SALEM, Ore. -- A 7-year-old Girl Scout was the top cookie seller last year after selling more than 100 boxes of cookies to the coffee shop around the corner from her house. She hoped to sell even more to Bentley’s Coffee Shop this year, but her mom soon learned Maddie wouldn’t be allowed.
The Girl Scouts of Oregon and Southwest Washington took issue with Bentley’s Coffee creating a Girl Scout Thin Mint Mocha last year without the proper licensing permission to use that name. An email from the organization also explained to Maddie’s mom that it’s against policy for the business to use the cookies as an ingredient, even if it didn’t use the brand name.
"It's not cheating," Maddie said. "But he's going to make some drinks out of his own thing."
"We’re just the little guy. We’re trying to have fun and make some good drinks and help Maddie out in the process, and it just didn’t quite work out that way,” said Brandon Eastman, owner of Bentley’s Coffee. “So we just decided to buy a different brand of mint cookies.”
Instead of buying Girl Scout cookies from Maddie, Eastman plans to donate $1.50 for every box of other mint cookies he uses to make “Mint Cookie Mochas” this year.
“For a young girl, it’s really important she sees there is not just one way to do things,” Eastman said.
Maddie’s mom, Jamie Hamilton, was thrilled. Eastman planned to donate money and allow Maddie to set up a stand nearby and encourage customers to buy Girl Scout cookies, too.
“The biggest message I would love for her to get (from) all of this is to think outside the box,” Hamilton said. “Move forward and be creative just like staff at Bentley's has been.”
Then, another unexpected development happened as KATU worked on this story Monday. The Girl Scouts of Oregon and Southwest Washington contacted Maddie’s mom to explain this was all a misunderstanding. A spokesperson said a volunteer had wrong information.
“Any business that wants to partner with a Girl Scout and sell retail products, we would love to help them through that process,” said Sarah Miller, Director of Communications for Girl Scouts of Oregon and Southwest Washington.
She explained businesses can buy boxes and use them as ingredients in other products, although they cannot use the Girl Scout brand name.
“In this situation, it was just a miscommunication. It’s unfortunate, but we would love to help Bentley’s and help Maddie make it right,” Miller said.
Maddie’s mom still thinks the organization only changed its mind when the story started getting publicity.
“Unfortunately, we were trying to go about the correct channels, and we were railroaded with no, no, no, no,” she said. “Staff should be checking. They have paid staff. If that volunteer is misinformed, maybe somebody else should be taking over that position.”
Even though Maddie is now allowed to sell cookies to Bentley’s Coffee, she doesn’t plan on doing that. She and her mom want to stick with the new plan.
“I am astounded how much community support we’ve already seen,” Maddie’s mom said. “It’s truly touching.”
Bentley's Coffee will be selling the Mint Cookie Mochas starting this Friday at its Salem and Keizer locations.