WHEELING — Lance Miller, head manager of Neely’s Grocery in Wheeling, was busy printing out Powerball tickets Monday for customers hoping to win the $1.9 billion jackpot.
It was near-constant traffic at the drive-through and in the store related to the record-breaking pot’s drawing that was held Monday night.
Now that those numbers are drawn, either someone has won that unbelievable sum or players across the country will try for what should climb above $2 billion on Wednesday.
Some of Neely’s customers talked about what they hoped to do with their potential winnings.
“I’d probably just help out friends and family and have a good time,” said Jeff Craig of Wheeling after buying his ticket.
Craig, who owns a small hobby farm, said if he wins he would like to purchase more land and more animals to keep on it.
“It’s just for fun. We have nine chickens, two goats, a mule and a mini-donkey,” Craig said of his farm.
Craig said he occasionally buys lottery tickets, but he hasn’t won any money to date.
“When it’s up this high, you have to get a ticket,” he said.
Wheeling resident John Simmons said if he wins he would retire and go to a tropical island.
“I would take all my friends and family somewhere — some deserted island,” he said. “I’ve been on Wheeling Island since 1974. I definitely need to be surrounded by water — blue water.”
Simmons said he does not play the lottery often and he has never won any lottery money in the past.
“I wish everybody good luck,” Simmons said.
Wheeling resident Derek Dulaney, who was stopping at Neely’s to get some lunch, had already purchased his ticket earlier in the day. Dulaney said he has not thought much about what all he would do with his winnings, but noted he has some bills to pay off. He plays the lottery weekly.
“I just hope I win and I can decide later,” Dulaney said.
Kiana Mitchell of Wheeling stopped in with new puppy, Milo, to purchase a Powerball ticket.
“If I win the Powerball I plan on taking care of my mother and making sure she is set for the rest of her life, and I also absolutely plan on giving back to my community. That’s a main goal of mine,” Mitchell said.
For herself, Mitchell said she would like to expand her business and open a storefront someday.
Miller said sales at Neely’s had been brisk all day.
“It’s unbelievable. I’ve never seen anything like it,” he said. “It’s been one right after the other — $10, $20, $50.
“One guy got $300 worth. It’s been phenomenal.”
Miller noted if his store sells the winning ticket it would receive the maximum award allowed — $100,000.
“I’d rather they have about 100 winners,” he added.
Caitie Smith, lottery marketing specialist and public relations and drawing manager for the West Virginia Lottery, said the current jackpot run began Aug. 3.
Since that time gross Powerball sales have reached $14,292,889, and net sales from these draws were $4,123,498.98, she said.
Smith said the sales benefit education and other state funds.
“That amount was deposited into the Lottery Fund, along with other revenues, and transferred monthly into support of seniors, education and tourism,” she said.