We Sold A Winner

If you pay a visit to your local family-run convenience store or cafe you will see owners, clerks and customers engaged in an affectionate everyday banter, like a big extended family. Owners and their clerks greet every customer by name and even anticipate their purchases. Counters are decorated with family photographs and other personal touches. Encroaching big box stores might offer better prices but they don’t come close to the warmth or genuine hospitality of a mom and pop shop.

After the 2008 economic crisis, I began following the trail of winning jackpot lottery tickets ranging from $1million to as much as $415 million, back to the neighborhood family stores where the ticket was sold. Beyond the media hype that focuses on the winners, I was curious about the people inside the store whose lives did not change. Everyone has a different take on what they might do if it had been them. The bigger the jackpot, the more convinced people are that it would “solve all their problems”. Looking at state lotteries through the lens of hard working, resilient small business owners along main street America, I seek to honor the families who are working harder and longer, sometimes at multiple jobs, to sustain their way of life.