From Cafes to Cubicles: A Bittersweet Look Back at the Lion Mint by Kate Meadows People visit Winterset for lots of reasons. The small Iowa town has more than a dash of glamor. Visitors gawk at the boyhood home of John Wayne, marvel at the covered bridges (Winterset is located in the Madison County and Clint Eastwood filmed here) and shop at a quaint quilt store owned by “two of the world’s best-known quilters,” according the town’s website. But when native Sheri Holliday was young she made a beeline to the nondescript Northside Café. She rummaged through her pockets, plucked down a quarter or two and clutched a roll of Lion mints, displayed on the counter by the register. The mints were easy to spot, packaged in shiny paper that bore the Lions Club logo. A colored stripe indicated the flavor–green for wintergreen and blue for peppermint. The dozen nickel-sized candies had a distinctive taste, too: a zesty zing of mint and sugar, flavors easily welcomed on the tongue. Holliday, now 49 and a proud Winterset Lion, was not the only one buying Lion mints back in the day. In the 1990s annual sales topped 10 million rolls. For years the candy was–pun intended–on a roll. The mints probably were the No. 1 candy product used by Lions worldwide to fund projects. Things are different today. The mint is still a bestseller. But it’s sold differently and it’s no longer sold by one of its manufacturers. Times change. The mint remains popular, 30 LION MAY 2014 but Lions have rolled with the punches, part of which in-volves an apparent decline in honorable behavior. Lions have made do, flexibly adapting to a changed membership, market and morality. *** Holliday now is a seller, not a buyer, of mints. She works as a technology systems manager at Principal Fi-nancial Group in downtown Des Moines, a short car ride from Winterset. A counter? She doesn’t need no stinking counter to sell mints. She sells them hand over fist from her cubicle. Within one two-month span, she raked in more than $100 in mint sales, and two of her co-workers now buy mints from her by the box. Other Lions find similar success in peddling the mints. Gary Fry, the state secretary in Iowa, always travels with a roll or two in his pocket. Many of Iowa’s 350 Lions clubs are still involved in the mint program and do quite well, Fry points out. He says he has noticed an increase of mint or-ders at the Iowa state office. The little mint powers important service. From sales of Lions mints alone, the Texas Lions Foundation boosted its bank balance by thousands of dollars in the mid-1980s. In Illinois, proceeds from street sales of the Lions mints dur-ing the annual Candy Days have boosted the funds of local clubs for decades. In Australia, mint sales generate $15,000-$35,000 per year.