Badgerland Girl Scouts’ planning, individual sales avoid glut of leftover cookies

Nationally, though, local troops and two bakeries are trying to unload 15 million boxes of unsold cookies
Girl Scout Cookies

MADISON, Wis. (WKBT) — The COVID-19 pandemic led to a tale of two balance sheets on Girl Scout Cookie sales, with local efforts employing the best of times to offset the worst of times.
In the Badgerland Girl Scout Council region, which includes 21 counties in west-central and south-central Wisconsin, Houston County in Minnesota and Allamakee County in Iowa, sales of 1,191,696 boxes of cookies were down just a bit from last year, according to Christy Gibbs, the council’s chief marketing officer.

Badgerland Council

The Badgerland Girl Scout Council includes 21 Wisconsin counties, as well as Houston County, Minn., and Allamakee County, Iowa.

However, Badgerland Scouts stepped up their individual efforts, with the average number of boxes that each Scout sold rising to 356, Gibbs said.
Nationally, the Girl Scouts have 15 million boxes of unsold cookies because the coronavirus pandemic shut down in-person sales at cookie booths, according to the national office of the 109-year-old organization.
Gibbs credits strategic decisions reached last fall with Badgerland’s being able to have a successful season.
“We moved our sale date start time from early February to mid-March,” she said. “That time frame made all the difference as the impact of vaccinations and lower infection rates saw the world slowly beginning its ‘return to normal’ around our go-time.”
The Badgerland Council also created plans for members to choose sales method that best fit their families’ needs during the COVID era, Gibbs said.
Girls and troops had the option of doing a fully virtual sale, as well as the traditional public booth sales and door-to-door.
“We found Badgerland Girl Scouts were interested in any and all those options,” she said. “Some troops and girls were all-in on doing booths, and just as many took advantage of inviting customers to their online stores and doing door-drop deliveries.”
Because of the planning and organization, the Badgerland council is saddled with excess inventory like other councils and the national office.
Nationally, the Girl Scouts usually make around $800 million a year selling 200 million boxes of cookies. The organization won’t say how many boxes Scouts sold this year.
But the councils where sales lagged, and the two bakeries that make the cookies are trying to sell or donate those 15 million boxes leftover boxes.
Perhaps Dairy Queen customers are helping ease the glut by buying the ice cream chain’s Thin Mint Blizzards.
Back in Badgerland, camp starts Friday, and many campers are using the virtual dollars they earned through cookie sales to pay for camp.
“How cool is that?” Gibbs said. “Additionally, 202 Badgerland Girl Scouts opted to ‘gift’ their earnings to the nonprofit organization Save the Bees. Developing a spirit of philanthropy is part of the cookie program, and we are so proud of the girls who chose to participate in this meaningful option.”

An Associated Press report contributed to this story.