Door-to-door With Do-si-dos

Last weekend Nia Dotson hit the streets for about three hours. “I stopped,” she says softly, “when my feet started to hurt.” She’s a small girl with small feet. But she has a big goal and an impressive track record.

Nia, a 9-year-old fourth-grader at Forrest Elementary School, sold more than 1,100 boxes of cookies last year – the highest total in Hampton. On the first weekend, strolling the streets of her neighborhood, she sold about 170 boxes. She will continue selling at a steady pace until late February, when she and her troop will begin booth sales.

In most ways, Nia is very typical of that iconic image of American girlhood. Yes, her sales totals stand out. But her sales style is pretty standard.

She says that she sold 1,100 boxes last year by doing what every other girl in the area did. Going door-to-door (with her mother, Shaunda Dotson, in tow) and reciting her simple sales pitch.

“Hi, my name is Nia and I’m selling Girl Scout Cookies. Would you like to buy some?”

This year, she’s expanded that basic sales pitch to tell potential customers her goal – moving enough product to earn a trip to Savannah, Ga., home of the Juliette Low House, which honors the founder of the Girl Scouts.

“The motivation was never to outsell anyone else,” says her father, Demetrius Dotson. “But the more order forms she filled out, the more she got into it.”

She is goal-oriented, but not overly competitive. Nia is not consumed with the idea of selling more than she did last year, or finishing first in the area again. She just wants to meet her goal so she can visit the childhood home of Juliette Low.

Marcy Germanotta, communications director for the Girl Scout Council of the Colonial Coast, notes that “many of today’s successful businesswomen say they got their start selling Girl Scout Cookies,” which she says teaches money management and financial responsibility.

When asked what she would like to be when she grows up, Nia considers the question for a moment.

“I might be a lawyer,” she says, “or maybe an entrepreneur.”

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