ALEXANDRIA, Va.—The record-breaking Powerball ticket, worth $2.04 billion, was sold at Joe’s Service Center in Altadena, California, reports the Daily Bulletin.
Joe Chahayed has owned the convenience store for 20 years. Because his store sold the winning ticket, he was awarded $1 million dollars by the California State Lottery.
“No one else deserves this more than this man who’s worked hard all his life,” one of Chahayed’s sons said about his father during a check presentation by the California State Lottery.
Chahayed came to the U.S. from Syria in the 1980s looking for a better life, and he and his family worked hard to open and manage the convenience store.
Chahayed, 75, said he won’t retire. “I love my work,” he said.
He plans to share his winnings with his children and 11 grandchildren.
“We are excited. We are happy for California, happy for Los Angeles County and happy for the city of Altadena. We are happy for the schools, they’re going to get more money,” Chahayed told KTLA.
According to the Daily Bulletin, $156 million is going to California public schools, which is a record amount.
The winner has not come forward yet to claim the money, but Chahayed believes it was a regular and someone from the neighborhood. In an interview with the Southern California News Group, he said he hoped the winner was indeed a local.
“This is a very poor neighborhood,” said Chahayed. “The poor people deserve it.”
Facts About Lottery Sales and C-Stores
Lottery tickets are sold at about 216,000 retail locations. Of the country’s 148,026 convenience stores, an estimated 80%—about 120,000 c-stores—sell lottery tickets, meaning that convenience stores are the top retail channel for lottery sales, according to NACS data.
Overall, convenience stores had sales of $705.6 billion in 2021, of which $277.9 billion was for in-store items.
On any given day, a convenience store serves around 1,100 customers a day: 300 a day at the gas pump and around 800 a day inside the store to buy drinks, snacks and other convenience items, including lottery tickets. Sales of lottery tickets increase throughout the day, peaking at the beginning of the evening rush hour.
How C-Stores Benefit From Lottery
Lottery customers buy more items than non-lottery customers. The average “basket” of goods purchased by a lottery customer is traditionally 50% more than the non-lottery customer, but that is less likely to hold true when jackpots are extremely high.
Convenience stores sell 80% of the fuel purchased in the country, and they compete on the gas price to get customers to their fuel pump—and then inside their stores. A September 2022 NACS consumer survey found that 54% of gas customers also go inside the store to make a purchase; 22% of these shoppers inside the store say they bought a lottery ticket.
Commissions on lottery tickets vary by state but are typically 5% to 6%. That means on a $2 ticket, retailers make about a dime, which is about the profit margin for a gallon of gasoline.
Stores that sell winning tickets also receive bonus commissions, and the size of these large jackpot bonuses vary by state. In some states, these bonuses are capped at a certain level (as low as $10,000), while in other states they are a percentage of the total payout, as much as 1%.
In 2021, the average convenience store earned $2,563 per month in operating income from lottery, which includes commissions and bonuses.
There is one more benefit to a store selling a winning ticket: Customer traffic increases at the store for weeks or months afterwards as customers seek out lottery tickets at the “lucky store.”