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Girl Scouts kick off cookie season with pitch to local business leaders

ABQ Journal 02.16.23

The stakes had never been higher.

On Wednesday, four cadettes from Girl Scout troop 10465 made a “Shark Tank”-style pitch to local real estate agents just days before the start of Girl Scout Cookie booth sales, earning their “Cookie Boss” patch. Although Girl Scouts have already begun selling cookies door-to-door — several of the presenting cadettes sold cookies on Super Bowl Sunday — booth sales start Feb. 17.

Beth Otero, a 13-year-old Thin Mints fan, said she and the other girls, all Desert Ridge Middle School students, took advantage of the Wednesday snow delay to put the finishing touches on their PowerPoint — an upgrade from last year’s presentation.

“We used to have a big flip chart, but that was kind of impractical,” Otero said. “It’s just sitting in my garage now.”

Otero and fellow cadettes Emma Lupinetti, Caitlyn Tierney, and Ashley Barnes, all 12, spoke to local mother-and-daughter realty team Ainsley and Carol Sauder about the benefits of buying cookies as a business and the programs that cookie purchases fund.

“We really loved connecting them with women-owned businesses,” said troop leader — and part-time IT support for the cadettes — Joanna Fair. “We’ve been to, like, a woman-owned woodshop … I think letting these girls see all the possibilities for seeing what they can do is really positive as well.”

The Sauders bought 100 boxes of cookies from the cadettes last year. The Sauders have long supported the organization — Carol Sauder was the troop leader for her daughter Ainsley, long before the pair teamed up in real estate.

“I’m a big believer in women learning how to do various activities,” Ainsley Sauder said. “I used to work in college athletics prior to working in real estate, and so I come from a very male-dominated world. I think learning to do public speaking and being able to stand your ground … is a really big asset to learn at their age.”

This is the second year that the New Mexico branch of Girl Scouts has offered the Cookie Boss program. Last year Girl Scouts of New Mexico Trails made pitches to more than 40 businesses including Mesa Del Sol, Kiln it Art Studio and several car dealerships – although the four girls said WisePies got extra points when the pizza shop gave them candy and T-shirts.

Barnes, Otero and Lupinetti sold 300 boxes of cookies through their Cookie Boss pitches last year, and are hoping to bring that number to 500 this year.

Fair said she was proud to see her cadettes, including her daughter Lupinetti, get up and present.

“Some of these girls are more shy than others,” Fair said. “… For some, this is easier, and for some this was a bigger deal to actually be able to get up in front of people and present. I have seen so much growth in all of them.”

Rebecca Latham, CEO of Girl Scouts of New Mexico Trails, said this year, 50 people signed up for the Cookie Boss training program.

“I remember selling Girl Scout cookies when I was your age, and I only remember going door-to-door and maybe having a booth,” Fair said. “I never had a program like this.”