Spring brings the arrival of many wonderful things. Green grass, birds chirping, blooming flowers, and the sweet, smiling faces of your local Girl Scout troop coaxing you into buying colorful boxes of cookies as you leave the supermarket.
For Atlas Agents, the hubbub of Girl Scout cookies starts long before the snow melts away, around December or January. Ed’s Moving & Storage (0823) in Lakewood, WA, Prairie Van & Storage (1883) in Clive, IA and Reads Moving Systems (1711) in Hatboro, PA all work on cookie delivery and distribution with local Girl Scout troops and describe the project as a great job to have in the off-season.
“Ed’s got involved when my sister was a Girl Scout, about 15 years ago,” said Matt Kupka, President, Ed’s Moving & Storage. “It was a great fit to have a major project in the winter. This year we will handle in the neighborhood of 72,000 cases or 900,000 boxes of cookies.”
Reads Moving Systems has been distributing cookies since 1990, the longest of the three. They’re set to handle an impressive 137,000 cases this year.
“Prairie Van & Storage has handled the job for two years. My daughter is in her third year with the Girl Scouts, so I get to participate in selling cookies, as well. Plus, the Girl Scout council is a few blocks from our office. I got the bid because I hated seeing another moving company’s truck on my way to work,” said Tim Mooney, Operations Manager. “I bet there are at least 30 Atlas Agents handling Girl Scout cookie delivery. Since we’re not typically real busy in February, I’d recommend this job to all of them.”
The Crews Behind the Cookies
While the greatest mystery may be how an entire sleeve of cookies disappears within minutes of opening the box, the process surrounding delivery and distribution is unfamiliar to most people.
“The cookies are trucked into our facility from the bakery. We offload and store them until the delivery window opens. Then, we work with the Girl Scouts to deliver the cases of cookies to a service unit, where the orders are separated for individual troops,” explains Matt. “The trailers begin arriving in January and we finish the project in March when booth sales are over,” he said.
Tim noted that the logistics of delivering cookies is similar for Prairie Van & Storage. “At first, there will be a week of nonstop work. We will deliver 75,000 cases of cookies in five days to 84 locations throughout Iowa. Then, over the next month, we restock the troops with 25,000 to 40,000 cases, depending on how well the girls are selling cookies,” he said. “I’ll have two trucks running on Thursdays and Fridays to refill the troops outside the Des Moines area. Plus, about 500 cars arrive at our facility to pick up cookies. We actually doubled our warehouse size in preparation for the cookies this year. It made things a lot easier.”
Bob Cox, Owner of Reads Moving Systems, has a convenient way of distributing cookies. “We park in the lots of shopping centers and troops come by to pick up their orders,” he said.
Agents make sure that cookies left behind and donated throughout the distribution process have a very sweet ending.
“The final step in our delivery process is called Operation Cookie Drop. We take all the donated cookies to an Air Force base and pass them out to service men and women,” Matt said. Tim added, “Last year, we donated six skids of cookies to a food drive held by a local church in Des Moines.”
The Great Debate: America’s Favorite Cookie
If you take a poll of America’s favorite Girl Scout cookie, you won’t get a clear answer. Not even Atlas Agents can pick just one.
“We call Thin Mints, Caramel deLites, and Peanut Butter Patties ‘The Big Three,’ because they are the most popular. We receive three skids of those for every one skid of the other varieties,” said Tim.
“At Ed’s, we’re stuck on the traditional Thin Mints vs. Caramel deLites debate. The fight isn’t as spirited as it used to be though. Everyone picked a side after the third or fourth year of deliveries,” Matt explained.
Tim disagreed; he remarked “At Prairie Van & Storage, the consensus is probably Peanut Butter Patties. I think they’re the winner.”