Berkeley Girl Scouts begin selling cookies in-person

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Girl Scout Annabelle Fretz began the pandemic selling cookies by sending emails and putting up flyers. But this year, she will finally be able to set up and sell at a booth again.

Girl Scouts cookie season is running from Feb. 1 to March 27 in Northern California, and the cookies can be bought online and in person.

Local Troop 33984, which Fretz belongs to, will begin holding booths across Berkeley on Feb. 14, with designated locations at Caffe Strada, Sproul Plaza and the west campus area, according to Michael Fretz, Annabelle Fretz’s father.

“The girls in the troop really like to sell near campus,” Fretz’s father said, who is in charge of cookie sales for the Troop. “I feel like they get excited by the atmosphere of selling students.”

Cookies can be purchased through ilovecookies.org, which connects people to local troops with digital sites, according to Cindy McCann, organization effectiveness director for the Girl Scouts of Northern California. Beginning Feb. 14, customers can also buy the cookies through the food delivery app Doordash, McCann added.

Alongside the classics, like Samoas — Annabelle Fretz’s personal favorite — and Thin Mints, Girl Scouts will be offering a new cookie, Adventurefuls, described as an “indulgent brownie-inspired cookie with caramel crème and a hint of sea salt” in a Girl Scouts press release. Additionally, all boxes of cookies will be $6 this year, raising the cost of most of the cookies by $1.

While the pandemic began near the tail end of the 2020 Girl Scouts cookie season, fears of the then-new coronavirus pushed some Scouts to sell online instead of in public, Fretz’s father said.

Selling online made it challenging to predict the demand for the cookies — as Troop 33984 found out the hard way, Fretz’s father said. They ran out in roughly five days, and had to scramble to get more cookies, he added.

The mix of both in-person booths and online sales will likely continue, Fretz’s father said. Cookie enthusiasts in Berkeley can also expect to see fewer booths outside BART stations this year because there wasn’t as much traffic there throughout the pandemic, he said.

Prior to the pandemic, sales were increasing yearly, with 4,000 to 5,000 boxes sold by the Troop in 2020; however, in 2021 sales were nearly cut in half, Fretz’s father said.

But Fretz’s father said things are looking up this year, and they are expecting to reach pre-pandemic levels of sales.

Last year Troops in Alameda County sold 430,000 packages with an average of 225 per Scout, and Troops across Berkeley and Albany sold 34,000 packages with an average of 239 per Scout, according to McCann.

Fretz said cookie sales goals for the Troop and herself have increased in recent years. This year, she hopes to sell 800 boxes, and the sales will go toward community service efforts, which include a trip to Puerto Rico to help with hurricane recovery, Fretz added.

“When I joined, I was like, ‘Wow, this is so cool, we’re doing all these fun things and we’re helping the community,’ ” Fretz said. “We’re just, like, learning as we go.”

Contact Mela Seyoum at [email protected], and follow her on Twitter at @MelaSeyoum.

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