CORPUS CHRISTI, Texas — There are 3,580 Girl Scouts in the Girl Scouts of Greater South Texas. For the last six years, Emalee Salinas has been the 'top seller' of Girl Scout Cookies in the Corpus Christi Service Area; and for the last five, she's been the 'top seller' in the Girl Scouts of Greater South Texas.
“It takes a lot of work, it takes dedication,” said the 13-year-old Salinas.
She is the top seller for a reason; she works hard. Salinas has the phone numbers of more than 900 customers in her mom’s phone, and that list grows every year.
“Over the years, the list started growing and growing from people buying a lot,” she said.
Salinas exemplifies customer service, reaching out to her customers even when it’s not Girl Scout Cookie season.
“Every single year we text them ‘Merry Christmas, have a happy New Year. Thank you for supporting,’” she said.
Right before cookies go on sale, Salinas reaches out to customers asking if they would like to buy from her again.
“It’s basically just a whole day dedicated to texting our customers,” she said.
But her hard work goes beyond that. Salinas sets up a booth outside the CVS Pharmacy on the corner of Staples St. and Everhart Rd., and sells cookies seven days a week.
“I want to sell, so I come out here and sell,” she said. “If you take a day off or something, you might lose a customers that you could’ve had.”
After school, her parents or a troop leader bring her to set up. On weekends, she gets up at around 9 a.m. to head to her booth.
She also markets her cookie selling business. She has hand-made signs she places near the road and on her booth to entice customers to stop.
“You want to see something that will catch your attention, and make you want to come,” she said.
On days she doesn’t sell at her booth, she visits businesses, or goes door-to-door, leaving a business card with her information.
“That way, if they want to order, they can, order online or text us,” she said.
“We were like, ‘wow, a business card. This little girl is an entrepreneur,’” said MaryAnn Frandsen, who has been a customer of Salinas’ for four years.
Frandsen came across Salinas at her booth at CVS one year.
“We’ve lived in six states, we’ve never had anyone who had a business card, delivered, online ordering, contactless. We were just blown away by her work ethic,” she said. “This little girl has probably more work ethic than most adults do.”
Pat Wallace is another loyal customer. She said Salinas’ customer service makes her return every year to buy cookies.
“She offers a personal service, she’ll do anything, within reason, to help you,” she said.
Those who know Salinas well are not surprised that she continues to be the top seller in the area.
“It’s not surprising to me at all,” said Mercedes Garza, a fellow member of Troop 96026. She said she started expecting it quickly. “I guess the second year, because I knew she was that good at selling cookies.”
Garza said she tries to learn from Salinas to sell more cookies.
“She’s really sociable with other people, and it makes them more comfortable,” she said.
Salinas doesn’t help only her fellow troop members, she also has a YouTube video that she uses to share her expertise to other Girl Scouts.
Salinas said she couldn’t be as successful as she is without the help of her parents, troop, and of course, her customers.
Whenever Salinas receives a donation, she uses that money to buy boxes to give to first responders and military members.
Salinas said being the top seller year after year is very rewarding.
“It feels really good, knowing [the work] just didn’t go to waste,” she said.
Despite all her business savvy, Salinas said she does not want to study business when she gets older. She wants to become a planetary scientist, and study other planets in the solar system.