Cookie revenue spread thin

It’s a happy day in Cubicleville when the parent of a Girl Scout comes to work toting cases of Thin Mints.

Ever wondered, as you shell out $3.50 for each of those precious boxes, how much cash goes directly to the troop? According to Girl Scouts of Central Indiana, it’s 55 cents, or 15.7 percent.

Where does the rest go?

The cost of the cookies themselves is 86 cents. That leaves $2.09 for Girl Scouts of Central Indiana, which serves 35 counties and operates 10 camps.

The Indianapolis-based council says it spends $1.305, or 37.2 percent of the cookie price, on services to troops; 76 cents, or 21.7 percent, goes toward maintaining camps; and 2-1/2 cents, or less than 1 percent, goes to financial aid for low-income girls.

Girl Scouts of Central Indiana is a $9 million organization, and CEO Deborah Hearn Smith said cookie sales support about 60 percent of that budget. The girls sell 2.2 million boxes of cookies a year.

"Initial orders are down, but not significantly," Smith said. "With the economy and other issues surrounding food safety, I anticipated a greater decrease."

Now that the cookies are available, Smith said, she expects sales to recover to previous levels over the next three weeks. She added that the peanut butter in Girl Scout cookies, which comes from Little Brownie Baker in Louisville, is safe. 

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