged at 419-243-8216.

Ms. Greene added that customers who buy five boxes of cookies at the same time will receive a certificate that will allow them to enter a drawing for five cases — that’s 60 boxes — of cookies by entering a code on the Girl Scouts of Western Ohio Web site.

“The flavor of their choice,” she said.

Contact Jennifer Feehan at: jfeehan@theblade.com or 419-724-6129. 



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