Howell Girl Scout named top cookie seller in 2018

HOWELL – If you purchased Girl Scout cookies this year, there is a good chance you got them from Marisa Brandon of Howell. She was recently recognized by the Girl Scouts of the Jersey Shore as its top cookie seller in 2018, with sales of 5,021 boxes.

Marisa has been one of the top 10 sellers for the past five years, selling an average of 1,250 to 2,300 boxes of cookies each year. This year, she exceeded her previous sales through additional hard work, effort and commitment under a tight schedule.

Marisa, who recently completed her sophomore year in high school, sold the cookies at various locations in Howell, as well as in Asbury Park and Belmar from January through May. Her customers bought an average of three or four boxes, and the most popular flavors were Thin Mints and Samoas.

So, what is the secret to selling so many cookies?

“By doing a lot of door-to-door sales and booth sales and building up a reputation, causing loyal customers to come back year after year,” said Marisa.

She added that “standing at certain locations for hours at a time [and] keeping a positive attitude” also helped.

On May 20, Girl Scouts of the Jersey Shore’s CEO Eileen Higgins congratulated Marisa and other girls who sold 500 or more boxes of cookies during the organization’s annual celebration honoring top cookie sellers in Monmouth and Ocean counties. The event was held at iPlay America in Freehold Township.

Girl Scouts gave customers the option to purchase cookies for themselves or to donate to local food banks and the military. According to its website, the Girl Scouts of the Jersey Shore donated 11,543 pounds of cookies to Fulfill (formerly the FoodBank of Monmouth and Ocean Counties) on May 21.

The cookie program’s net revenue stays local with the Girl Scouts of the Jersey Shore in Monmouth and Ocean counties and supports activities for the girls, according to its website. The cookie sales help Girl Scouts gain experience with life skills such as setting goals, making decisions, managing money and interacting with customers.

Marisa said being a Girl Scout has been a positive influence in her life.

“It has taught me the basic fundamentals of running a business, and it helped me to work better with other girls. I was able to help the community when I completed my Bronze Award. I have gotten to meet a lot of new people and experience a lot of new things,” she said.

Marisa is also a member of the Howell Police Explorers; Howell PAL; Navy Junior ROTC; ROTC Drill and Athletic (PT) team; high school cross country, basketball and varsity track; and Battle of Monmouth travel soccer and Pinelanders Youth Soccer Club.

She coaches children who have special needs in the Pinelanders’ Challenger soccer program and continues to participate in 100 to 200 hours of community service events for the organizations she is affiliated with throughout the year. Marisa’s future goals include going to college, participating in ROTC and serving the community as a police officer.