Eric Gohdes devotes countless hours and boundless energies to his two little girls, eight-year old Katherine and six-year old Elizabeth, both students at Hoover Elementary School, Coon Rapids.
Gohdes has been a stay-at-home dad since the birth of his firstborn and now that Katherine and Elizabeth have become Daisy Scout and Brownie respectively, Girl Scout cookie sales tops the list of extra-curricular activities to which the Coon Rapids dad devotes his attention.
The girls call him the Girl Scout Cookie King and he’s earned a reputation as something of a Girl Scout Cookie CEO, too.
“He counts the inventory, reconciles the books and cashes the checks like any good, committed CEO,” said Molly Crawford, Girl Scout cookie fan and the Gohdes girls’ aunt.
The Gohdes girls give their dad due credit, too.
“We’re going to beat our goal,” said Katherine, a Daisy Scout with River Valley Council Troop 13538.
“I know we will, because my dad is so organized. He finds places for us to set up our table, he takes us door-to-door – he even painted on the van so everyone knows we have Girl Scout cookies.”
Since Katherine’s kid sister, Elizabeth, is only in Girl Scouting’s first year, she is in a different troop, but sells cookies with the best of them.
“I think this is really fun. I love selling cookies,” Elizabeth said.
Gohdes and the girls – with valuable input from the girls’ mom Amy Gohdes – set a goal of selling 200 boxes of cookies per girl. Since there are 12 girls in the troops, that means selling 2,400 boxes of cookies.
That’s a lot of Thin Mints.
There are actually eight different flavors of Girl Scout cookies and the sale of all the cookies goes to a good cause.
Cookie sale money is used to support chosen activities for the year, to fund Girl Scouts community service and leadership projects, to attend summer camp, to travel to destinations near and far and to provide events for girls in their community.
Even while Girl Scout cookies benefit Girl Scout troops, Gohdes said that cookie buyers are invited to send Girl Scout cookies to U.S. military troops, too.
“If they want to send cookies to our military, they can just give us the money, $3.50 per box. And then the Girl Scouts organization takes care of shipping cookies to the troops,” he said.
Also, if a Girl Scout cookie fan is so inclined, 12 boxes of cookies can be purchased and then 12 more will be sent to the military or to a food shelf, whichever the customer prefers.
“People love these cookies and the Girl Scouts do so much good with the money made by selling them,” Gohdes said.
Girl Scout Cookies can only be purchased from girls during cookie season, Feb. 11 through March 25.
The first week of Girl Scout Cookie sales is devoted to individual sales, going door-to-door.
“The girls have to pound the pavement, but I never send them out alone. I’m always with them,” Gohdes said.
After that initial pavement-pounding Girl Scout cookie salesmanship, troops can set up shop at grocery stores or other sites, by checking in with management and then reserving space.
Gohdes and his Girl Scouts have sold cookies at Andover’s County Market, Rainbow grocery store in Coon Rapids, Mister Car Wash in Anoka and at Unique Thrift Shop in Columbia Heights.
Today (Friday, March 23) they’re scheduled to sell cookies at the Walmart store in Riverdale (4 to 8 p.m.) and tomorrow (Saturday, March 24) they’ll set up shop again at the Coon Rapids Rainbow store (4 to 7 p.m.).
“They’re working hard and they’re learning so much,” Gohdes said, listing marketing, communication and customer service among the lessons learned.
“And it helps them brush up on their math skills, too. They’ve got to tally up the total, make change… math is a big thing.”
Sue Austreng is at [email protected]