Girl Scout cookie sales down nationally, up locally

By Emily Bardales

For the next couple of weeks, the students that swarm campus will be joined by Girl Scouts selling cookies.

While reports from USA Today and the Los Angeles Times state that pre-order cookie sales are down nationally this year, the sales for the East Central Illinois region are actually beyond the goal.

“We’re on goal for pre-ordered sales,” said Holly Thompson, communication director for the Eastern Illinois regional service center for Girl Scouts. “We are actually up slightly.”

The troops will begin the second type of sales.

“Another part of the sales is the direct sales which will be taking place in the next few weeks, so we can’t be sure of what will happen yet with that aspect,” Thompson said.

The girls of the Ranneberger family of Champaign have had years of experience in cookie sales.

Emma, 14, has been a girl scout for nine years and is in Troop 2041 with her sister Molly, 12. Their troop leader is their mom, Jill.

“The girls have sold 800 boxes so we are frantically trying to deliver them all,” Jill said.

While Emma has regulars who will buy cookies every year, she hopes for the best when she is selling outside of places such as Sam’s Club and Schnucks.

“What we try to do is put a smile on,” Emma said. “We aren’t allowed to solicit, but if customers come up, we try to carry on conversations, and it works to attract more people to come and see what we’re selling.”

Parker Kellner, 12, and Lauren Klindworth, 12, sold cookies for Troop 2413 outside of Follett’s Bookstore, on the corner of Wright and Green streets.

“When I was little I used to see girl scouts selling cookies, and I thought it looked fun,” Kellner said.

Follett’s Bookstore rotates the troops that it permits to sell outside their store.

Jill Ranneberger said she thinks the local area is not included in the national drop in sales because problems with cost, weather and the economy that others are experiencing are not as significant here.

“The Northern part of Chicago is charging $7 per box, while our price has remained the same for several years at $3.50,” she said.

Another explanation could be the addition of 1,000 girls selling cookies in the division.

Daisies, 5 and 6-year-olds, are now allowed to sell cookies as well. A new type of cookie is being sold this year called the “Daisy Go Rounds” named after the new group that can sell cookies.

“The average number of boxes sold per girl is down, but there are more girls selling so it is not affecting us,” said Ranneberger.

There have also been minor changes made to the cookies this year.

Three types of cookies have reduced the number of cookies per box, and the recipe for the peanut butter in certain cookies has returned to the old recipe, after the new one introduced last year was not received well, according to Ranneberger.

While last year’s sales for the Champaign-Urbana area were unavailable, Thompson estimates that the Girl Scouts sold more than 200,000 boxes for all of East Central Illinois.