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Girl Scouts Feed Connecticut's Sweet Tooth
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Gillian Horan from Brownie Troop 327 in East Hartford: Photo by Shomial AhmadGillian Horan from Brownie Troop 327 in East Hartford: Photo by Shomial AhmadYou might have spotted someone nibbling a Girl Scout cookie recently. While the size of the cookie is small, the scale of the sales is enormous.

"Would you like a bag with that."
"Sure I would love a bag."

Brownie Troop 327's table of treats sits in front of the produce section of an East Hartford Stop & Shop. Gillian Horan is eight years old. Each time she sells a box, she thanks the customer and then a couple seconds later, she exclaims "Awesome." She wears a brown sash over her gray sweatshirt and sits behind the snacks.

"Well, we have natural Tagalongs, All Abouts, Chocolate Chip (sugar free), Do-Si-Dos, Thin Mints, Truffles, Trefoils, Lemon Chalet Cremes and Samoas."

In front of this cookie line up is a little cardboard sign that reads $4 a box.

And for Horan those dollars add up. For each box she sells, her troop gets 75 cents that can be used towards troop activities, like camping. She’s already sold 80 boxes, and she tries to calculate what that means for sales.

"So 80 times 4 is probably around $325."

Horan is one of Connecticut's 32,000 Girl Scouts trying to meet the statewide sales goal of $12 million. And if you wanted to translate those millions in terms of boxes, you’d go to the Girl Scout of Connecticut's enormous cookie jar.

A fork lift is ready to move cookies in the giant cookie jar.: Photo by Shomial AhmadA fork lift is ready to move cookies in the giant cookie jar.: Photo by Shomial AhmadThe William B. Meyer Warehouse in Stratford is one of two places in the state where the sweets sit before they are distributed across the state. The warehouse looks like a lego field with towers and towers of treats. One Samoa stack consists of more than 2,000 cookie boxes. And all of the towers add up to more than 25 million cookies.

Spokeswoman for the distributor, Helen Koven, walks around the cookie stacks, sharing her favorites.

"I'm between Samoas and Thin Mints. They're pretty close for me. I like my Thin Mints frozen. My daughters are definitely Tag-A-Alongs. And my husband likes the Lemon Cremes, so we have to buy every box."

The cookies have come a long way since an Oklahoma troop debuted the treat in 1917. Nearly twenty years later, a commercial baker was kneading the dough. And today, Little Brownie Bakers in Louisville, Kentucky prepares the treats that make it to the Connecticut warehouse. And once the boxes are sorted and loaded into trucks, they make it to the girls.

This year was the first time Connecticut delivered all the snacks to the troops in one day. Jacque Simpson-Gilson of the Girl Scouts of Connecticut describes the streamlined process.

"The troops come in. We know the count of cookies that they have. It's unloaded off the semi-trucks. They come in in their mini-van. We give them their cookies, and they roll off. So it's one mini-van after the next mini-van."

The adults in Horan's troop picked up the cookies that day. The next week, they set up a table at the grocery store. When East Hartford's Lisa Amaro walked in, she went straight for the cookies.

"I was like Girl Scout cookies. I love Girl Scout cookies. See I was a Girl Scout when I was nine years old, and I'm 35 years old. And they're the best."

Amaro remembers selling a box for nearly a dollar. And now the price has quadrupled. She's not fretting over the price, though. For her, a Girl Scout cookie is priceless.