Former Girl Scout Kristi Quarles remembers the first time her entrepreneurial spirit was summoned.
Inspired to break the record for most cookies sold by her troop, a 9-year-old Quarles made a promise to sell more cookies than anyone could imagine, and if she won, she'd use her reward to help pay for a week at summer camp.
"No one in our troop had ever sold any more than 100 boxes," she recalls. "I declared I was going to sell 200, which was a lot for any troop at that time. And I did. It was my personal goal, and everyone was so supportive in helping me achieve it. It was a very motivating moment for me."
Today, as director of marketing for LTP Management, the parent company of Hooters South Florida restaurants, Quarles is sharing that same motivational spirit to help Girl Scouts of Southeast Florida with their annual fundraising efforts.
Each January, the Girl Scouts kick off cookie season with local troops heading out to sell cookies. The money is used to fund scouting activities and extracurricular programs.
For decades, Floridians looked for Girl Scout cookies sold at booths outside grocery stores in their neighborhood. That changed in March 2020, when the national organization suspended door-to-door sales and in-person cookie booths owing to COVID-19 and moved cookie-season sales online. The 2021 cookie season also saw online sales and "virtual cookie booths" on social media.
In an effort to bring back the entrepreneurial spirit of in-person sales, Quarles spearheaded an initiative that would pair Girl Scout troops with Hooters, offering a safe space for them to resume pre-COVID operations.
In addition to cookies, the sales also allow customers the option of purchasing a cookie share — donations that are tallied at the end of the fundraiser and used to distribute boxes of Girl Scout cookies to local food pantries and military organizations.
Funds raised during this year's Girls Scouts of Southeast Florida cookie sales at participating Hooters locations will be matched by the restaurant (up to $15,000).
Photo courtesy of LTP Management
For the second straight year, nine Hooters locations will partner with the Girl Scouts of Southeast Florida to offer in-person cookie sales and collect donations to meet their goal of providing 75,000 boxes of cookies to the Girl Scouts of Southeast Florida’s Cookies for the Military program. (Since 2009, Girl Scout of Southeast Florida has donated more than 639,000 boxes of Girl Scout Cookies to U.S. troops.)
The cookies will be sold at participating Hooters from February 1 through February 27. In addition, for every box sold at each location from Thursday, February 3, through Sunday, February 6, Hooters has pledged to match up to $15,000 per location.
"As a company, we recognize the importance of inspiring these young women entrepreneurs. That's how we view each and every one of our Hooters girls, who proudly represent their own four-table section in their home restaurant as their own little slice of business real estate," Quarles tells New Times
Meet the Adventurefuls, the newest Girl Scout cookie flavor.
Photo courtesy of Girl Scouts/Little Brownie Bakers
The 2022 Girl Scout cookie lineup includes new flavors, including the return of the 2021 French toast-inspired cookie "Toast-Yay!" and this year's addition, "Adventurefuls," a brownie-inspired cookie with caramel-flavored crème and a hint of sea salt.
Thin Mints and Samoas continue to be the most popular cookie flavors in Florida, says Melinda Glasco, director of external marketing and public relations for Girl Scouts of Southeast Florida.
"Last year, sales were very strong at all of our Hooters cookie sale locations, and we're thrilled to be able to create this partnership once again," Glasco tells New Times
. "This is more than an entrepreneurship program. Many times, the girls use these funds to support community service projects that have a direct impact on their local neighborhoods and nonprofits. It's a win-win for everyone."
Participating Hooters locations for Girl Scout cookies sales include the Boca Raton, Beach Place, Coral Way, Doral, Hialeah, Fort Lauderdale, Pembroke Pines, Sunrise, and Weston restaurants. For more information, visit HootersFlorida.com