A First-Timer's Guide to Boothing
Every year, I get a few notes from first-time leaders and
cookie moms/dads who are overwhelmed with the pressure of the whole
cookie escapade, especially how to find great cookie booths for their
troops and get it all set up. If this applies to you, here are some
ideas to get you started.
- First, Don't Panic. It's Only Cookies! *smile*
No matter what you do, whether you have a
booth or not, your girls will have fun and learn a lot in the
process. Remember that cookie sales are foremost a part of troop
program, where the girls will learn people skills, money skills, and
sales techniques. Selling huge numbers of cookies is not necessary
for the girls to learn these important life lessons.
- Should We Have a Cookie Booth?
Cookie Booths are not a mandatory part of cookie sales. If your
girls are selling cookies for the first time, or if it is your first
time being the troop cookie manager, it may be chaotic enough just with
regular sales! If this is the case, do yourself and your girls a favor
and wait until next year.
Also, as a part of troop program, the girls in the troop should have set
troop goals for their cookie sales. Even Brownies can start thinking
about how much their activities cost and how they can raise the
money to pay for them! Depending on the troop's goals, and on how many
cookies each girl sells on her own, the troop may not need a cookie
booth at all. Perhaps you may want to set up one cookie booth where
the girls can work an hour or so each so they can try it and see how
they like it. Many troops do not need to have a cookie booth at all,
and most troops won't need large numbers of them. (End of soapbox.)
- When Should We Have Our Cookie Booth?
Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays are most desired for boothing--
not only do most stores receive more traffic those days, but the
girls and adults are more likely to be available on the weekends.
Make sure you check with the adults in your troop to find out
what times and dates work for them. Dates earlier in the sale are
most desired. Remember that some stores place limits on the days
and times we can booth, and some places are only open certain hours
(especially banks, which are often only open until 3 or 4pm) so
that limits everyone. If you are flexible as to time--like you
don't mind a 7am-10am booth or a 5pm-8pm booth--your options
increase. My personal favorite is booths during the week from
around 4-7pm; more and more people are shopping after work and
especially at stores that have banks inside them, so there is a
lot of traffic.
- Where Should We Have Our Cookie Booth?
As to locations, hmmm... Your best source would honestly be
your neighborhood cookie manager. Each area is different. The
best locations are high-traffic stores, and booths will be most
successful early in the sale, before everyone has already received
cookies. Generally, the larger, high-traffic stores (for example,
Wal-Marts) are the most sought after booths. In most areas, Fry's
and Safeways are larger stores and have more traffic than the Bashas'
and ABCOs, but that is definitely not the case in all areas.
Walgreens and the other locations are a very mixed bag. Banks tend
to be very sought after too (and are therefore very limited, too)
but I personally have had only mediocre luck with them. I have had
great luck with video stores in the early evening, especially on
However, as far as locations go, I have found that if your girls
stay in their home area (i.e., your booth is at a store close to
their schools) and are polite, cheerful and charismatic, people
will support the children in their neighborhood whereever you are.
Also, you will get a lot of repeat sales late in the sale... and
a lot of good stories about how their husband ate all the cookies
before they got any, and that sort of thing. You can also use
the catch phrase, "Last Chance This Year" to increase your sales.
I only schedule about 300 stores in the Phoenix Metro valley.
There are a lot of locations that I am not scheduling that may
allow you to set up a cookie booth there. Use your imagination.
A parent in your troop may have a connection at some place that would
work well for you. (Target, Albertsons, and Home Depot usually
prohibit boothing.) Be sure to refer to your Booth Locations List
to make sure you don't ask for a booth at a location I am scheduling!
Also, you can sometimes arrange with a nearby office, apartment
complex, or retirement center to allow you to booth--either door
to door or set up a table in the entrance. These are hot spots
that are often not exploited, and I think we miss a lot of customers
because we don't take advantage of these opportunities.
- How Do I Request a Cookie Booth?
If you want me to schedule you a booth, I'll need all of the information
on the booth request form: Your name, address, and phone number, your
troop's number and level, and a list of the places/times that you
can booth. Please give me lots of choices! Remember that I take the
requests on a first-come, first served basis, so if you submit your
request late in January or in February, places will be limited and
you will need to be flexible.
- Where to Find More Information.
Let's see: You can answer a lot of your questions by checking out
the rest of this site. There is a complete list of the locations
that I am scheduling, a list of all of the booths that have been
scheduled so far, and information on how to run a cookie booth.
Make sure you check out the Cookie Booth
Suggestions for ideas on how to make your booth more
successful. Also, you or your troop cookie manager should receive
training in your neighborhood, which will give you lots of information
about cookie sales, including boothing. Your neighborhood cookie
manager will always be a great source of information. And don't forget
to ask other experienced leaders, especially leaders of older girl