Store owner hits jackpot
Published 8:06 pm Monday, January 4, 2016
Ricky Conner was playing slot machines in Las Vegas when he hit it big.
But his jackpot — a whopping $1 million — was back home in Suffolk.
Conner and his wife, Brenda, were celebrating New Year’s in Sin City when his phone starting buzzing with news that his business, Oliver’s Grocery, had sold one of three million-dollar winners in the Virginia Lottery’s New Year’s Millionaire Raffle.
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Turns out, Conner had bought the winning ticket from himself.
Virginia lottery officials were at Oliver’s Grocery — also known as Ricky and Roy’s Catering — on Monday to present checks to Conner.
Yes, that’s right: checks. Conner received a check for $1 million in lottery winnings, plus a check to the store for a $10,000 bonus for selling the winning ticket.
“This is a dream come true,” said Conner, who said he bought 109 tickets of the 174 Millionaire’s Raffle tickets sold in his store. “I’m still in a daze. But I’m excited — I’ve worked hard all of my life.”
“I want to spend more quality time with the family,” he said of his plans for the windfall. “I will invest the rest.”
Conner, whose family has owned the small grocery store and catering business on Holland Road for 69 years, said he plans to slow down his pace a little.
Conner had planned to finish his vacation before checking his tickets. But after getting so many calls, he had his daughter and brother go to the store and check his tickets.
“When I called to tell him he had the winning ticket, he hung up on me,” Conner’s daughter, Kenzie Conner, said. “I think he was shocked.”
Conner said he decided not to push his luck. The couple cut their Las Vegas trip short.
“Life’s good,” he recalled saying. “Let’s go home.”
John Hagerty, spokesman for the Virginia Lottery, said it is unusual, but not unprecedented, for a store to sell the winning ticket to an owner or employee.
Conner’s winning ticket was No. 220212. The other two top-prize winners in the game were bought in Hayes and South Boston, lottery officials said. Six tickets won $25,000 each. Those tickets were bought in Hampton, Norfolk, Chesapeake, Yorktown and two in Arlington. An additional 300 tickets each won $500.
Officials said in a press release Monday that there’s yet another chance for folks to win in the New Year’s Millionaire Raffle promotion. Players who submit an entry form, received when they bought their raffle tickets, will be entered for a chance to win one of 20 separate $1,000 cash prizes. The entry deadline is Jan. 8, with the cash prize drawing on Jan. 13.