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Girl Scout Cookies Go Digital

New app lets buyers find closest cookie booths

By Livability.com on February 9, 2016

Courtesy of Girl Scouts USA

Looking for Girl Scout Cookies? There's an app for that. Yep, Girl Scout cookie sales have gone digital.

While girls across the country perfect their sales pitches while going door-to-door asking friends, neighbors and their parents' coworkers to buy cookies, many have turned to a new sales tool called Digital Cookie. Girls can invite customers to visit their personalized cookie websites through a link or take in-person orders using a moblie app. There's also an app called Girl Scout Cookie Finder that helps customers look up the closest cookie booths.

GET THE FUN FACTS: Check out our "insiders' guide" to the Girl Scouts infographic for cookie sales and history. 

"Technology is an important piece of our everyday lives, and our girls wanted to learn more about how that could impact building a digital business," says Kelly Parisi, chief communications executive for Girl Scouts of the USA. "So, for the first time in the history of Girl Scouts, we launched Digital Cookie. Digital Cookie will introduce vital 21st-century lessons about online marketing, online customer service and ecommerce to more than a million excited Girl Scouts who will be in the driver's seat of their own digital cookie businesses."

The Find Cookie app lets users input their zip codes in order to find the nearest cookie booth. Cookie sales in many states have already begun and will continue through April. Prices and sales periods differ from region to region. 

Evolution of Cookie Sales

While Girl Scouts started in Savannah, GA, the idea of selling cookies to raise money for local troops began in Muskogee, OK. In 1917, Muskogee's Mistletoe Troop baked cookies and sold them in the city's high school cafeteria as a service project. Five years later, the American Girl magazine featured an article by a local director in Chicago, which included a cookie recipe that was distributed to the council's 2,000 troops. The cost for six to seven cookies was around 35 cents, and she suggested cookies could be sold for up to 30 cents per dozen.

COOKIE TIME: Find out where Girl Scout Cookie sales started.

By the late 1920s, cookie sales had become more widespread. Cookie sales were suspended during World War II due to shortages of sugar, flour and butter, but by 1948, 29 bakers were licensed to back Girl Scout Cookies and more uniform flavors were established. Three varieties emerged as the standard Girl Scout Cookie in 1951: Peanut Butter Sandwich, Shortbread and Chocolate Mints (Thin Mints). 

During the 1960s, Girl Scout membership increased significantly, and cookie sales became a staple fundraising effort. Fourteen licensed bakers began wrapping cookies in printed aluminum foil or cellophane to protect the cookies and preserve their freshness. By 1978, the number of bakers was streamlined to four, helping to lower prices and ensure more consistent cookies, packaging and distribution. In the early 1990s, two licensed bakers supplied cookies for all Girl Scouts across the country, and baked eight cookie varieties. Cookie boxes became bright and colorful during the early 2000s, with eight varieties coming out of two licensed bakeries. Thin Mints, Peanut Butter Sandwiches and Shortbread (aka Trefoils) remained the mandatory cookies. 

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