Sarah Ellie Penny

Sarah Ellie Penny

Girl Scouts - North Carolina Coastal Pines recently announced its top sellers for 2020, and the top seller in Orange County is no stranger to being among the best in the area. Sarah Ellie Penny, a rising eight grader in Efland, sold 1,045 boxes of Girl Scout cookies to take the top spot, just outselling Giada Tiani of Hillsborough, who sold 1,028; and Lucy Zarzar, who sold 780 boxes.

For Penny, it marked the seventh year she’s been among the top movers of Girl Scout cookies. “She takes it like she’s running her own little business,” said Elaine Penny, Sarah Ellie’s mother. “She likes to set her goals for how many boxes she wants to sell. She likes the prizes and incentives, like t-shirts, coolers and they also get destination trips. She’s won trips to Great Wolf Lodge, Carowinds, Busch Gardens.”

What’s Sarah Ellie’s secret for getting so many people to drop $5 and sometimes $6 on these baked delicacies?

“I work hard the entire sale,” Sarah Ellie said. “I have repeat customers.”

The 12-year-old said she joined the Girl Scouts when she was 5, and plans to stay with the organization until the 12th grade, or until she earns her gold award.

Even though she’s gifted with selling the cookies, Sarah Ellie admits she’s not big on eating the merchandise, although she said her favorite Girl Scout cookie is the S’mores. She also likes the Thin Mints, which is her top seller.

Sarah Ellie’s cookie sales were unaffected by the coronavirus or the shelter-in-place as the campaign ended March 1. Of the shelter-in-place, Sarah Ellie said she prefers the distance learning as it allows her to set her own place for doing assignments and she enjoys the quieter surroundings.   

Girl Scouts – North Carolina Coastal Pines sold more than 3 million boxes of cookies with 11,000 Girl Scouts participating in the 2020 Girl Scout Cookie Program. More than 2,300 girls sold more than 400 boxes of cookies each. Additionally, 350 girls sold more than 1,000 boxes each. Council-wide the average number of boxes sold per girl was 282. Nationally the average number of boxes sold by Girl Scouts is approximately 165. This year, the council exceeded their Operation Cookie Drop goal by collecting donations to send more than 104,000 boxes of cookies to the military men and women proudly serving our country, and culminating in over a million boxes delivered through this council-wide service project since its inception in 2005. 

The Girl Scout Cookie Program helps support girls in achieving the goals they set for program activities, community service projects and philanthropy, and ensures all girls are afforded access to the Girl Scout Leadership Experience. For more than 100 years, the Girl Scout Cookie Program has also provided life-changing leadership opportunities for every G.I.R.L (Go-getter, Innovator, Risk-taker, and Leader). 

Joining the Orange Girl Scouts, the overall council top sellers are Chloe Huggler, Allison Bundle, and Taryn Brooks. Huggler of Wake County placed first by selling 5,005 boxes, Bundle of Onslow County placed second with 4,826 boxes, and Brooks of Harnett County placed third with 4,600 boxes.