KENTWOOD, Mich – It was a huge jackpot that caused a buying frenzy for lottery tickets across the US. Winners in both Arizona and Missouri will be splitting that record Powerball prize of nearly 580 million dollars. In all, lottery officials say about nine million people won some sort of prize in last night’s drawing.
Of those winners, a big prize came to someone right here in West Michigan. Someone purchased a million dollar winning ticket from the East Paris Discount Liquor Store in Kentwood. Owner Tania Azer says Wednesday the lottery print-out machines were burning through paper like never before. “Our lottery sales quadrupled,” says Azer.
At times during the day, the line started back at the ATM in the far back corner of the store. Then, clerks say it wound through a couple of aisles. However,it didn’t take long to purchase a ticket. At least three employees were on staff getting customer’s tickets printed and back through the door in about 10 minutes.
Azer says the folks that came through the door Wednesday contributed to more than $7,000 in Lotto sales in the East Paris Discount Liquor store alone.
“I bought approx 10 to 12 tickets, says Bruce Smith, a regular lottery customer at the store.
Smith and other who had purchased tickets during the frenzy were checking them feverishly Thursday when they found out the store was a winner.
“My daughter actually called me this morning because she knew there was a winning ticket here and she knows i play here all the time,” says Smith. “I checked my tickets about 6:30 this morning, there was no winners but it was a good experience.”
The store is known for luck, selling a Fantasy Five winner about a month ago and a 17 million dollar winner in 2002. Owner Tania Azer says they get a maximum reward of $2,000 for each winning ticket. That brings the store’s total to about $6,000 for all of their winning tickets sold over the years.
Some states allow their winning stores a bigger take. Azer says if the ticket had been a winner in Illinois, they would get 2% or around $20,000.
The biggest win for the store could be return customers like Smith who is hopeful the million dollar reputation rubs off on him.
Lotto officials in Lansing indicated they’d heard from at least one of the big winners in Michigan. However, it’s not clear whether it was the person who won at the Kentwood store or the other winner from the east side of the state.
The Michigan Lottery office says they can’t release any information until the winners actually claim the prize money.