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Business Observer Friday, Feb. 14, 2020 6 days ago

Top cookie entrepreneur combines hard work, friendliness to become sales success story

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The area’s top Girl Scout Cookie seller in 2019 was Catelyn Holcomb.

Everyone has a favorite. Whether it’s Tagalongs, Samoas or the correct choice — Thin Mints — when Girl Scout Cookie sales come around each year, they elicit a wave of excitement from cookie monsters nationwide. 

And one area Girl Scout has proven her success at cookie sale season in a big way, finding those hungry customers. In 2019, Catelyn Holcomb, now 12, of Girl Scouts of Gulfcoast Florida sold 7,500 packages of cookies. With prices of at least $5 a box, that's some $30,000 in cookies. Plus, 2,487 packages of those cookies were donated to active military personnel through the Mints for the Military program.

Holcomb, of Lee County, was Girl Scouts of Gulfcoast Florida’s top cookie entrepreneur — a major accomplishment in a council that includes about 6,000 girls in 10 counties, including Charlotte, Collier, Lee, Manatee and Sarasota. (The council also experienced cookie success of another sort, when member Olivia Trader of Cape Coral was featured on the 2020 Tagalongs packaging.)

Courtesy. Catelyn Holcomb of Lee County had the most success, she says, at Publix, where she set up a stand and worked 40 hours a week for five weeks, usually five hours on weekdays and about 12 hours over weekends.

Holcomb tells Coffee Talk she was excited to learn she was the top seller. “It was pretty cool because I’d really worked hard to sell all of those cookies,” she says.

She sold cookies outside a Publix and online so people she knew out of the area could order their favorites. Holcomb had the most success, she says, at Publix, where she set up a stand and worked 40 hours a week for five weeks, usually five hours on weekdays and about 12 hours over weekends. “I would go after school except Tuesdays because that’s when we have [Girl Scout] meetings,” she says.

Before each sale, Holcomb’s first step was to approach a potential customer. And like any good saleswoman, she had a good opener. “I ask them how their day is and ask if they want to buy Girl Scout Cookies or donate to the military,” she says.

Knowing the sales went to a good cause helped motivate Holcomb. Plus, she tapped into one of her key attributes. “I enjoy talking to people,” she says. “You’ve just got to work hard and be who you are while you’re out there.”

She’s also learned not to get discouraged when someone doesn’t want to buy a package of cookies. Holcomb says, “Even if they say ‘no,’ there’s a lot of other people you can ask and get a ‘yes.’”

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