Just a few weeks after selling a winning Lotto jackpot ticket worth $12.2 million, Brier Grocery has struck gold again with the sale of a Hit 5 jackpot ticket worth $120,000.
“We’re pretty overwhelmed,” said Charles Andrade, spokesperson for the store, which is owned by his mother. “[It’s] very surreal that it would happen like that. I think we kind of just got over the awe of the first one, and then all of a sudden to hit the second one is pretty amazing.”
Brier Grocery sold the first jackpot ticket on July 18 and the second one on Aug. 8, said Kristi Weeks, Director of Legal Services for Washington’s Lottery. The Hit 5 jackpot winner has opted “not to participate in any media event or talk to anyone about it,” she said.
As far as Andrade knows, Brier Grocery hadn’t sold any jackpots before these two wins. That said, Brier does seem somehow “luckier” than other places: the 98036 ZIP code in which Brier Grocery resides has a slightly better-than-average track record with jackpot games like Lotto and Hit 5, according to data from the state lottery agency. Ten percent of tickets sold there win something, compared to a statewide average of 9 percent.
But “it’s just pure chance,” Weeks said. “Whether the player picks their own numbers or allows the game to pick numbers for them … it really is just luck of the draw.”
State lotteries have been criticized as preying on people who are poor or poorly educated (who might view a ticket as an investment, even if a bad one) or people with gambling addictions, and as an inefficient mechanism for raising public dollars.
Weeks denied that the lottery targets lower-income consumers.
“Even though we’re a state agency, we are also a business,” she said. “We try and generate a profit for our beneficiaries … and it would just be bad business to try and market your product to people who can’t afford it.”
The majority of Washington’s Lottery players have a household income of more than $75,000 a year, Weeks said. After paying winners and giving a commission to retailers, lottery proceeds fund things like state education and economic development funds or building CenturyLink Field, she added.
Lottery tickets account for 8%-15% of Brier Grocery’s sales, Andrade said. The store gets a 1% commission for each jackpot ticket sold, with the commission for these two totaling $123,200. Andrade said some of that money will go to employee bonuses and the rest has been put into a savings account.
“Maybe [my mom will] finally take a vacation,” he added.
Andrade’s mother bought the grocery in 1981 after having worked for the previous owners for about a year, Andrade said. He estimated that the store has been operating in Brier for about 90 years.
Now, Brier Grocery has its eyes set on yet another big win.
“We’re hoping to keep the streak alive, and hopefully hit the trifecta,” Andrade said. “That’d be pretty cool.”